BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – This week marks a shift in the investigation of three-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney’s death for the Birmingham Police Department, and a former FBI special agent says the investigators will now be able to slow down a bit as they move forward in the process.
Police found the child’s body in a Jefferson County landfill earlier this week. She had been missing since Oct. 12. Two suspects, Patrick Stallworth and Derick Irisha Brown, are in custody. Now the police are moving forward on putting together the details of the case, and Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said earlier this week he hopes to get warrants for capital murder and kidnapping. Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr tells CBS 42 his office probably will bring those charges against the suspects sometime Thursday.
Jack Owens served as a special agent in the FBI’s Birmingham field office for 29 years before retiring in 1999. He spoke with CBS 42 Wednesday to offer analysis on the case, which he’s been following. He says law enforcement can focus on building its case now that a body has been found.
“Law enforcement can slow down a little bit, particularly the Birmingham Police Department in combination with federal law enforcement, and find all the details we can uncover about the lives of these two suspects, where they were, what were they doing,” Owens said.
Those details, he says, will be keys in the investigation going forward. But perhaps nothing will be more important than establishing the suspects’ motive.
“Why? Why were they there at that birthday party? What was going on there? Did they have help? Are we dealing with accomplices, and who are they? And has someone left the area that shouldn’t have left, perhaps to hide from police? All these things, detectives, the Birmingham Police Department, will determine,” Owens said.
Police spent about 10 days searching for McKinney after she disappeared. Last Friday, they released a video showing two men passing by two children at the Tom Brown Village housing community, where McKinney went missing. They hoped the public would be able to help them identify one of the men. The identities of the people in the video are not clear, but police said when they released it that one is a suspect. Owens thinks this video will be key in the investigation.
“Where did (the suspect) come from? Was he told there was a party going on? I want to know how the suspects came to be at that party and target those children,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than the ‘why’ as we have more time to work on a motive.”
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