Missing Audrii Cunningham found dead from Trinity River, Texas

Web Desk
February 21, 2024

The crime scene to find Audrii Cunningham was declared around US-59 and the Trinity River Bridge

The missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who was found deceasedin the Trinity River, Texas on February 20, 2024. —Polk County Sheriff's Office

Authorities in Texas confirmed Tuesday that the missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham was found deceased in the Trinity River, as officials are in the process of ascertaining the cause of her death.

Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton told journalists Tuesday that Don Steven McDougal is in custody, and will be charged with capital murder in connection with her death.

McDougal lived behind Audrii Cunningham’s home in a trailer in Livingston.

A case will be filed "based on all the evidence," she said.

The crime scene was declared around an area of US-59 and the Trinity River Bridge.

The water levels were lowered to assist the divers in locating the body of the 11-year-old. Officials, however, did not reveal the condition of her body which is currently under medical examination.

Audrii went missing on February 15, Thursday after she could not make it to her school bus, according to officials.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons stated that McDougal admitted that he left the house with Audrii in the morning when she disappeared but he is not revealing what occurred after that.

"We believe there is enough evidence," Lyons.

An ABC13 report noted Tuesday that the suspect was indicted on an attempt of indecency with a child about 17 years ago in Brazoria County, which would have required him to register as a sex offender.

However, he pleaded down to child enticement in 2008. The charge does not require sex offender registration.

ABC13 also revealed that McDougal was seen at a mechanic shop near Highway 59 in Livingston when Audrii went missing.

McDougal agreed to take investigators to several locations, after her disappearance including the Livingston Dam, where officials discovered what they believe to be the girl's wet backpack, Lyons said.

Lyons also said that McDougal has not yet confessed to anything in connection with Audrii's disappearance. He was detained Friday.

"We will continue to process the evidence that has been gathered to ensure the justice for Audrii," Lyons said.


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