BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – “Never again” are the words from the Birmingham community as the family of Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney remembered her life on the two-year anniversary of police finding her body.
Cupcake was kidnapped from a birthday party at Tom Brown Village, spawning community searches and national coverage to follow. Officials found the 3-year-old’s body on Oct. 22, 2019, which was 10 days after she was taken.
Prayers and chants filled the space, coming to an agreement that it takes everyone to prevent the loss of a young life.
“Two years today – I never thought I would be here telling you my story,” Cupcake’s mother April Thomas said. “How many kids and adults in unsolved murders are going to keep going on if we stand at home and just mind our business?”
She said every life is so precious, and there are so many children still missing with families yearning to understand the meaning of it all.
“I pray that this don’t happen to no father, no one have to go through this – it’s a tragedy,” Cupcake’s father Dominic McKinney said. “There is something we can all do to never make this happen again and that’s to stick together. Let’s all keep our eyes on our children.”
Every candle that was lit showed a sign of more hope.
“If you see something, say something,” event organizer Jasmaine Deloach said. “It’s all that matters. Don’t wait until it’s your child to say that I want to help and do what I gotta do.”
Thomas said she doesn’t want you to be the next one at the podium sharing your story.
“Speak up, say something, you could save someone’s life,” Thomas said. “It’s not called snitching, sometimes it’s being a good Samaritan, a good neighbor, a good friend because you never know when you’re watching the news you could be that same person standing in their shoes.”
Cupcake’s parents are grateful to the community who helped during the search and to those who have not forgotten their daughter’s story. But the chapter doesn’t end here as the family will be fighting for justice in the courts soon.
Angela Harris, the mother of Aniah Blanchard who was kidnapped the day after Cupcake’s body was found, was also at the memorial tribute.
“Our babies were taken away from us,” Harris said. “Nobody asked us, we didn’t get a choice, they were taken. I do believe that our angels served a wonderful purpose while they were on Earth and are serving a wonderful purpose in Heaven right now.”
“Forever Aniah Day” is remembered in Auburn each year on Oct. 23 which will honor the Homewood native. There will be a discussion on safety education and a celebration of her life followed by a candlelight vigil.