Person of interest in custody as search continues for missing 11 yo Texas girl

Freeway Sign advising of a child abduction

Officials in Texas said they have identified a person of interest, but are no closer to finding missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham. Authorities said 42-year-old Don Steven McDougal was arrested Friday night on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault, and has since been named as a person of interest in the disappearance after witnesses tied his dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban to the case. The Texas Department of Public Safety are asking for the public’s help in reporting any sightings of the vehicle on Thursday or Friday, issuing a photo of the SUV on X with the vehicle’s license plate clearly visible in the photo.

Meanwhile, the search for Audrii Cunningham resumed Saturday morning, focusing on an area around Lake Livingston, a reservoir in East Texas north of Houston. Audrii’s mother, Cassie Mathews told reporters “I’m being told that they have possibly found her backpack in this area, but no signs of her.”

According to authorities, Audrii was dropped off at her bus stop in Livingston, Texas, Thursday morning but never made it on board. Her family reported her missing at 5:30 p.m. that day, leading to the Amber Alert. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Audrii was last seen near her home was wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, a camo backpack, black pants and black high-top tennis shoes at approximately 7 a.m., on Friday, in the 100 block of Lakeside Drive, in Polk County. PCSO said she should have caught the school bus at her neighborhood bus stop; however, school officials told the Sheriff’s Office the school bus did not pick Audrii up, nor did she report to school.

Authorities were seen searching in a wooded area near the Lake Livingston dam, but investigators – including the non-profit Texas EquuSearch – are also focusing on other areas of interest besides the lake area, without having publicly identified them.

Editorial credit: F Armstrong Photography /