Amberly Barnett, Christopher Madison: Missing Collinsville, Alabama Girl’s Death Updates & Timeline


Amberly Barnett, Christopher Madison Murder Case: Amberly Barnett, a formerly missing Alabama girl, was found dead in Collinsville. Visibly shaken Dekalb County Sheriff Nick Welden announced during a press conference they had found the 11-year-old’s body at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday. The detective gave no other details regarding how blonde-haired, blue-eyed Amberly Alexis Barnett vanished or how she died, stating they will not answer any questions about the cause of death at this time. But they are pursuing the investigation.

WHNT-19 reported Amberly Barnett vanished Friday evening from her aunt’s mobile home in Collinsville located on County Road 822 in the Mt. Vernon area at around 6 p.m. A witness reported seeing an SUV in a dark color near the time of Amberly Barnett’s disappearance.


This article is an updated version of TV Crime Sky’s original article, which was posted March 3.




As Sheriff Nick Welden attached the microphone to his uniform and held what looked like the Holy Bible under his notepad, he told the crowd he speaks from the heart and that his heart is shattered over the little girl’s death.

“Good evening, this will be another short and brief release this afternoon. Please understand the circumstances when we’re through as to why it will be so. At approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning, the deceased body of 11-year-old Amberly Alexis Barnett was located. Due to the current investigation, we are limited on the information we’re able to release. But I can tell you, we are diligently…diligently pursuing different avenues. And Lord willing we will have answers in the upcoming days. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward during this tragic event. Please understand, my staff and I will not be answering any questions due to the circumstances at hand. [] And I want to say directly from the heart, being in this career and this job, the way we do it, is one hundred percent from the heart. And my heart is shattered this day here in Dekalb County Alabama. But we will move forward, and Good Lord willing we will have those answers needed and deserved. God bless you all.”


Amberly Alexis Barnett: Original Live Updates Timelines As We Found Out What Happened


Alabama Girl Dead Bible-Holding Sheriff’s ‘Heart Shattered’: Background on Amberly Barnett

Sources say Amberly Barnett, also known as Amberly Alexis Pope, was living with her aunt at or near 1945 County Road 822 in Collinsville, Alabama because the house where she once lived was destroyed in a fire. The family was displaced. Amberly Barnett’s biological mother, Joni Luanna Barnett, aka Joni Pope, lives in Cedartown, Georgia and is awaiting the return of her boyfriend.

The plan was to reconnect with her daughter. But she made a fateful decision last weekend, she changed her mind and decided to wait until the end of the school year. Amberly’s biological father, Brian Pope, is said to be in jail. He had custody of his daughter at one time before she was returned to her mother. The Collinsville, Alabama girl was sad in recent months because her dog died, and she was the victim of bullying. Play around with the map below to see the general area where this happened.


Amberly Barnett’s Family 

Joni Barnett (Joni Luanna Pope)—Her mother

K.C. Barnett (KC Marie Barnett)—Her mother’s sister. Amberly’s aunt.

Brian Pope—Amberly’s bio father.

Erica—A relative. Perhaps, she is a cousin. It is believed Amberly lived in her trailer home or K.C. Barnett’s trailer home, which is said to be on the same property. The brother-in-law is allegedly Christopher Madison, who was working on one of the properties when Amberly’s aunt left to go to the store. Upon her return, Amberly was missing. Christopher is supposedly the one who said he saw an SUV. He is now in custody. See note below.

Friday, March 1, 2019: Neighbors notice a strange dark-colored car in the area. (See update below about the SUV)

Evening hours: The aunt leaves the home to run an errand with her live-in boyfriend. Amberly is home alone. The brother-in-law (now confirmed to be Christopher Madison) is at his County Road 822 home next door doing yard work. Around this same time, he claims he sees a strange car in the area.

“Folks between Rosalie & Ider-be on the lookout. A dark-colored 4 door SUV (Possibly Dodge Durango) has been seen in the area acting suspicious. Came to our house looking for Higginbothams but would not state their name when asked, and then backed all the way down the driveway so we couldn’t see the tag. Then we saw the same vehicle down the road stop in the road and back up at the driveway to another house. When they saw us behind them they took off at a high rate of speed. Sure sounds like they are looking for trouble!”

  • Amberly Alexis Barnet’s aunt and boyfriend return to their home in the 1900 block of County Rd 822 in Collinsville/Sandrock, according to her mother. Amberly has disappeared. The little girl is last seen wearing a yellow-striped sleeved blue hoodie with dark denim jeans and white sneakers. She stands 5’1″ and weighs 98 pounds. Amber’s phone is not with her.
  • The Dekalb County Police Department is notified the child is missing.
  • Officers search for the girl all night.
  • Knowing he had already killed Amberly Alexis Barnett, Christopher Madison pretends to search for her in the heavily wooded area directly behind the home in Dekalb County. He tells police, he didn’t find her.
  • Loving relatives pass the word on social media about Amberly Barnett’s disappearance.
  • K.C. Barnett closes her Facebook page.


