Tragic update as missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham found dead in river

It is with deep sadness that we report the devastating news of the discovery of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham’s body. After an extensive search that began when she failed to show up for school on February 15, authorities found her in the Trinity River in Livingston, Pole County, Texas.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons, during a press conference, confirmed the tragic find and emphasized that evidence related to Audrii’s case is still being processed. “We will continue to process the evidence that has been gathered to ensure that there is justice for Audrii,” Sheriff Lyons said, promising diligent investigation.

The heart-wrenching update follows the earlier discovery of a backpack near Lake Livingston Dam, which is believed to have similarities to a child’s bag. Audrii’s mother, Cassie Matthews, expressed her anguish, saying, “This is the stuff you see on TV where you can only imagine what the families and the parents are going through. Right now, I am empty.”

A joint search operation, involving multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Ranger Division, Department of Public Safety, Livingston Police Department, Texas State Guard, and local fire departments, was launched. Their collective efforts led to the tragic discovery of Audrii’s body.

In a significant development, Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton announced that her office is preparing arrest warrants for Don Steven McDougal, a 42-year-old man residing near Audrii’s family home. McDougal was already in custody on unrelated charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Lieutenant Craig Cummings from the Texas Department of Public Safety in Southeast Texas explained that McDougal was the last person seen with Audrii and had been given several opportunities to cooperate with the investigation.

According to Fox News, McDougal resides in a camper close to the residence where Audrii lived with her father, grandparents, and other family members. Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton made it clear that they are considering capital murder charges for the person responsible for Audrii’s disappearance.

Our hearts go out to Audrii’s loved ones during this incredibly challenging time. Rest in peace, sweet girl.