Serenity McKinney’s family host a vigil 1 year after her body was found

A vigil was held to honor Serenity McKinney Saturday one year after her body was found.
Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 11:41 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Saturday was a day full of tears and memories at a vigil to honor four year-old Serenity McKinney.

One year ago Saturday, her body was found inside a suitcase in the woods.

While time has passed, the emotional burden hasn’t gotten any easier to bear.

Serenity McKinney’s family called this past year the hardest year of their lives and a nightmare they just can’t seem to escape.

Thanks to the love of their friends and supporters, they were able to memorialize the four year-old girl they said brought them so much joy.

It’s been 365 days since Serenity McKinney’s body was found, and 786 days since she was last seen by her family on December 24, 2020.

McKinney’s father David Roller said the time hasn’t made the pain any easier to handle.

“I try not to have all these bad thoughts in my head, I try to have the good thoughts,” David said. “But it’s hard not to have the bad thoughts because you realized what happened and I’m just trying to make the good thoughts be dominant you know what I mean.”

Serenity was reported missing on January 31st, 2021.

Her mother Catherine “Abby” McKinney and her boyfriend Dakota Hill were arrested in Kansas on February 8th, 2022 for custodial interference.

Serenity’s body was found 10 days later in the woods close to the Jefferson - Bullitt County line.

Her grandmother Melody Roller, said she’s still trying to come to grips with this tragedy.

“I have learned to forgive more than I did before,” Melody Roller said. “Because I have to at some point forgive Abby and Dakota for what they did.”

Saturday’s vigil was the family’s first time at the spot their little girl was found.

Daivd said he’s been on the road to sobriety since her death and hopes she can see his progress.

“I’m able to help so many people with her story and I know just me staying sober and making her happy and I know she’d be happy looking down on me,” Daivd said. “In return I know I’ll make my family happy and I don’t intend on ever turning back to that.”

As long as he has breathe, David said he will ensure Serenity’s story is never forgotten.

“I’m not just going to let her memory die out like that. It’s not happening,” David said. “If things go like how I have dreams and aspirations for I plan on trying to spread her story throughout the whole United States if I’m able to. And if I’m not able to I’m damn sure going to try.”

Serenity’s mother Catherine McKinney and her boyfriend Dakota Hill have been charged with murder, and abuse of a corpse in Bullitt County.

They could face life in prison if convicted.