Body of missing 11-year-old girl, Audrii Cunningham, found in Trinity River

Authorities are issuing capital murder warrant for the person of interest, who has been arrested in Audrii Cunningham's case

By Web Desk
February 21, 2024
Audrii Cunningham.Polk County Sheriff's Office

LIVINGSTON: The lifeless body of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham has been discovered in the Trinity River near US 59 on Tuesday.

The development comes after an extensive search for her and an AMBER Alert issued on February 15.


Audrii Cunningham was expected to catch her school bus at a neighbourhood stop however, she failed to board, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. In a police investigation, the school officials also confirmed her absence.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation to locate the girl, when they uncovered the unsettling connection to 42-year-old Don Steven McDougal.

McDougal was arrested on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault on February 16, according to the police officials. He emerged as a person of interest as witnesses linked his dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban to the case.

Police said the suspect lived in a camper behind Audrii Cunningham's family home. He occasionally helped her by providing transportation to the bus stop or school in case she missed it.

Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton revealed that authorities are preparing a capital murder warrant for McDougal.

The cause of Audrii Cunningham's death has not been undisclosed. The authorities have dispatched her body for examination by the Harris County Medical Examiner.