Murder Charge for Mom After Body of Missing 4-Year-Old Serenity McKinney Is Found

The body of Serenity McKinney, a 4-year-old girl who has been missing for over a year, was found Friday along a winding road lined by woods in West Point, Kentucky.

Her mother, Catherine McKinney, and the mother’s boyfriend, Dakota Hill, who were already charged with custodial interference, were rebooked on charges of murder and abuse of a corpse, Shelby County jail records show.

Authorities did not say how Serenity died, but the grim discovery resolves at least part of a mystery that began on Christmas Eve 2020, the last time the little girl was seen.

Serenity’s grandparents say Catherine McKinney cut them off in the fall and they reported the child missing last month.

“This is out of her character,” step-grandmother Aundrea Wainscott told WHAS a week and a half ago. “She had gotten back in contact with us through messenger, pretty much saying they’re OK, but still wouldn’t let us talk to Serenity or show us Serenity.”

Police say that when they contacted Catherine McKinney, she refused to cooperate—and then she and Hill allegedly skipped town. The couple were subsequently arrested in Kansas and extradited to Kentucky.