Uncovering the Truth: The Significance of Cherish Perrywinkle’s Autopsy in Her Case

Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction, sexual assault, and murder shocked the nation in June 2013. Cherish’s tragic death put child safety in the spotlight and prompted many conversations about how society can protect children. However, it was Cherish’s autopsy that uncovered crucial evidence that proved pivotal in obtaining justice for her. The significance of Cherish Perrywinkle’s autopsy in her case cannot be overstated, and this article will highlight how critical this report was to the murder investigation and trial.


On June 21, 2013, Cherish Perrywinkle and her family went to a dollar store in North Jacksonville, Florida. Cherish’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, was approached by an elderly man who offered to buy her children some new clothes. The man introduced himself as Donald James Smith, and Rayne, who was facing financial difficulties, accepted his offer.

Donald lured Cherish away from her family, promising to buy her a snack at the McDonald’s across the street. Around 11 pm, a frantic Rayne called the police to report that Cherish and Donald were missing. The police launched an extensive search, and eventually, they found Cherish’s body the next day near a creek. Donald was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, abduction, and sexual battery.

The Autopsy

The autopsy is an examination of the body to determine the cause and manner of death. The medical examiner plays a crucial role in such investigations. In Cherish Perrywinkle’s case, the autopsy was the critical piece of evidence used to determine how Cherish died and the extent of the injuries inflicted on her.

The autopsy revealed that Cherish had multiple bruises, abrasions, and cuts all over her body, indicating that she had been subjected to a prolonged and brutal attack. The medical examiner also reported that Cherish had been strangled to death and that she had suffered sexual trauma.

The autopsy’s significance was not only limited to determining the cause of Cherish’s death. It is worth noting that the injuries sustained by Cherish were essential information in proving that Donald James Smith was guilty of sexual battery, abduction, and first-degree murder. The medical examiner’s testimony during the trial highlighted and supported this crucial evidence.

Importance of Autopsy in Court

The autopsy report is an essential piece of evidence that is often presented in court during criminal trials. It acts as proof of cause of death and is used to identify the person responsible for the victim’s death. In Cherish’s case, the autopsy’s significance became evident in court when the medical examiner testified about the injuries Cherish sustained.

The medical examiner’s testimony was used to paint a vivid picture of the violence Cherish endured. The report showed that Cherish had suffered bruises, cuts, and contusions on her face, scalp, and various parts of her body, including her genitalia. The testimony also showed that Cherish had been strangled, and these injuries showed that the crime was premeditated and that Donald knew what he was doing when he snatched the little girl from her mother.

It is also important to note that the autopsy report is often used as evidence for the prosecution when the accused denies committing the crime. In Cherish’s case, during the trial, Donald James Smith’s defense tried to shift the blame from him to someone else, stating that Cherish’s mother was at fault. However, the autopsy report proved that Donald James Smith was the one responsible for Cherish’s death, putting a halt to any attempts to blame anyone else.


Cherish Perrywinkle’s case was a tragedy that shocked the nation. The autopsy reports, though difficult to examine, shed light on the extent of the abuses Cherish underwent before her death. The medical examiner’s testimony and the autopsy report’s evidence became the critical factors in the trial’s outcome, providing the evidence necessary to convict Donald James Smith of the serious crimes he committed. In conclusion, the significance of Cherish Perrywinkle’s autopsy report in her case cannot be overstated, and it remains a testament to the critical role that medical examiners play in criminal investigations. It proved to be the key evidence authorities needed to get justice for Cherish Perrywinkle. Ultimately, justice was done, and accountability was upheld. Let us strive to ensure that the death of Cherish Perrywinkle remains a reminder to us all that our children should never be taken for granted or seen as commodities.

Jameson Hunter

Xin chào, tôi là Jameson Hunter, một chuyên gia chia sẻ kiến thức và nhà sáng tạo nội dung với hơn 10 năm kinh nghiệm trong lĩnh vực này. Tôi sinh ngày 14/05/1989 tại Đà Nẵng, và tốt nghiệp Đại Học Bách Khoa Đà Nẵng. Tôi đam mê giải đáp và review các sản phẩm, dịch vụ trong nhiều lĩnh vực khác nhau, và luôn cố gắng chia sẻ những kiến thức hữu ích nhất cho cộng đồng. Cảm ơn vì đã đọc giới thiệu của tôi.

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