11-Year-Old Girl Found Dead from Blunt Force Injuries

(DailyVantage.com) – Texas authorities discovered an 11-year-old girl’s body in a river approximately one week after she disappeared, and medical examiners believe she died from injuries resulting from a blunt instrument. Ruling out a potential death by misadventure, medical examiners confirmed the 11-year-old girl died from someone else violently attacking her. The determination came after an autopsy, and an investigation into the girl’s death is ongoing.

Audrii Cunningham, the young girl, disappeared in Texas after she didn’t get on her school bus. Authorities quickly released an Amber Alert to notify the community, but searches for the missing child didn’t yield any leads or evidence of her whereabouts. According to police, Cunningham’s body had a rock tied to it and several injuries matching a rope found in a nearby man’s car. The man in question is 42-year-old Don Steven McDougal, a local man who lived behind Cunningham’s home on her family’s private property.

Police claim McDougal regularly took Cunningham to her bus stop and school on occasions when she needed assistance. Despite McDougal helping the child in prior incidents, authorities claim the 42-year-old likely killed Cunningham or knew about the circumstances leading to her death. Police cited McDougal’s criminal record, which includes child abuse-related charges, and a rope found in his vehicle two days before Cunningham disappeared. When discussing the evidence suggesting McDougal’s involvement in Cunningham’s death, police referred to cell phone data, which connected McDougal and Cunningham in multiple spots.

Authorities tied McDougal to the location where police found Cunningham and another area where Cunningham was present. Prosecutors also cited McDougal’s lengthy criminal history, which began over two decades ago. McDougal is a suspect in a large number of criminal offenses but hasn’t officially been charged. McDougal admitted to seeing Cunningham the day she disappeared but didn’t provide an explanation for how she disappeared.

Prosecutors charged McDougal with capital murder for Cunningham’s death and aggravated assault in an unrelated case. Authorities are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Cunningham’s death and McDougal’s involvement in the young girl’s disappearance. If a jury convicts McDougal of capital murder, a judge could sentence McDougal to death.

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