The search for a missing 3-year-old Alabama girl came to a tragic end Tuesday after authorities found what they believe to the young child’s remains.
The body of Kamille McKinney was discovered by police and FBI agents Tuesday night inside a dumpster at a landfill, authorities said. McKinney, affectionately known as “Cupcake,” was kidnapped from the Tom Brown Village housing complex in Birmingham during a birthday party Oct. 12.
Police plan to charge 39-year-old Patrick Stallworth and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Derick Irisha Brown, with capital murder and kidnapping in the girl’s death, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said. Both are now in custody.
“I wish I had all of you gathered here with good news. I wish I could share a high five or some other type of celebratory salutation, but I cannot,” Smith told reporters Tuesday.
The chief lauded local authorities and the FBI for working “tirelessly, 24 hours a day, to locate this young child and bring her back home and hold those accountable who were involved in her disappearance … and ultimately her demise.”
Mayor Randall Woodfin also addressed the tragedy, calling it “a tough moment for the city.”
Stallworth and Brown were arrested the day after McKinney’s abduction when police linked the pair to a Toyota SUV matching the description of the vehicle used in the kidnapping. That same car was also spotted in surveillance video at a store around the time the girl disappeared, AL.com reported.
Last Friday, authorities released surveillance video of two children, one believed to be McKinney, playing at a playground when an unidentified man walks past them. Seconds later, another man with a noticeable limp approaches and the two tots leave with him.
That’s the last time McKinney, 3, was seen.
Witnesses told police that a man had been passing out candy to children at the Birmingham housing community.
At the time, Stallworth was arrested on child pornography charges after authorities found obscene images of juveniles on his cellphone. None of the photos were of McKinney, and police said there appears to be no connection between the suspects and Kamille’s family.
Stallworth was released from jail on $500,000 bond but re-arrested Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, Brown was held on bond revocation from a prior kidnapping case involving her own children in 2018. She was accused of swiping her three kids from DHS custody.
So far, police have released few details about what may have happened to McKinney or how long she was held captive before her death.
“We believe that this was something they thought about and acted upon. They saw an opportunity to take a young child, and they did,” Smith said of the two suspects. “Our further investigation will reveal whatever happened after that.”
The frantic 10-day search for the little girl left Birmingham and the state of Alabama on edge, and many were saddened to learn of the grim discovery.
“Horrific and heartbreaking,” one Twitter user wrote. “Praying for her family and praying they have some peace knowing she is safe in Jesus’s arms where no one can ever harm her again. This world is getting so evil and it breaks my heart.”
“Kamille Cupcake McKinney, I’m sorry the world didn’t treat your little being the way that you deserve to be treated. Rest in peace, sweet baby girl,” wrote another.
One user cursed the accused perpetrators, writing: “Who ever hurt and murdered kamille mckinney need to burn in hell forever and they need to feel their skin burning COMPLETELY off over and over again.”
The tragedy also drew a response from embattled Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who extended her condolences to the McKinney family.
“The heart of our state is broke, but we must do all we can to avoid this happening to another family,” Ivey said in a statement. “Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”
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