JUST days before police found the body of missing four-year-old Serenity McKinney, her dad received cryptic texts claiming his daughter was "in a suitcase."
"I know someone who knows where your daughter is," a woman texted Dave Justice at 2:37am Wednesday.
His daughter Serenity McKinney hasn't been seen or heard from since Christmas 2020.
Late Friday, her body was found in a wooded area in Bullitt County, Kentucky, which is about an hour outside of Shelby County where Serenity was reported missing in January.
Her biological mother Catherine "Abby" McKinney cut ties with her family in 2021 and has been with her boyfriend Dakota Hill.
Both McKinney and Hill were charged with murder and abuse of a corpse on Saturday, according to jail records.
Justice spoke to The Sun Friday night about the message exchange and said, "I just want my baby girl home."
At the time, he didn't know police had found his daughter's body.
"It was the worst thing anyone could possibly hear in my shoes," Justice said. "She messaged me again 12 hours later still harassing me.
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"I think it is an account being used kind of as like a patsy for the real person, but I cant say who it is for sure, but I believe she knows who has her."
He said he never met this woman. The only previous contact he had with her was in January because she had one of Justice's friend's phone.
Justice reported the strange interaction to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, which has been leading the investigation.
A body matching the description of Serenity was found in a wooded area near the Jefferson County-Bullitt County line.
Trooper Sharp said the find was down to 'good old fashioned police work, using technology and collaboration with state police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.'
Serenity's biological mother, Catherine "Abby" McKinney, and the mother's boyfriend, Dakota Hill, have been charged with murder and abuse of a corpse, officials confirmed to The Sun.
Kentucky state trooper Scotty Sharp told The Sun: 'Generally, abuse of a corpse is when a body was moved or hidden or tampered with but we can't go into specifics on this case.'
SERENITY'S FUGITIVE MOM AND BOYFRIEND
Serenity was last seen with her biological mother Catherine "Abby" McKinney and her boyfriend Dakota Hill before she disappeared.
They cut ties with her family by blocking them on social media and changing phone numbers, which Serenity's grandmothers said was "abnormal behavior."
After a year of angst, the little girl was reported missing in January.
McKinney and Hill were "uncooperative" when questioned by police, and then they fled the state after warrants were issued for their arrest.
They were tracked down to Thomas County, Kansas and ultimately taken into custody.
But Serenity wasn't with them, and remains missing.
Shelby County Sherrif's Office "learned of reports of suspected abuse and neglect by the defendant and co-defendant," according to the arrest warrants obtained by The Sun through an open records request.
"An emergency custody order was served on the defendant, and she refused to produce the child or the location for the child. According to the order, the child is to be placed into state custody pending the investigation."
REASON FOR CONCERN
Serenity's grandparents said they're also concerned for McKinney, who had "black eyes and a swollen face" in July 2021, friends said.
She and Hill lived with Keahna Paige Green and her boyfriend from July 2021 to September 2021, but Serenity wasn't with them, Green said in a previous interview.
Hill, who knew Green's boyfriend from playing Xbox, said he and McKinney were homeless and asked to stay with them in their Kentucky home.
"When they came in, I saw she had two black eyes and a swollen face. I thought he did something to her, but she was adamant that Dakota didn't do anything," Green said.
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