JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The body of an 8-year-old girl abducted from a northeast Florida store where she had been shopping with her mother was found Saturday at a church, authorities said.
An Amber Alert was issued for Charish Perriwinkle after she went missing Friday night. St. Lonnie Mills of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tells The Florida Times-Union that the pair was befriended by a man who offered to take Charish to buy a snack at the front of the Jacksonville Wal-Mart.
The man is a registered sex offender. Sheriff’s office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Saturday that the 56-year-old man had been taken into custody after officers surrounded his van.
About an hour later, authorities said the girl’s body was found at a church.
“A very difficult time, obviously, for everyone involved,” Hartley told WJXT-TV.
Hartley did not immediately return messages left Saturday by The Associated Press. The sheriff’s office directed inquiries to their Facebook page, which said Charish’s body had been found and authorities were beginning a murder investigation.
The sheriff’s office scheduled a news conference for Saturday afternoon.
In 2009, a 7-year-old northeast Florida girl was abducted while she walked home from school. Police later found Somer Thompson’s body in a Georgia landfill. A man who lived with his parents in Somer’s Orange Park neighborhood pleaded guilty in 2012 to kidnapping, raping and murdering the girl and was sentenced to life in prison.
Somer’s mother told The Times-Union that she was sickened by the news of Charish’s abduction.
“Her (Charish’s mother) nightmare has just begun,” Diena Thompson said.
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