Audrii Cunningham's cause of death revealed in autopsy body found in river - Hindustan Times
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Audrii Cunningham's cause of death revealed in autopsy after 11-year-old's body found in river

ByAditi Srivastava
Feb 23, 2024 06:30 AM IST

11-year-old Audrii Cunningham died of blunt head trauma, family friend charged with first-degree murder

Authorities have confirmed that 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who went missing in Texas and was later found dead in the Trinity River five days after her disappearance, died as a result of blunt head trauma, reports PEOPLE. According to court records filed in Polk County, a family friend of Cunningham's who was accused of killing a Texas girl was earlier charged with capital murder. Now, the official cause of death has been revealed.

Authorities have stressed that all angles are being covered and several suspects questioned in connection to Audrii Cunningham’s disappearance (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
Authorities have stressed that all angles are being covered and several suspects questioned in connection to Audrii Cunningham’s disappearance (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Also read: Missing Texas girl Audrii Cunningham found dead in river, suspect could face capital murder charges

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Audrii Cunningham’s cause of death

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has classified Audrii Cunningham's death as "homicidal violence," confirming it as a homicide, according to PEOPLE. Audrii, who failed to attend school in Livingston, Texas, on February 15, was reported missing at that time, authorities stated. On Tuesday afternoon, February 20, five days after the initial filing, investigators discovered her body near the US Highway 59 bridge in Livingston, found in the Trinity River.

The institute officials declined to comment on any additional injuries when questioned. However, authorities have announced that Don Steven McDougal, aged 42, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with her death.

Who is Don Steven McDougal?

In a charging document reviewed by PEOPLE, authorities claim they found Audrii’s body tied to a “large rock” with a rope that was “consistent” with rope found in the suspect's car days earlier. McDougal has been revealed as a friend of Cunningham's father. Sometimes he took care of driving the eleven-year-old to school; otherwise, he stayed in a trailer behind the house. On separate charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, he was taken into custody last week.

Also read: Audrii Cunningham death: Family friend Don Steven McDougal charged with capital murder after Texas girl's body found

According to a legal document, authorities claim that they found Audrii's body tied to a "large rock" with a rope that matched the one found in the suspect's car days earlier. “The rope used was consistent with rope that was observed in McDougal’s vehicle on a traffic stop two days prior.”

Next, it was revealed that the suspect has a criminal past that dates back to the early 2000s. He had already been charged with a number of offenses, such as enticing a minor in Brazoria County in 2008, hitting a relative, and evading capture in Liberty County, among others.

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