BIRMINGHAM, Ala. –The remains of a 3-year-old child found in a Birmingham, Alabama, dumpster believed to belong to Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, a child who had been missing for a little more than a week, police said.
Authorities will now work to secure warrants for capital murder and kidnapping on two people who were previously named persons of interest in the missing girl’s case, Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said in a news conference Tuesday.
Patrick Stallworth, 39, and Derick Brown, 29, were taken into custody and questioned by police last week after video evidence and witnesses connected them to a vehicle seen during the night of Oct. 12, when Kamille went missing.
The dumpster where the child’s body was placed, Smith said, wasn’t far from the apartment complex she was last seen in.
Stallworth’s attorney, Emory Anthony, said he didn’t know “anything about what’s going on.”
Anthony said he doesn’t know anything about the circumstances, the evidence, or the reasoning behind his arrest and added he hasn’t spoken to Stallworth yet.
‘It only takes a split second’
Police believe the kidnapping was something Stallworth and Brown thought about and acted upon and they found an opportunity to take the young child, Smith said Tuesday.
The investigation will reveal what happened after that, he said.
“It only takes a split second,” Smith said in the news conference. “We can no longer assume that everyone is a part of the village that is trying to raise the child.”
The toddler was at a birthday party in the apartment complex her family lived in.
A multi-state Amber Alert issued after her disappearance said she may have been abducted by a man and a woman in a dark-colored SUV.
Police didn’t get any information on the child’s location when they first interviewed Stallworth and Brown — but were able to secure warrants on unrelated charges.
Stallworth, who was back in police custody Tuesday, was previously charged with four counts of possession of child pornography and three counts of possession of child pornography with intent to distribute.
Brown remains in custody for an unrelated kidnapping.
Smith said Tuesday there is no connection between the two and Kamille’s family.
“This young child has touched a nation,” the chief said. “This young child has definitely sent a message across that nation that we all must be diligent to protect them all.”
The surveillance video
On Friday, police released surveillance video they hoped would help find the child, of two men seen outside the housing complex. Kamille and another 3-year-old child are also seen in the video, recorded the night she disappeared, according to police Chief Patrick Smith.
The video shows one man first walking past the two children. Later, another man stops and appears to talk to them. The video ends just after the two children follow the second man out of view of the camera.
One man was a suspect and the other may have had information about the girl’s disappearance, police had said.
Her father pleaded for her return
Kamille, 3 feet tall and 60 pounds, was last seen wearing a pink T-shirt with a Minnie Mouse leopard print design, the Amber Alert had said.
For days, the state and country helped search as police remained hopeful to find the young girl alive.
“In my heart, I believe that she is alive, and we are going to press forward in hopes that she is. It is my hope and prayer that we are able to bring her back home to her family safely,” Smith said last week.
He asked residents of the apartment complex Kamille was taken from to come forward with any cell phone video that may be helpful.
Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama offered a $20,000 reward to anyone with information which would help police solve the crime.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the kidnapping. A private individual put up another $1,000.
Her father begged for the girl’s return.
“Drop her off anywhere and let her out. Somebody will see her. Everybody knows what’s going on,” Dominic McKinney told WBMA. “That will be the end of that. We just want the baby back.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey released a statement, saying:
“Given the tragic news that is breaking this evening, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Kamille’s family. I offer profound thanks to law enforcement and to all the volunteers who have worked tirelessly in search of this precious little girl. The heart of our state is broken, but we must do all we can to avoid this happening to another family. Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”