JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has determined a need to review its processes following the abduction of Cherish Perrywinkle.
Cherish was reported missing by her mother late Friday night from the Walmart on Lem Turner Road. The little girl was found dead 11 hours later.
Although the FDLE notifies multiple agencies in the Amber Alert process -- including the Department of Transportation, Florida Highway Patrol and thousands of email subscribers -- they did not notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That center is in charge of activating the phone alert component of Amber Alerts.
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FDLE spokesperson Gretl Plessinger said the reason why the center was not in the loop Saturday morning is being reviewed.
DEVELOPMENT 6/27/13: Additional
information showed that the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was automatically notified
that an Amber Alert was issued for this case. However, the Florida Department
of Law Enforcement did not ask the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children to send out a phone alert, which is why the Amber Alert was not
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, citing an "active investigation," is not commenting on the events surrounding the Amber Alert and how it was handled in this case.
FDLE is saying the JSO did request an Amber Alert be issued three hours into the local investigation. That request was made, according to FDLE, at 2:36 a.m.
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The state law enforcement agency said it issued its first media alert two hours later. DOT and FHP were notified around 5 a.m.
"There are several steps to putting together an alert, including drafting the language," said Plessinger.
"In this case we received additional information [from JSO] and had to update the alert," said Plessinger, in explaining why it took nearly two-and-a-half hours to process the alert.
Local attorney Jay Howell, who helped found the NCMEC, said when it comes to abductions, minutes count.
"Of the children who are kidnapped and murdered, it usually takes place in the first three hours of the scenario of the incident of abduction. So time is absolutely critical," said Howell, who said the Amber Alert works, but is not perfect.
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JSO has not released any details about the abduction from the time she was reported missing until the time she was found dead.
The alert for Cherish Perrywinkle was canceled at 10:15 a.m. Saturday after her body was found and the suspect Donald Smith, was placed under arrest for kidnapping and murder.
First Coast News