Serenity McKinney’s father living ‘nightmare’ after 4-year-old’s remains found

The girl’s family held a vigil in Shelby County on Sunday
Crowds gathered at Clear Creek Park in Shelbyville for a vigil to remember 4-year-old Serenity Ann McKinney on Sunday.
Published: Feb. 27, 2022 at 10:23 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Crowds gathered at Clear Creek Park in Shelbyville for a vigil to remember 4-year-old Serenity Ann McKinney on Sunday.

The vigil came after her mother, Catherine Abigail “Abby” McKinney, 21, and her boyfriend Dakota Hugh Hill, 26, were charged with her murder and abuse of a corpse in Bullitt County. Online records show they are being held in the Shelby County Detention Center in Shelbyville.

On Feb. 18, officers found Serenity McKinney’s body in a wooded area near the Jefferson-Bullitt County line.

The girl’s family said they are remembering the 4-year-old who loved to sing, play, and learn.

Her father, David Roller, expressed how he was overwhelmed by the support and crowd that showed up at the vigil.

“I realized how many people my baby girl has touched. It is amazing,” Roller said.

Serenity’s grandparents reported the Shelby County girl missing on Jan. 31. Extended family told police they haven’t seen Serenity since Christmas 2020. Shortly after an investigation was launched into Serenity’s whereabouts, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office issued warrants.

“It’s like wanting to wake up from a nightmare that I know I am not going to be able to wake up from,” Roller said.

On Feb 6., the couple was arrested in Kansas and both were charged with custodial interference.

The girl’s family says Catherine cut off all communication with them last September and that’s when they knew something was wrong.

Serenity’s father says he is still frustrated with the case and believes authorities could have done more to find his daughter sooner.

“We’re not going to stop until every single person that had a hand in doing this is fully held accountable,” Roller said. “That means even the people who are not behind bars right now.”

In the meantime, the family hopes the girl’s smile continues to live through them.

“Just to see how much she is loved, by people who didn’t even know her lets us know how special she was,” Aundria Wainscott, Serenity’s step-grandmother, said.

To report suspected child abuse, call Kentucky’s Child Protection Branch at (877) 597-2331. Reports can be made anonymously.

Serenity’s family launched a GoFundMe to cover her funeral costs and legal expenses.

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