Tragic Discovery Body of Missing 11-Year-Old Found, Investigation Points to Person of Interest

by Jessica

Authorities have located and recovered the body of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who had been reported missing last week after she failed to board her school bus. Last seen on February 15 at 7 a.m. near her home on the 100 block of Lakeside Drive, Cunningham was reported missing to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office when she did not arrive at school. She was wearing black pants, a black sweatshirt with white writing, black high-top sneakers, and a “Hello Kitty” backpack.

An Amber Alert was issued on the same day. On February 16, investigators from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested 42-year-old Don Steven McDougal on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault, considering him a person of interest due to a suspected connection between his car and Cunningham’s disappearance. Cunningham’s backpack was reportedly found near the Lake Livingston Dam.

During a press conference on February 19, Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Craig Cummings provided additional details about McDougal, revealing that he resides in a camper behind Cunningham’s home. In 2008, McDougal pleaded guilty in Brazoria County to enticing a child, serving a two-year prison sentence with 527 days of time served. Despite this, McDougal was not required to register as a sex offender.

On February 20, investigators discovered Cunningham’s body in the Trinity River, which had its water levels lowered to facilitate diving into “areas of interest.” Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton stated that an arrest warrant for McDougal on a charge of capital murder is in the process of being drafted. Sheriff Byron Lyons acknowledged that McDougal provided crucial information that assisted investigators in locating Cunningham’s body by identifying key points of interest.

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