BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As officers continued to search for Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney nearly two days after she went missing, Chief Patrick Smith of the Birmingham Police Department spoke about how much the disappearance of the 3-year-old girl had had an impact beyond the neighborhood she had grown up in.
“It’s something that affects not just one community, one part of town,” Smith said during a press conference Monday. “It affects the entire city, it affects the state and I think everyone wants to see this young baby found and back home.”
On Saturday night, McKinney went missing during a party in the Tom Brown village housing projects in the Avondale neighborhood. So far, police have located a car believed to have been involved in the kidnapping and were speaking to two people of interest in the case Monday.
While the exact details of McKinney’s abduction have yet to be revealed, there are studies that point to common trends when it comes to child abduction cases. One aspect is that child abduction cases where strangers kidnap children are very rare. According to Reuters, fewer than 350 people under the age of 21 have been abducted by strangers per year in the U.S. since 2010.
This is compared to the active list of 424,066 children considered missing in the country as of 2018.
“From 2010 through 2017, the most recent data available, the number has ranged from a low of 303 in 2016 to a high of 384 in 2011 with no clear directional trend,” Reuters’ article states.
According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, 9% of child kidnapping cases involve a family member in a custody dispute while the 3% committed by non-family members are done while a robbery is sexual assault is being committed.
“The kidnapper is often someone the child knows,” the foundation states.
What also makes McKinney’s abduction an oddity is her age. Although girls are the typical victims of abduction than boys, children between the ages of 12 and 17 make up nearly 80% of abduction cases.
One of the most notable findings is that with a few exceptions, most missing children, whether they be runaways or those who are abducted, the majority of those who are kidnapped are often found alive. The common data points to only one in every 10,000 missing children not being found alive, according to organizations like Poynter and Parents.com.
In fact, the number of missing children that have been recovered has gone up significantly over the years. According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which the BPD has been working with in the McKinney case, the recovery rate for missing children involved in the most dangerous cases in America has soared from 62% in 1990 to 97% in 2011.
Within hours of McKinney disappearing, an Amber Alert was issued across Alabama, notifying the public to be on the lookout for her. Since being implemented nationwide in 1996, a total of 957 children have been successfully located.
According to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, there were 23 active cases of missing children in Alabama as of Monday, 14 of which are considered runaways. The latest missing child’s case is Evan Eric Chartrand, who was last seen in Wetumpka on May 29, 2017 when he was 15 years old. The oldest active missing child case is Sherry Lynn Marler, who went missing on June 6, 1984 in Greenville when she was 12 years old.