BIRMINGHAM, Ala., (WIAT) — North Avondale Neighborhood Association President Rev. Zachary Watkins says the McKinney family and the community are hurting after learning 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney died by asphyxiation by suffocation the same day she went missing.
Watkins, speaking on behalf of her grieving family, says they had so much hope that she would be found. Now gloom and purple ribbons linger around the Tom Brown Village community.
“Its just sadness,” says Watkins.
Watkins says the community has to come to the conclusion that there is nothing that can be done but to pray.
The child’s body was found amid garbage this week 10 days after she was kidnapped while attending a birthday party.
The funeral service will be held at New Beginnings Christian Ministry in Birmingham at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The burial will follow at Elmwood cemetery.
“It’s open to the public. I already know that our church is nowhere big enough to hold this crowd,” said pastor Sylvester Wilson. The child’s mother previously attended the church, he said.
Police have charged a man and a woman with kidnapping and capital murder in the death of the child, who was known to relatives as “Cupcake.”
Attorneys for 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown, have said they weren’t involved in the child’s death, and news outlets reported that Stallworth said in court he didn’t understand why he was being charged.
The city has announced a website for anyone who wants to make donations to help pay the child’s funeral and burial expenses. More than $12,000 has been given and organizers said any leftover money will go to nonprofits that help at-risk people.
Also, Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama said it was establishing a permanent reward fund in the girl’s name to help in future child abductions. The group said it had received more than $35,000 in donations linked to the girl’s disappearance.
“There is no silver lining in the Cupcake tragedy,” Frank Barefield, chairman of the organization’s board, said in a statement. “However, we are deeply moved by the public’s generosity during the investigation of her kidnapping. We hope the memory of Cupcake is somehow kept alive not only in our community but also in the generosity of these donors.”