As the search continues for an Alabama toddler, affectionately known as Cupcake, who was taken from a birthday party on Saturday (October 12), several national organizations have teamed up to find her.
Kamille McKinney, 3, was at a birthday party with her family when she went missing.
Joining the Birmingham police and the FBI in the investigation is the U.S. Marshals Service, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and Crime Stoppers, NBC reports.
Additionally, a $6,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the little girl’s whereabouts, NBC reports.
“We’re hoping that reward would give someone the courage or would motivate someone to come forward,” District Attorney Danny Carr said during a news conference on Tuesday (October 15).
He also explained that the reward includes $5,000 from his and the governor’s offices and $1,000 from a private citizen who wished to remain anonymous, according to NBC.
“As the chief said, we need your help,” Carr told reporters. “Our goal is to find Kamille and bring her back home.”
Authorities told reporters during a news conference that they believe she is still alive.
Kamille was last seen around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night in Birmingham at an outdoor birthday party she was attending with her mother and other relatives at the Tom Brown Village public housing community in Avondale, Alabama.
At the time of her disappearance, Kamille, who is 3-feet tall and weighs 60 pounds, was wearing a pink T-shirt with a Minnie Mouse/leopard print design and leopard print shorts with yellow, white and blue bows in her hair.
The little girl’s shoes were found in the parking lot, so police believe she is barefoot.
One day after Kamille vanished, two persons of interest were apprehended by police, but the toddler was nowhere to be found.
Birmingham police and Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies tracked down a man on Saturday (October 12) evening who was depicted in surveillance photos along with a dark color Toyota Sequoia believed to be connected with the kidnapping.
The suspected SUV was recovered at Woodside Condominiums, where the suspect was also found. Police had said they believed a Black man and a white female were in the vehicle, NBC reports.
Ricardo McGhee and another neighbor alerted police when they recognized the SUV parked outside the condo building and that the man in the photos released by police was their neighbor.
“I feel a little better that they got him, but the search goes on because Cupcake still isn’t home,” the girl’s father, Dominic McKinney, 27, told AL.com on Sunday (October 13).
On Monday (October 14), Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said video evidence linked the two persons of interest to the location of the crime, and they were being questioned. However, investigators believe others were involved in the kidnapping, NBC reports.
“We want to make sure that her picture, her face, is out there in the media so that everyone, even in the surrounding states, knows who she is,” Smith said about expanding the Amber Alert for Kamille to surrounding states.
“We know that a couple of events were going on at the same time,” Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said during Tuesday’s news conference, NBC reports. “But we also know a number of you have video, cellphone video and other information that you might have seen that may be helpful in locating this 3-year-old child.”
Robert Lowery, the vice president of the missing children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said they have a team assisting law enforcement on the ground in Birmingham with things like researching data.
“It’s important we don’t assume the worst has happened,” he told CBS 42.
“We’re not going to give up the search or give up hope to find Kamille alive and return her home to her family, because that would be a great disservice,” he continued, adding, “...time is the enemy when children are missing and we hope to find them and get them returned.
“The longer they’re away, the more likely they’re to be victimized, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to find her and return her,” he said. “We need to fully engage in reporting tips information.”
Birmingham Police Department Deputy Chief Scott Praytor echoed that need and said, “You may think you don’t know anything about it, but if you were in the area of the party you may have the piece we are looking for. Of all our resources, there is nothing more important than a community.”