Family of Serenity McKinney mark her birthday with gratitude and sadness

The family of Serenity McKinney gathered Tuesday at Cross Creek Park in Shelbyville with friends on what would have been the child’s 5th birthday.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:55 PM EDT
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SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The family of Serenity McKinney gathered Tuesday at Cross Creek Park in Shelbyville with friends on what would have been the child’s 5th birthday.

Grandmothers Melody Roller and Aundrea Wainscott gave thanks that McKinney’s remains were released to them after a long delay.

”Now we’re able to have her celebration of life and put her to rest and heal and move forward,” Wainscott said.

For Serenity’s family, the months of waiting have been excruciating. Missing for a year, the child’s remains were recovered in February, found in woods near the Bullitt/Jefferson County line.

Serenity’s mother, Catherine McKinney and her boyfriend, Dakota Hill were arrested days later and charged with her murder. They were also charged with abuse of a corpse in relation to Serenity’s death.

It took nearly six more months for two DNA tests to positively identify the remains.

”That was five months, two weeks and five days it took,” Roller said. “That was a real hard struggle.”

Reported missing in Jan. 2021, the search for Serenity McKinney attracted national attention.

On Tuesday, Roller and Wainscott expressed gratitude for the countless people who worked to find Serenity.

Private funeral services will be held soon as Serenity’s family now waits for justice.

Catherine McKinney and Dakota Hill are due back in court in October.

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