Remembering Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney, the 3-year-old who brought a community together a year ago

Remembering Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney, the 3-year-old who brought a community together a year ago
Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney was abducted from a birthday party. The 3-year-old's death shocked us all and forever changed the Birmingham community. (Source: wbrc)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s tough to believe a year has passed since little Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney was abducted while attending a birthday party at Tom Brown Village on Oct. 12, 2019.

Investigators believed her life was taken the same night.

The 3-year-old became everyone’s child as the community held their own children closer while searching tirelessly to find Cupcake.

The search ended 10 days later at the Santek Waste Services landfill near Gardendale. Kamille’s small body was left in a dumpster.

Even a year later, the community still hurts. Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin released the following statement Monday:

"There isn’t a day that has gone by in the past year where I don’t think about Kamille McKinney and her family in some form. I know I’m not alone – her story touched so many hearts in our city.

But here’s why I remain hopeful, even today. In tragedy, Birmingham found solidarity. No matter our differences and divisions, both personal and political, our city came together as one to mourn the passing of Kamille, to demand justice and to uplift her family in their darkest hour.

Birmingham and the world have seen many more challenges in the months that followed that horrible October night where we learned of Kamille’s fate. But again, I remain hopeful. Kamille proved to us that we can find common ground even in the most challenging situations.

Where there is grief and sorrow, there is hope and unity. That’s Kamille’s legacy."

The two people charged with Kamille’s murder, 40-year-old Patrick Stallworth and 30-year-old Derick Irisha Brown, have yet to go to trial. A year later, they both remain behind bars.

Frank Barefield with Crime Stoppers said the community stood up for Kamille.

“We got over 400 tips. Some of the best tips were one identifying the suspects and another identifying some key evidence in the case,” said Barefield.

The community speaking up proved the importance of community involvement to help solve cases. It was a sentiment her parents spoke about in April 2020 during a birthday celebration for Kamille.

“It’s nice to know that there a people out there with genuine hearts, and you know kind, and people who care,” said Kamille’s mom April Thomas.

The community also stepped up with their money by donating $45,000 to Crime Stoppers. According to Barefield, the money was put to good use in Kamille’s honor.

“We set up the Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney Memorial Reward Fund and that is to help find lost children,” explained Barefield.

The case has been bound over to the grand jury. Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr said the grand jury was still operational despite the pandemic.

The last movement in the case happened Tuesday, Oct 6. According to court documents, Stallworth’s attorney, Roderick Livingston, was allowed to withdraw himself from the case because he was hired by the public defender’s office that represents Brown.

We’ll keep you updated as this case moves through the legal system.

Monday Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin issued this statement:

"There isn’t a day that has gone by in the past year where I don’t think about Kamille McKinney and her family in some form. I know I’m not alone – her story touched so many hearts in our city.

But here’s why I remain hopeful, even today. In tragedy, Birmingham found solidarity. No matter our differences and divisions, both personal and political, our city came together as one to mourn the passing of Kamille, to demand justice and to uplift her family in their darkest hour.

Birmingham and the world have seen many more challenges in the months that followed that horrible October night where we learned of Kamille’s fate. But again, I remain hopeful. Kamille proved to us that we can find common ground even in the most challenging situations.

Where there is grief and sorrow, there is hope and unity. That’s Kamille’s legacy."

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