Frantic Search Underway for Missing 11-Year-Old Texas Girl, Main Person of Interest Now Under Arrest

Frantic Search Underway for Missing 11-Year-Old Texas Girl, Main Person of Interest Now Under Arrest

An 11-year-old girl from Livingston, Texas, was reported missing Thursday after she failed to board her school bus and did not arrive at school.

Local ABC affiliate KTRE 9 reported that Audrii Cunningham is described as white, with blond hair and blue eyes. She’s about 4 feet tall and weighs about 75 pounds.

Authorities have launched a widespread search for the child and are asking anyone with information about her disappearance to come forward and assist in the investigation.

At the time of her disappearance, Audrii was carrying a bright red Hello Kitty-style backpack and was wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, black pants and black high-top tennis shoes.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Audrii was last seen around 7 a.m. on Thursday near her home in the 100 block of Lakeside Drive, in Polk County, Texas.

Lt. Craig Cummings said during a news conference that Crime Stoppers is offering a $7,000 reward for tips that lead to Audrii’s discovery or additional arrests.

He added that tips can be anonymous.

Anyone with information around the case should report tips to the Polk Co. Sheriff’s Office at 936-327-6810 or

An Amber Alert was issued for the 11-year-old on Friday.

ABC 7 reported that 42-year-old Don Steven McDougal is a person of interest and the primary suspect in Audrii’s disappearance.

Authorities say McDougal’s dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban was involved in the case.

McDougal was arrested Friday on unrelated charges.

Lt. Cummings stated during a Friday news conference that McDougal was apprehended that same day on assualt charges unrelated to the girl’s disappearance, and is currently detained at the Polk County Jail.

According to Lt. Cummings, a backpack was found at a dam on the Trinity River that is “consistent with that of a child.” Cummings said they are evaluating the piece of evidence for any connection with Audrii’s disappearance.

Audrii’s mother, Cassie Matthews, said investigators found a backpack near the Lake Livingston Dam, but there are no signs of her daughter.

In a separate case, Steven Robert Sablan, 62, of Cleburne, Texas, was charged in January with kidnapping a 13-year-old girl at gunpoint and repeatedly sexually assaulting her on a road trip before his arrest in Long Beach, California, in July.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said Sablan “had no legal custody or familial relationship to the victim” at the time of the crime.

An affidavit stated that Sablan held a black handgun to his side and threatened the victim, saying, “If you don’t get in the car with me, I am going to hurt you.”

Sablan has a hearing set for Oct. 25 and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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