Update: Missing Texas 11-year-old girl Audrii Cunningham's Body Found in the River
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Audrii Cunningham’s Body Found in the River

On Feb. 20, 2024, divers found the body of the missing Texas girl, Audrii Cunningham, in a local river. The 11-year-old had been missing since last week for a total of five days. Authorities have stated that they will be filing a murder charge against a family friend who lived on their property.

On Tuesday afternoon, Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons noted that Audrii Cunningham’s body was found during a search in the Trinity River in a rural area north of Houston. The missing 11-year-old’s body was found about 10 miles away from her home. The sheriff exclaimed, “My heart aches with this news” (via Associated Press).

Audrii Cunningham had been missing since Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. She failed to return home after school, alerting her family and prompting them to report her missing. Investigators later discovered that she never got to the school bus that morning (via USA Today).

The suspect has been identified as Don Steven McDougal, a friend of Audrii Cunningham’s dad. He was supposed to have dropped the 11-year-old off at the school bus. He is currently being held at the Polk County jail for another felony that is unrelated to the missing girl case. Moreover, USA Today reported that they couldn’t find any attorney listed for him.

Everything we know about how the police found Audrii Cunningham

Prior to the search that eventually led to the police discovering the missing Audrii Cunningham’s body, a backpack that is believed to be hers was traced back to the area. The backpack was found back on Friday. When people last saw her, she carried a red Hello Kitty backpack (via BBC).

Her backpack was found near a dam at Lake Livingston, one of the largest lakes in the state. Byron Lyons noted that investigators could zero in on her location using cellphone records, information they received from McDougal, and some videos.

The Harris County Medical Examiner is examining Audrii Cunningham’s body. The cause of death is yet to be revealed by the police. The 11-year-old’s mom has also shared a statement through a family friend, exclaiming, “The tragic and horrific way in which Audrii was taken from us has left a void that can never be filled” (via The Mirror).

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