‘Cupcake’ has one, but every missing child doesn’t have an AMBER Alert

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Five days and no sign of 3-year-old Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney.

Here's what we know right now

A person of interest in the case bonded out of jail on unrelated charges early Thursday morning. Police arrested Patrick Stallworth on Tuesday on seven child pornography charges. The Crime Stoppers reward for information to help find Kamille is now at $34,000.

The AMBER Alert for that missing little girl stretches across Alabama and into neighboring states, but there are missing children everywhere families desperately want home.

There are other missing kids

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children worked on 25,000 cases of missing children in 2018. Not all of them became AMBER Alerts. In Alabama 44 children, including Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney, are listed as missing by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

"We live in a society where bad things can happen," said Chris Newlin. He's the executive director for the National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville.

Every child that's missing doesn't get an AMBER Alert.

"Children are much more likely to be abducted by someone they know," Newlin said non-family abductions are less frequent. Statistics show less than one percent. Birmingham police tell WHNT they cannot definitively say if Kamille is part of that small group.

AMBER Alerts could lead to success

The executive director said, "it's unfortunate that in this particular case, with Cupcake, she continues to be missing."

The Alabama Fusion Center works with law enforcement to issue AMBER Alerts for children under the age of 18 who have been abducted and are believed to be in danger of serious bodily injury or death. But not every missing child case meets the very specific criteria that it takes to issue an AMBER Alert.

Criteria from AMBER Alert.gov site:

  • There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
  • The law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
  • There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
  • The abduction is of a child aged 17 years or younger.
  • The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.

"The exact number of kids recovered doesn't matter," said Newlin, "as long as it's one, then it was a success."

Pay attention to billboards

Alerting the public about missing children, like Cupcake, and getting their faces on billboards can help get them back home. An AMBER Alert also puts police departments across the state like Huntsville PD on high alert for that missing child.

"We're really looking for her face out there among all the faces in the world," said Newlin. "If it rescues one child, it was worth it."

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