Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

Undeserved Trust…Unbelievable Loss


Charish Perriwinkle

I watched the news yesterday, and once again, was disgusted to find that another small child had been abducted and killed by a registered sexual offender.  I shook my head as the details were reported on how this horrible man was able to get his hands on an innocent child.  Another unbelievable loss that never should have happened.

Charish Perriwinkle and her mother were shopping in a dollar store when a man, Donald James Smith, befriended the mom and offered to help her out by buying clothes at a local Wal-mart.  The three traveled to Wal-mart and had spent a couple of hours shopping when Smith suggested that he go get some burgers from the McDonald’s located in the store.  He offered to take Charish with him and then proceeded to walk with the child out the front door.

Charish’s body was discovered on the grounds of a church, where police had responded to a report of a suspicious van in the area.   A short time later, a policewoman spotted Smith’s van as it passed her and he was stopped and arrested on suspicion of murder.  Bail has been denied and he is awaiting trial.

As a mother, my first question was how could the mother let a complete stranger take her daughter away to be raped and killed?  How could she have trusted a man she knew nothing about whisk her child out of her life?  The Internet is screaming with condemnation of a mother who misplaced her trust and lost her child in such a horrific manner.

Before we judge her, however, we need to consider the man responsible for this crime.  Smith had a long history of sexual offenses and had just been released from prison on May 31.  He has been a registered sex offender since 1993.  He was convicted for attempted kidnapping and selling obscene materials.  Several arrests later, he was convicted on charges of child abuse when he made obscene phone calls to a ten year old girl.  He pled guilty to impersonating a public employee and aggravated child abuse by willful torture.  He served a year in the county jail until he was released in May.

This man was a predator, wise to the ways of appearing to be a stranger willing to perform a random act of kindness to a mother and her kids during hard times.  He wooed her with his offer of help for her kids and spent hours with her to build up an undeserved trust.  Yes, the mother made a fatal mistake when she agreed to have Charish accompany him to McDonald’s.  For all we know, the restaurant might have been in her view and she got distracted for a few minutes while Smith took her daughter out of her life forever.

This mother will have to live with the guilt and the torture of knowing that her one moment of giving a stranger her undeserved trust cost her daughter her life.  She has to live with that and feel the pain of her loss every day from here on end.  We don’t need to add to her grief by judging her for her mistake.

What we do need to do is question how this vile, despicable man with a long list of sexual offenses against children was released to commit such a heinous crime?  How many times does it take for a sexual predator to be arrested before he is incarcerated for life to prevent him from harming one more innocent child?

Evidently, the answer is when he finally rapes and murders an eight year old little girl and gets caught.

It has been proven, over and over, that pedophiles CAN NOT be rehabilitated.  It just isn’t possible, experts have said over and over again.  So, why are these sexual predators released, time and again, to hurt our children?  When are lawmakers going to wake up and start protecting our children and not the criminals who prey on the innocent?

I hope the answer comes before another mother places her undeserved trust in a stranger and winds up experiencing the unbelievable loss of her child.

This post is dedicated to Bloggers For Peace.  Check out a great site “I am for Change” – you won’t be sorry!


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