BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC/Gray News) - A lot has happened this week as police search for a missing 3-year-old Birmingham girl, but authorities have not located Kamille McKinney.
Kamille McKinney (Source: WBRC)
The story of Kamille’s abduction has been spread nationwide as police continue searching for the girl nicknamed “Cupcake.”
Kamille was last seen around 8:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Officers say she was kidnapped from the front yard of a residence during a birthday party. She was last seen wearing a pink t-shirt with leopard-print design and leopard-print shorts with no shoes.
Police Chief Patrick Smith said during a news conference Monday, authorities are searching beyond state lines for Kamille.
Birmingham police released a video Friday morning that includes a suspect and a person of interest in the kidnapping of Kamille.
Smith said the suspect has been identified as the second adult in the video, but police are asking for the public’s assistance with identifying the person of interest (the first adult in the video).
Smith said police believe one of the children is Kamille. The second child will not be identified. He says Kamille was kidnapped in the area the video was captured.
According to authorities, detectives interviewed two persons of interest in relation to Kamille’s disappearance. Investigators were unable to gather information on where Kamille is, but there was enough evidence to charge the two on unrelated counts Tuesday.
The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office charged 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth with four counts of possession of obscene material of persons under 17 years of age. He was also charged with three counts of possession with intent to disseminate obscene material.
Stallworth’s bond of $500,000 was paid Thursday and he was released.
Derick Irisha Brown, 29, had her probation revoked. She is currently being held without bond.
Birmingham police received a tip Wednesday morning that Kamille had been spotted an apartment complex. Authorities spent more than three hours searching apartments but ultimately did not locate Kamille.
Birmingham police conducted a routine sweep of the apartment complex Thursday as they continue to look for Cupcake and clues surrounding her disappearance.
Smith said this week, they have also continued to receive numerous tips from the public.
“Some of them are really credible tips and actionable items. And then there are some that we have to go through to weigh against other evidence to make a determination if they are actually valid,” said Smith.
In addition, community members were fanning out and searching as well on Thursday. One woman said she is a neighbor of Cupcake and her family. Her children often play with the 3-year-old. She shares in the anguish of her mother.
“I felt her pain that night. I prayed that night. Because it could have been my child or anybody else’s child. And the Lord put it on my heart to tell me, we going to find your baby. We going to find your baby,” said Maliko Hawkins.
During a press conference Wednesday, Smith said that they want whoever has Kamille to think “safe passage.”
Smith encouraged the person to drop her off at a hospital, police station or fire house.
Fire officials said most fire stations across the country are considered safe places for children.
If Kamille was dropped off at one of their stations, they have strict guidelines to follow.
“Our employees will accept the child, start to render any care if needed. Notify law enforcement, and our employees have been advised not to question, try to ascertain who the person is or start any type of investigation,” said Battalion Chief Sebastian Carrillo.
$25,000 in rewards has been issued throughout the week. These rewards vary from an arrest to a conviction of the kidnappers. depending on the agency,
On Monday, Gov. Kay Ivey said the state is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) and the location of Kamille.
If you have any additional information, Birmingham Police have offered an additional hotline number for people who see Kamille or have other information about the case. That number is 205-297-8413. In addition, anyone one with any information may also call CrimeStoppers at 205-254-7777 or 911.
Authorities say they have received numerous tips.
“It’s been a great response by the Birmingham community. And even surrounding communities. I’ve had tips coming in from people out of state, from Georgia, from Florida. Obviously this has gone nationwide," says Sgt. John Pennington with Crimestoppers of Metro Alabama.
WJXT crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson, an award-winning retired police officer, weighed in on how the public can help in the search.
“Do not approach the child unless the child is alone and seems to be stranded. If the child is with an adult you don’t want to approach because you don’t know the mindset of the person with the child. It could be the wrong child, they [you] could be asking for trouble," said Jefferson.
Jefferson, a 24-year veteran of the Jacksonville Police Department, has experience investigating cases similar to Kamille’s. He said the community and family can help in the search by posting Kamille’s pictures in neighborhoods and using social media to expand the search.
In addition, Crime Stoppers is now offering a $20,000 reward for any information leading to Kamille’s recovery and the closure of this investigation. The Crime Stoppers reward is the result of generous community support. If you would like to donate to the reward fund, you can call 205-224-5003.
Law enforcement manpower is limited, so the public’s help is needed when trying to solve cases.
“Every single officer that’s on a search for this child wants to find that child, not to be a hero or anything like that. They are putting themselves in the predicament that the parents are in right now,” explained Jefferson.
Kamille’s father and grandmother are begging for her safe return.
“I’m just trying to stay strong for Cupcake mainly. This isn’t about nobody else, this is about Cupcake. Bringing Cupcake home and bringing these people to justice,” said her grandmother, Lekisha Simpson.
She also made the following plea:
“I just want to say to that person, let her go, Do the right thing. It could have been you. It could have been your child. Anybody just let her go.”
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