Tragic Update After 11-Year-Old Girl Goes Missing On Her Way to School

In a tragic turn of events, Audrii Cunningham, the missing 11-year-old girl from Texas, was discovered lifeless on Tuesday afternoon. Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons, in a somber Tuesday press conference, confirmed that Audrii’s body was found in the Trinity River near the US Highway 59 bridge in Livingston.

Sheriff Lyons, visibly affected by the grim discovery, pledged to relentlessly process the evidence gathered to ensure justice for Audrii. Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton revealed that arrest warrants are being prepared for Don Steven McDougal, 42, in connection with Audrii’s disappearance, with the potential for capital murder charges.
McDougal’s arrest on Friday, on unrelated charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, raised suspicions as investigators sought his cooperation in Audrii’s disappearance. Lt. Craig Cummings, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety in Southeast Texas, emphasized that McDougal, who was likely the last person to see Audrii, had been given several opportunities to cooperate.

During a Monday press conference, Sheriff Lyons expressed concern about public speculation, urging people not to hastily draw conclusions. The 11-year-old should have boarded her school bus on the morning of Feb. 15 but never made it, prompting a series of investigations that led to this tragic discovery.
McDougal, residing in a camper behind Audrii’s residence, was known to occasionally take her to the bus stop or even to school when she missed the bus, as revealed by Audrii’s mother, Cassie Matthews, in an interview with FOX 26 Houston.

Efforts are underway to piece together McDougal’s movements on the critical morning of Feb. 15, with Lyons revealing that McDougal has agreed to show investigators certain locations after his arrest.

The gravity of the situation prompted a statewide Amber Alert on Feb. 16, intensifying the search for Audrii. Lyons later acknowledged the likelihood that a backpack found in a wooded area near the Livingston Dam belonged to the young girl, adding another layer to the ongoing investigation.

McDougal’s extensive criminal history, spanning back to the early 2000s, includes charges ranging from child enticement to assault of a family member and evading arrest. As investigators delve into his past, they appeal to the public to submit any video footage of FM 3126 in Polk County between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Feb. 15, hoping to glean crucial insights into the unfolding tragedy.
The community mourns the loss of Audrii Cunningham, and as authorities delve deeper into the investigation, they seek support from the public to unravel the circumstances surrounding this heartbreaking incident.

Sources: Fox News

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