SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Five months, two weeks and five days after officers found the body of four-year-old Serenity McKinney of Shelbyville, the remains were returned to her grieving grandparents.
Her paternal grandmother, Melody Roller, said it should have been done sooner, but she is glad the coroner kept a promise – the remains were back with Serenity’s family by her birthday.
On Tuesday, family and friends gathered at Clear Creek Park to celebrate what would have been another birthday for the lost four-year-old.
As storm clouds started to move in overhead, Roller handed out pinwheels. People placed them one by one into the park fence.
"The pinwheels, when the wind blows, go in a circle," Roller said. "So, anytime it blows it's a reminder that her memory will keep going. She will live on through all of us."
Roller and Serenity's maternal grandmother Aundria Wainscott walked through the park handing pinwheels and cupcakes to playing children and their parents.
As the two talked with WHAS11 News, you could hear the children in the distance. They said it reminded them of their little girl.
"She had a little ukulele she used to play," Wainscott said with a smile. "She didn't know how to play it, but she played it." The two grandmas laughed.
They spoke of her proudly. They said she was a smart girl and as friends blew bubbles nearby, they described the way Serenity learned to do the same.
"She would try to blow so hard and it just wasn't enough," Roller said. "So, I taught her how to go in a circle, and from then on that's how she did it."
Throughout the day, people at the park spun their bubbles in the same way. One person said they could imagine Serenity running through the bubbles as they fell and popped in the grass.
Forty miles away, Serenity's mother Catherine McKinney sits in the Bullitt County Jail. She and her boyfriend Dakota Hill are both charged with the child's murder.
Court records show a pretrial conference is set for Oct. 10 and it will be followed by a jury trial.
Both the grandmothers agree justice will be served.