Body of Missing Texas 11-Year-Old Audrii Cunningham Found in Trinity River

Audrii was reported missing in Livingston, Texas, on Feb. 15 after she didn’t show up for school

<p>Polk County Sheriff

Polk County Sheriff's Office

Audrii Cunningham

Authorities in Texas announced Tuesday that they have located the body of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham five days after she disappeared.

The Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said at a press conference that Audrii's body was found in Trinity River. "My heart aches with this news," he added.

Audrii was reported missing in Livingston, Texas, on Feb. 15 when she didn’t show up for school, police said at the time.

On Feb. 16, Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Don Steven McDougal, 42, on an unrelated assault charge but said he was a person of interest in Audrii’s disappearance.

Polk County District Attorney Shelly Sitton said they are currently preparing an arrest warrant for McDougal, but he has not yet been charged in connection with Audrii's death. Lyons added during the conference that authorities believe there is enough evidence to label Audrii's death a murder.

McDougal has past convictions for enticement of a child, FOX 26, KHOU 11 and Click 2 Houston report, citing court records. It is unclear if McDougal has retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.

<p>Montgomery County Jail</p> Don Steven McDougal

Montgomery County Jail

Don Steven McDougal

Related: Man Previously Convicted of Child Enticement Is Now a Person of Interest in Disappearance of 11-Year-Old Girl

Audrii was last seen near her residence at about 7 a.m. local time in Livingston, the Polk County authorities said in a press release on Feb 16.

“Audrii should have caught the school bus at her neighborhood bus stop; however, school officials reported to the Sheriff’s Office that the school bus did not pick Audrii up, nor did she report to school,” the release reads.

Authorities say they believed a dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban belonging to McDougal was tied to Audrii’s disappearance.

Police also located “a small backpack that likely belonged to a child” near the Lake Livingston Dam, they said on Feb. 17. Audrii was carrying a bright red “Hello Kitty” backpack at the time of her disappearance, but police did not specify anything further about the backpack they recovered.

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Audrii's mother, Cassie Matthews, believes McDougal may be a friend of Audrii's father, per FOX 26.

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