Birmingham police said late Tuesday that Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney,who had been missing for 10 days, was dead, and that her remains were found inside a dumpster.
"We found the remains of a child that we believe to be Kamille," police chief Patrick Smith said at a press conference. On Wednesday, the Jefferson County Coroner confirmed that the remains found in the Santek Waste Services Landfill have been identified as Kamille.
Smith said police were obtaining murder warrants against 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth, and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown. Both were previously identified as persons of interest in the case, according to The Associated Press, and are now in custody.
Smith said McKinney's remains were found near the home where the two were arrested, as part of a search for the missing girl. AP reports that lawyers for both suspects have said their clients are innocent.
McKinney disappeared Saturday, October 12 during a birthday party. Police believe the last image of McKinney is from a video showing her outside an apartment complex with another toddler.
"It only takes a split second," Smith said. "We can no longer assume that everyone is a part of the village that's trying to raise the child. We cannot take those things for granted."
When asked about a motive for the crime, Smith said, "I can tell you what we believe at this point. We believe that this was something that they thought about, and acted upon, and they saw an opportunity to take a young child, which they did."
"Our further investigations will reveal what happened after that," he added.
Smith added that authorities were "unable to determine" why McKinney was taken instead of the other toddler who appeared in the video. He also said that there's no apparent connection between the suspect and McKinney's family.
"I ask every member of this community to stand in solidarity beside this broken family," added Mayor Randall Woodfin. "Now, more than ever, this family needs us all. So tonight, Birmingham, we mourn as one."
"To the family of Kamille, I speak on behalf of all the residents and the city to know that your pain, your grief, your tears, your anger, your sadness, your many questions, your pain is not ignored. Your cries for help have not gone unanswered, and they will not go unanswered," he added.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also expressed her condolences, tweeting, "The heart of our state is broken, but our resolve must be to do everything we can to avoid this tragedy from happening to another family. Our prayers are with Kamille's family and all who have been touched by this nightmare."
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