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Search continues for missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham

Officials are offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for her disappearance.
Search continues for missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham
Posted at 2:47 PM, Feb 19, 2024

Audrii Cunningham was last spotted near her home on Thursday morning when she was supposed to catch her school bus, but she did not catch the bus and never made it to school.

The 11-year-old was last seen around 7 a.m. on Feb. 15 near her home on Lakeside Drive in the East Texas town of Livingston.

Cunningham is a White girl with blond hair and blue eyes, she's 4-feet-1-inch tall and she weighs 75 pounds, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. When she was last seen, she was wearing black pants, a black hoodie with white lettering and black high-top tennis shoes, and carrying a bright red Hello Kitty backpack.

On Friday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported finding a small backpack near the Lake Livingston Dam, which they believe belonged to the child. 

Over the weekend, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced they had identified Don Steven McDougal, 42, as a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Cunningham. They arrested him on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault. 

While officials have not released details on how McDougal might be connected to the girl’s disappearance, they said Monday that he’s still the “main person of interest, but [police] will not be ruling out anyone else who may be involved,” and that they believe he could be the last person she was with at the time of disappearance. However, officials say he has been cooperating with investigators at this time. 

Officials also stated that McDougal lives in a camper behind the residence where Cunningham lives with her father and grandparents, and that the family does have a relationship with McDougal. 

Additionally, McDougal had a previous conviction for enticing a minor in Brazoria County, Texas, but the Polk County sheriff says he was not mandated to register as a sex offender.

Despite having a person of interest in custody, the Polk County Sheriff's Office continues to seek more information from the public.

On Monday afternoon, Polk County Crime Stoppers raised their reward from $7,000 to $10,000 for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those accountable for her disappearance.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810 or submit an anonymous tip online.

The sheriff's office has label this as an active and ongoing criminal investigation.

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