On Wednesday, friends and family of Kamille McKinney celebrated what would’ve been the slain Alabama girl’s fourth birthday.
AL.com reported that McKinney’s mother, father, brother, and more than a dozen others released pink, purple, and white balloons in her memory at Elmwood Cemetery.
“It’s tragic because she’s not here to enjoy her birthday,’’ mother April Thomas told the news outlet. “The best part about it is she is with God, our Lord and Savior. That’s the best gift anybody could ever have. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Patrick Stallworth, 39, and his girlfriend, Derick Brown, 29, are facing capital murder and kidnapping charges. They are accused of abducting McKinney, 3, from the Tom Brown Village public housing community in Birmingham on October 12, where the toddler was attending a birthday party.
Witnesses told police that they spotted a man handing out candy before he put McKinney in his car.
McKinney’s body was reportedly discarded in a dumpster at the Woodside Condominiums in Center Point, where Stallworth and Brown lived. Authorities said her body was discovered at the Santek Waste Services Landfill in Gardendale on October 22.
Brown and Stallworth have blamed one another for the crime.
An examination revealed that McKinney was suffocated shortly after her October 12 abduction. The report also stated that she had toxic levels of methamphetamine and Trazodone, an anti-depressant, in her body.
Stallworth allegedly had a prescription for Trazodone but claimed Brown was stealing his pills and taking them with meth. He reportedly claimed that he entered his apartment and found Brown with McKinney. He said Brown asked him to sexually assault the child but he refused.
Conversely, Brown alleged that she witnessed Stallworth sexually assault the toddler.
Brown’s lawyers asserted that Stallworth’s DNA was recovered from under McKinney’s fingernails but Brown’s was not. However, a plastic mattress covering seized from the couple’s apartment allegedly had blood belonging to Stallworth, Brown, and McKinney.
There's so much going on in our world right now but my heart is with the family of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, who should be celebrating her fourth birthday today. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/I5HCpu3RiJ
— Randall Woodfin (@randallwoodfin) April 22, 2020
Despite their claims, prosecutors said the state of McKinney’s body made it impossible to determine whether she suffered any sexual trauma.
Brown and Stallworth remain jailed. Stallworth was charged with multiple counts of child pornography after investigators reportedly found photos of young girls on his phone. Authorities said the images were not of McKinney.
Brown also has a pending abduction charge stemming from a 2018 incident involving her three children and the Department of Human Resources.
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[Featured image: Kamille McKinney/Facebook]