Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Body of Texas 11-year-old girl who vanished from bus stop found

Authorities said they believe ‘the appropriate arrest warrant is for capital murder’ for Don Steven McDougal

Kelly Rissman
Tuesday 20 February 2024 23:03 GMT
Audrii Cunningham: Livingston community mourns

The body of Texas 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who was last seen on her way to school, was found in the Trinity River, authorities said.

Cunningham was last seen 15 February around 7am when she was allegedly heading for her school bus stop, but school officials told police that she was never picked up and that she never arrived at school.

“Audrii’s body was located at the Trinity River under US Highway 59,” Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Audrii Cunningham disappeared on her way to school (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities are preparing arrest warrants for Don Steven McDougal. The office believes “the appropriate arrest warrant is for capital murder,” said Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton.

Mr McDougal, 42, was arrested Friday in Polk County — and is still in jail — on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault.

Mr McDougal is a friend of the girl’s father, and resides in a trailer on behind family’s home, ABC13 reported.

Don Steven McDougal (Texas Department of Public Safety - Southeast Texas Region)

He had previously been identified as a person of interest in Cunningham’s disappearance.

Last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety said they recovered a small backpack that likely belonged to the young child near Lake Livingston Dam.

Authorities said her body is with the medical examiner’s office to determine her cause of death.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in