Saturday, March 2: Joni Barnett’s Facebook post 

My baby girl has now been missing for 15 hours, from Collinsville/sandrock from my sister house. We need all your help for finding her. We have no idea who or where she is at. She had on a blue hoodie with yellow stripes on the sleeves and dark blue skinny jeans with white converse. If any one has any information on who has my baby call 911 and me (304) 703-6950 please don’t call me with wanting to know any updates. I love you all for your help and support but I am flipping out and going insane not know who has or where my little girl is… Me and Josh Hackney has made sure that we show our kids to fight back, Never leave without telling anyone and anyone who knows Amberly, knows she would not have left without telling me or my sister. She’s to scared to get into any trouble. She would never leave her cell phone behind. She will fight if anyone try to do anything to her. She Is the type that gets mad and leave. She will not quit fighting to get back home.”

  • Update: 6:30 a.m., police send dogs to pick up on the 11-year-old missing girl’s scent. They find Amberly Barnett dead. One sock is on one foot. A blue rope is tied around her small neck. A black hair is found on her body, court records confirm.
  • In one section of the woods, a path shows drag marks. A sock is found on the ground.
  • Detectives find a blonde strand of hair on a tree, according to AL.
  • The search is suspended. The Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department holds a press conference. But give few details.
  • A GoFundMe page is started to help raise funds for the family.
  • Friends say family members are receiving harassing comments on Facebook from a profile, claiming to be from Indonesia.
  • Police haven’t named any suspects. The arrest that was made today is said to be unrelated to this case.
  • Police have not used the word murder.
  • Sources from the local community claim Amberly Barnett’s death is a homicide and that her body was found in a backyard. She was allegedly assaulted and doused with acid. This is unconfirmed, pending announcement from the police. Another source says the body was found a mile away from her mobile home.
  • Police allegedly questioned family members, leading to an arrest. Police have not announced or confirmed this yet.

  • Confirmed—A search is conducted at Christopher Madison’s home. As they do a walk-thru, police find blood in a bathroom sink and bloody jeans in the dryer. Blood is also on the walls.
  • In a bedroom, they find blood on a mattress and bedframe. They also make another strange find: in the floor, there is a clamp and a bolt, often used in (bon–age)
  • The backyard holds more clues: a knife with a blue rope piece wrapped around it.
  • Two people were arrested with Collinsville, Alabama addresses. A Krista Crane and  Christopher Madison. Krista Crane was charged with disorderly conduct and released. Thirty-three-year-old Christopher Madison’s charge is not listed. It says HOLD FOR AGENCY, which usually means hold for immigration or another jurisdiction.
  • Update: Police initially arrested Madison for possession of a controlled substance.
  • Public records searches connect Krista Crane, Christopher Madison, and KC Barnett to Collinsville, Alabama with former addresses in Cedar Bluff, Alabama.
  • Christopher Madison and Krista Crane mugshots—still sorting out if these arrests are related to the Amberly Barnett case.
  • In an interview with Christopher Madison’s girlfriend and other relatives, police learn that the blue rope was inside their home a day prior. It is also revealed that Christopher Madison has an interest in (bon–age), consistent with the bolt and clamp found in the floor of the home.
  • During Christopher Madison’s police interrogation, he admits the knife found in the backyard belongs to him.

Sunday, March 3

  • Still no confirmation about the SUV sighting. Some suggest this was completely untrue and could have been sent on social media to throw off the investigation. We’re still waiting to know.
  • Amberly Alexis Barnett’s obituary and funeral arrangements have been released. Check gallery. ***A confusing find. The obituary lists the date of death as of Saturday, March 2, and not Friday, March 1.
  • The autopsy report will be finished by tomorrow, Joni Barnett told CNN in an interview by phone.
  • As of 6:00 p.m., the charges for Christopher Madison have changed to POSS. OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. He has not bonded out and is still in custody. TV Crime Sky will keep checking through the night to see if these charges change or are upgraded.
  •  At 7:23 p.m., Sergeant Meadows tells Traciy Curry-Reyes TV Crime Sky Christopher Madison will not be able to bond out and will “probably have to go to court.” As to whether there are other pending charges against him and if they expect to upgrade charges for him, he said, “not at this time. There is still an ongoing investigation. But for now, this is the charge.” Sergeant Meadows did not discuss the nature of the investigation.

Monday, March 4Update—Confirmed Traciy Curry-Reyes TV Crime Sky was the first to bring you the name Christopher Madison in the mainstream media. A press conference held by the Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department today confirmed that Christopher Wayne Madison, the brother-in-law, is charged with capital murder. Christopher Wayne Madison has a previous harassment arrest record in Cherokee County. According to the female victim, she was assaulted and almost strangled to death by Christopher. She failed to show up to court to pursue the charges. The case was thrown out.

  • Amberly Barnett’s cause of death is listed as strangulation. Her body was found in a wooded area behind the defendant’s home. Alabama detectives are not at liberty to share the rest of the details regarding her death.



Thursday, March 7: A candlelight vigil is held to remember Amberly Alexis Barnett in Centre, Alabama.

Monday, March 18: Christopher Wayne Madison appears in court for a grand jury hearing. Police give provide more details about the crime. (Included in the article)

  • With the capital murder charge against Christopher Wayne Madison, the state of Alabama could ask for the death penalty.

Watch a video of Amberly Barnett and her mom. Here.




[Main image via Facebook/Dekalb County Sheriff]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as and Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.