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DeKalb County sheriff remembers county's own tragedy in wake of Kamille 'Cupcake' McKinney's death

Seven months ago, 11-year-old Amberly Barnett was found dead in Mount Vernon after going missing the day before. A neighbor is charged with murder.

Posted: Oct 24, 2019 7:39 PM

As Birmingham heals from tragedy after a three-year-old girl reported missing was found dead, it stirs up a lot of emotion for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office.

Seven months ago, 11-year-old Amberly Barnett was found dead in Mount Vernon after going missing the day before. A neighbor is charged with murder.

"Sometimes all you have to do is humble yourself and just cry out and pray sometimes, and that's exactly what we had to do a lot of and that's what Birmingham is going to have to do a lot of," said DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden.

Sheriff Welden said when he heard three-year-old Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney was found dead, he was taken back to March of this year. That's when deputies found the body of 11-year-old Amberly Barnett.

"We have feelings just like everyone else has...It's a heart-crushing feeling," said Welden.

Investigators say Amberly was strangled and found 200 yards from the suspect's home.

"It was tough...It was the toughest thing I'd ever been through. You just have seen evil," said Welden.

Since then, the sheriff's office has started community initiatives to do whatever it can to prevent this from happening again. They're working closely with DeKalb County Schools as resource officers to keep kids safe there.

This week, K-9 officers are visiting campuses to familiarize students with what they do to keep them safe. They've also named a K-9 specializing in searching for people "Alex" after Amberly. Her middle name was "Alexis."

"It's devastating. It's heart-wrenching. It's something you just don't get over the next day. It's something you have to push forward and work to make something positive come from it," said Welden.

Deputies say the trial date for the suspect in Amberly's case has not been set.

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