Nearly four months after the tragic abduction and murder of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney in Birmingham, Alabama, her mother spoke out for the first time in an interview with CBS42.
“I have good days; I have bad days. But it’ll never be the same. I can’t wake up to her smiling at me or waking me up with her hugs or kisses. It’s rough,” April Thomas said.
Kamille was found dead in a dumpster on October 22, two weeks after being abducted from the front yard of a birthday party in Tom Brown Village.
The little girl died of asphyxiation by suffocation on the same day she was kidnapped, according to warrants read aloud in a previous court appearance for the two suspects charged in her murder, AL.com, WSHV, and WVTM report.
Methamphetamine and trazadone, a sedative, were found in her body, and the child had allegedly been sexually assaulted, according to court testimony from one of the suspects, AL.com reports.
The suspects, Patrick Devone Stallworth and his girlfriend, Derick Irisha Brown, were charged with capital murder of a child under the age of 14. They could face the death penalty if convicted. Both are being held at the Jefferson County Jail without bond.
Stallworth was also charged with four counts of possession of obscene material of persons under 17 years of age and three counts of possession with intent to disseminate obscene material after illicit imagery was found on his phone.
Neither suspect has a connection to Kamille or her family.
“We believe this was something they thought about and acted upon. They saw an opportunity to take a young child, and they did,” Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith previously told reporters.
Thomas, Kamille’s mother, told WIAT she’s “still living this nightmare,” though she’s getting though the trauma with the support of her community, which she describes as “more than just neighbors — we’re family.”
She also said she hopes to help educate more kids on “stranger danger.”
“What are we going to do to prevent this from happening?” Thomas asked. “While the gifts are nice, it still doesn’t [make] our community better. I would rather see more events towards trying to push things to be better. Enough is enough.”