BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is assisting Birmingham police in the search for 3-year-old Kamille McKinney.

Robert Lowery, the Vice President of the missing children division, said they have a team from NCMEC on the ground in Birmingham helping out local law enforcement in many ways like researching data.

Lowery said they got involved right away once the amber alert was issued, and plan on assisting BPD for as long as they need them.

“It’s important we don’t assume the worst has happened. We’re not going to give up the search or give up hope to find Kamille alive and return her home to her family because that would be a great disservice. I think often time yes, time is the enemy when children are missing and we hope to find them and get them returned,” said Lowery. “The longer they’re away, the more likely they’re to be victimized, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to find her and return her. We need to fully engage in reporting tips information.”

Lowery said 35 years ago, milk cartons were used to reach the public but now they have amazing tools like amber alerts and social media that can spread the alarm immediately.

Lowery said Kamille’s case of a stranger abduction is very rare these days. He said it only makes this case more heartbreaking.

He said the public’s role in helping find Kamille is huge.

“Please pay attention to the image of that child and the information that has been provided by the Birmingham Police Department and please don’t assume the worst has happened. We have to be actively looking for that child and another thing, someone out there has information on what happened to this child,” said Lowery. “They need to pick up that phone and call the Birmingham Police Department or they can call us at 1-800-THE-LOST but they need to get engaged. They need to be active. There is a family out there grieving and we have a child out there that needs our help.”