BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT/WNCN/AP) — Investigators searching through garbage found the body of a 3-year-old girl who was missing more than a week, and authorities are charging two people with murder, police said Tuesday.
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said that McKinney, who had been missing, for 10 days, was likely dead.
Smith told a news conference that the remains of Kamille McKinney were located in a trash bin that had been taken to a landfill. Police had been watching garbage deposits from a certain part of the city, he said.
“We found the remains of a child that we believe to be Kamille,” Smith said.
Smith said police obtained murder warrants against two people previously identified as persons of interest in the case, 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown.
Lawyers for both have said they are innocent.
The child, known as “Cupcake” to relatives, vanished while outside a birthday party on Oct. 12. Investigators know of no link between the suspects and the girl or her family, Smith said.
“We believe this was something they thought about and acted upon. They saw an opportunity to take a young child, and they did,” said Smith, who did not reveal a potential motive.
Stallworth, arrested after officers located a vehicle seen near the abduction site, previously was charged with child pornography, but authorities said the charge wasn’t related to the missing child.
It wasn’t clear how long the child might have been dead. Mayor Randall Woodfin said the girl’s parents were experiencing “unimaginable” pain.
Woodfin asked every resident in Birmingham to stand in solidarity for McKinney’s family.
“More than ever, this family needs us all,” Woodfin said. “So tonight, we mourn as one.”
Woodfin also took the time to speak to Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney’s family.
“To the family of Kamille, I speak on behalf of all the residents and the city and that we know that your pain, your grief, your tears, your anger, your sadness, your many questions and your pain are not ignored,” Woodfin said.
Woodfin encouraged the community to keep McKinney’s family in their thoughts and prayers.
Gov. Kay Ivey, in a statement Tuesday night, offered her condolences to Kamille’s family.
“The heart of our state is broken…,” Ivey said. “Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”
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