BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A funeral service is set for this weekend for a 3-year-old Alabama girl who was abducted from a birthday party and asphyxiated, and officials said Friday they are establishing a permanent reward fund in her memory.
The service for Kamille McKinney was scheduled for Sunday afternoon, with burial to follow at Elmwood Cemetery. The child’s body was found amid garbage this week 10 days after she disappeared.
The funeral is planned for New Beginning Christian Ministry, where pastor Sylvester Wilson said the church has a 700-seat sanctuary and can use its fellowship hall as an overflow auditorium.
“It’s open to the public. I already know that our church is nowhere big enough to hold this crowd,” said 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.”
News outlets reported that a warrant read in court Friday during an initial hearing for the suspects, 39-year-old Patrick Devone Stallworth, and his 29-year-old girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown, said the girl died of asphyxiation the day she went missing.
Attorneys for both people 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.”