Missing Kentucky girl Serenity McKinney's body found; mother, boyfriend charged with murder

Serenity Ann McKinney, 4, was last seen alive on Christmas Eve 2020, but extended family didn't report her missing until recently

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Missing 4-year-old Serenity Ann McKinney, last seen alive in Kentucky on Christmas Eve two years ago, has been found dead, and the girl’s mother and her boyfriend have been charged with murder

Despite arrests being made, the murder investigation remains ongoing, as it wasn’t reported until earlier this month that other concerned family members hadn’t seen the girl since Dec. 24, 2020. 

Kentucky State Police said detectives located the body of the 4-year-old around 2 p.m. Friday in a wooded area near the 1300 block of Skyview Road in West Point near the Jefferson-Bullitt county line.


The girl’s mother, 21-year-old Catherine McKinney, and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Dakota Hill, both from Shepherdsville, were already in custody at the Shelby County Detention Center after being charged for custodial interference. They were arrested in Kansas last week and extradited back to Kentucky. 

Serenity Ann McKinney’s official cause of death has not been revealed.

Serenity Ann McKinney’s official cause of death has not been revealed. (Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

Once the body was discovered, McKinney and Hill were charged with murder and abuse of a corpse by Kentucky State Police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. 

The Bullitt County Coroner’s Office transported the girl’s body to the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville for an autopsy scheduled for Saturday morning. Results remain pending. 

On Feb. 3, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office revealed that concerned family members contacted authorities after not seeing McKinney in over a year. They reported last seeing McKinney alive on Dec. 24, 2020. 

Catherine McKinney and Dakota Hill

Catherine McKinney and Dakota Hill (Shelby County Detention Center )

Her parents were refusing to cooperate, according to the sheriff’s office, and the girl’s last location was unknown at the time but believed to be possibly in the Shelby, Jefferson, Bullitt county area.

Kentucky State Police said they were contacted by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 2 requesting assistance with an investigation of a missing person case of a 4-year-old girl who had last been seen in December 2020. The case remains under investigation by Kentucky State Police Post 4 detectives. 


Other agencies that assisted with the investigation include U.S. Secret Service, Louisville Metro Police Department, Bullitt County Sheriff’s Office, Radcliff Police Department, Radcliff Fire Department, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Jefferson County Search Dog Association.