Law enforcement agencies reflect on Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney’s case two years later

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 7:22 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuesday marks two years since three-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney was kidnapped during a birthday party at a Birmingham housing complex.

Sadly, her body was found in a dumpster ten days later.

Birmingham Police and their partners reflected on her case using what they’ve learned for potential cases in the future.

Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney’s disappearance captivated not only those living here in Birmingham, but people across the nation.

Sgt. John Pennington with Crime Stoppers said everyone was hoping for a happy outcome, but said they did everything they could to find her alive.

Sgt. Pennington said multiple agencies came together almost immediately to locate Cupcake.

Birmingham Police established a command center outside Tom Brown Village to coordinate investigation efforts and started going door-to-door looking for clues right away.

Sgt. Pennington said there was an outpouring of cooperation and support from the community.

He said hundreds of tips came into Crime Stoppers during the investigation and tens of thousands of dollars were donated in hopes someone would come forward with information.

Sgt. Pennington describes the moment the tip came through that broke the case wide open.

“I do remember feeling a little bit of urgency…I mean…just desperately wanting…you know…the right tip to come in ‘cause some of the earlier tips that came in again were just repeating information on social media, and I kept hoping and hoping that somebody would…was in position to have provided that meaningful piece of information and fortunately there was. It was a relief. It really was and I couldn’t get it over fast enough to Birmingham detectives,” Sgt. Pennington said.

Sgt. Pennington added that Cupcake’s case changed their practice at Crime Stoppers.

He said before this case, officers could take a break at night and then restart the next morning, but he said Cupcake’s case became a 24-hour operation forcing them to make scheduling changes so someone would always be available.

He said he even had a system set up at his home so he could get alerts about tips at all times.

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