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Serenity McKinney case timeline: Missing 4-year-old found dead in Kentucky

The remains of the little girl were found in February 2022 by Kentucky State Police. Here's a timeline from when she went missing to when her body was found.

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. — Four-year-old Serenity Ann McKinney was last seen by her extended family members on Christmas Eve 2020, but she wasn't reported missing until more than a year later.

Kentucky State Police said her remains were found near the Jefferson-Bullitt County line on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022.

Dec. 24, 2020 - Last time Serenity was seen

Christmas Eve was the last time Serenity's extended family members in Shelbyville, Kentucky said they saw the child. After that, they were in communication with Serenity and her mother, Catherine "Abby" McKinney, until June of 2021, which was the last time they spoke over the phone.

In the fall of 2021, family members said Abby McKinney cut off all communication with her extended family.

Jan. 31, 2022 - Police report filed

After Abby McKinney stopped returning her family's phone calls, her mother and stepfather contacted law enforcement in Shelby County to file a missing person report on both Abby and Serenity on Jan. 31.

Deputy Shelby Guffey met with the family that day. 

"Having the family come in and sit down and express their concerns about their granddaughter, of course, it's hard," Guffey said. "I'm a mother myself, it would be a complete nightmare not to see my granddaughter or my child."

She entered Abby and Serenity into a national database in case they were no longer in Kentucky.

Meanwhile, the Shelby County Sheriff's Office executed warrants in Shelby, Bullitt and Jefferson County, where they believe Abby had lived.

Feb. 3, 2022 - AG announces investigation

On Feb. 3, Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued a statement on Serenity's case. Cameron said Serenity's family was not cooperating with the investigation.

He said the Attorney General's Special Victims Unit was partnering with the Shelby and Bullitt County Sheriff's Departments, Kentucky State Police, and the U.S. Secret Service to investigate the case.

Shelby County Sheriff's Captain Kyle Tipton said the state was granted emergency legal custody of Serenity on Feb. 3. 

Feb. 6, 2022 - Abby McKinney, boyfriend arrested in Kansas

On Sunday, Feb. 6, law enforcement officials found and served Abby in Kansas, instructing her to relinquish custody of Serenity, according to Capt. Tipton. When she failed to do so,  Abby and her boyfriend, Dakota Hill, were arrested and charged with custodial interference. 

When asked where Serenity was, Abby invoked her 5th amendment right not to speak with law enforcement, according to Capt. Tipton.

Abby McKinney and Hill are awaiting extradition from Kansas to Kentucky, a process that could last anywhere from seven to 10 days.

Feb. 18, 2022 - Serenity's remains found

According to Kentucky State Police, Serenity McKinney’s remains were found on Friday in West Point around the 1300 block of Skyview Road near the Jefferson-Bullitt County line.

Shelby County Sheriff Timothy Moore said Abby McKinney, Serenity’s biological mother and her boyfriend, Dakota Hill have been taken into custody.

Police said both are facing murder charges in connection to Serenity’s disappearance.

Hill and McKinney have also been charged with abuse of a corpse.

They were already in custody at the Shelby County Detention Center after being charged with custodial interference. They were arrested in Kansas on those charges before being extradited back to Kentucky.

Serenity’s body was taken by the Bullitt County Coroner’s Office to the Kentucky Medical Examiners Office in Louisville for an autopsy that took place Saturday morning.

Those results have not yet been released.

The investigation surrounding Serenity’s disappearance and death remains under investigation.

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