JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rather than making summer plans, the father of murdered 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle is now making plans to attend her funeral. Cherish was kidnapped late Friday from a Jacksonville Walmart. She was found dead near Highlands Baptist Church early Saturday. That's the same day her father, Billy Jarreau, says he was expecting to see her getting off a plane to spend the summer with him in California. "He was excited about being able to spend the summer with his little girl," said Jarreau's attorney Gerald Wilkerson. "He had plans."
Wilkerson says Cherish's murder still hasn't hit his client. "He's grieving, angry, hurt and thankful for a quick resolution," says Wilkerson.
Action News did some digging and found Cherish's mother and Jarreau have been involved in a custody battle over the little girl since 2007. The court ruled in the mother's favor. "It was hard for the court to really see it was a good idea to send the child to California with my client," says Wilkerson, "The mother in this case just didn't have any way to pay for transportation, so she'd probably never see her daughter again."
As Cherish's father works to cope with the loss of his daughter, his attorney says he has a massage for the community. "Even though this ended in tragedy, he's hoping it'll shed light on the hazards of allowing pedophiles to roam the street."
Jarreau is also speaking out on Facebook. In a message posted Saturday he wrote, "To everyone I am trying to stay politically correct and not express my true feelings of how our great system caused this. I spent many years in the court presenting issues and being ignored and told I was trying to hurt the mother. Now, the truth of the great mother is out. It was at the cost of my child's life. RIP young lady. my nick name for her."
Jarreau's attorney says he will make the trip to Jacksonville from California for her funeral.