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Community Mourns as Suspect Charged with Capital Murder in Audrii Cunningham Case

In a tragic turn of events, the disappearance of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham has transitioned into a devastating case of murder. Don Steven McDougal, previously considered a person of interest, now faces charges of capital murder in connection with Audrii’s death.

McDougal’s apprehension comes as a culmination of intense scrutiny, with authorities linking him to the disappearance of the young girl. Already in custody on an unrelated aggravated assault charge, McDougal’s role in Audrii’s case deepened as search crews, aided by the Trinity River Authority’s adjustment of water levels, discovered her lifeless body near US-59 and the Trinity River Bridge.

Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons, visibly shaken, expressed his condolences to Audrii’s family and the community, refraining from disclosing details about the condition of her body pending an autopsy by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

As the news reverberated through the community, Livingston residents gathered at the local VFW Post for a solemn prayer vigil, reflecting on Audrii’s significance to the tight-knit community.

Audrii’s disappearance on Thursday, Feb. 15, sent shockwaves through Livingston, with authorities swiftly identifying McDougal, a friend of Audrii’s father, as a person of interest. McDougal’s proximity to the family, residing in a trailer behind their home, raised suspicions. However, his cooperation with investigators remains limited, as he refused to divulge crucial details about Audrii’s final moments.

The revelation of Audrii’s tragic fate has left the community grappling with grief and disbelief. Elizabeth Kobes, a resident deeply impacted by the loss, expressed the collective sorrow echoing throughout Livingston.

As the investigation unfolds and the legal process progresses, the community stands united in seeking justice for Audrii Cunningham, a bright young life extinguished too soon.