Day 5 of search for missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham from Livingston: What we know

The body of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham was found Tuesday, according to multiple news outlets.

Audrii had been missing for nearly a week after she left to go catch the school bus in her hometown of Livingston. Texas Department of Public Safety officials searched extensively, providing updates on a backpack found that was believed to have been Audrii’s and arresting a person of interest in the case.

Here’s what we know:

Body of Audrii Cunningham found

Audrii’s body was found in Trinity River on Tuesday, according to KPRC 2.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons and District Attorney Shelly Sitton will provide significant updates at a news conference at 4 p.m. local time, according to a post on X.

When did Audrii Cunningham go missing?

Audrii went missing at approximately 6:45 Thursday morning when she did not get on the school bus on FM 3126.

Audrii’s home is near bodies of water, most notably Lake Livingston. Lyons explained that areas with water were among the first places the DPS and volunteers searched. Officials feel Audrii’s disappearance did not involve these areas.

Also read:Texas Amber Alert issued for 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham from Livingston

How can the public help?

DPS officials are asking for any video taken of FM 3126, with the highway in view, on Thursday, Feb. 15, between 6:30 and 8 a.m. local time.

Officers also urge the public to stay away from Scenic Loop FM 3277 unless they have a reasonable need to be there.

Following a public search, a 2003 dark blue Chevrolet Suburban belonging to Don Steve McDougal is now in police custody.

Who is Don Steve McDougal?

McDougal, 42, has been identified as the main person of interest in the case. He was arrested Friday on an unrelated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge and booked into the Polk County Jail late that night. McDougal is believed to be the last person to see Audrii.

McDougal lives in a camper behind the home of Audrii and her family. Audrii’s family and McDougal have a relationship, and McDougal occasionally took Audrii to the bus stop and drove her to school when she missed the bus.

Texas Amber Alert:11-year-old Audrii Cunningham still missing, person of interest arrested

In 2008, McDougal was convicted of enticing a child in another county, KBTX reports. According to local authorities, this did not require him to register as a sex offender in Polk County.

“Investigators have given McDougal, who was arrested Friday on an unrelated charge, several opportunities to cooperate,” Lt. Bruce Cummings with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Monday. “And we remain hopeful that he will begin helping in this case.”

While McDougal has not confessed to anything, he admitted to leaving the house with Audrii on the morning of her disappearance. Officers said he has also taken them to multiple locations that may be related. For the sake of the investigation, those locations are not being disclosed to the public.

Lyons stated that while McDougal has been cooperating by speaking to officials and occasionally taking them to locations of interest, he “uses the word ‘cooperate’ lightly.”

Although McDougal is currently the main person of interest in this case, law enforcement is also looking into other suspects that may be involved.

What charges have been filed?

Lyons explained no specific charges are being filed at this time. Instead, charges would be presented after adequate evidence has been found.

Law enforcement does believe they are pursuing a criminal investigation. When asked about Audrii’s safety, Lyons remained cautiously optimistic.

“I’m hoping and praying that she’s still alive. I am not giving up hope that we’ll be able to bring Audrii home,” Lyons stated during Monday’s press conference. “So yes, I am hoping that she’s still alive. And we’re going to work just as hard, to make sure we do everything that we can, to try to bring her home.”

In addition to the information provided by McDougal, law enforcement is using a variety of sources to piece together a timeline for his movements.

“We are working with every tool made available to us,” Lyons said. “Whether it be cell phones, whether it be video — which has been an awesome tool for us — we have been using every tool made available to us, to try to piece together a picture of where [McDougal] may have gone.”

$10,000 reward offered for information

Law enforcement has increased the reward to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person responsible for Audrii’s disappearance.

Where is Livingston, Texas?

Livingston is about 74 miles northeast of Houston in Polk County.