Prayer vigil held as search for missing girl continues

Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney (Photo: WIAT/Jazmyne Smith)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Community members held a prayer vigil Saturday as the search continues for a missing 3-year-old who disappeared from a birthday party last week.

News outlets report family members and supporters gathered at St. James AME Church, a church a few blocks from the housing development where the child disappeared. Kamille McKinney, known as “Cupcake” to her family, disappeared last Saturday during a birthday party.

“We’re not going to give up hope,” the Rev. Alvelyn Sanders told al.com.

April Thomas, Kamille’s mother, was present at the vigil but declined to speak to the congregation. Her older brother, Steven Long, spoke instead.

“On behalf of our family, we appreciate everybody helping in the search for my niece. It’s very hard right now,” he said.

Police on Friday released surveillance video they believe shows McKinney shortly before the abduction.

The grainy footage shows two children playing outside at the housing project. One man walks by the children without stopping. Later, the children leave with a second man who walks with a limp.

Police said the second man is a suspect in the case, but they also want to find the first man as a potential witness.

Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith on Friday told news outlets they don’t believe a lot of planning was put into the kidnapping and they remain hopeful she will be found.

“I think it was maybe something done impromptu,” he said.

He also pleaded for the child’s return.

“If you know where Kamille is, if you have her and you’re not sure what to do, I want to talk to you. Please bring her to one of our fire stations, police stations or a hospital.”

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