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Breitbart
17 Feb 2024
Bob.Price.Texas


NextImg:Don McDougal Named 'Main Person of Interest' in Disappearance of East Texas Girl

LIVINGSTON, Texas — Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigators named Don Steven McDougal as the “main person of interest” in the disappearance of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham. Audrii went missing early Thursday morning in southern Polk County.

Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Greg Cummings, speaking on behalf of Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons and District Attorney Shelly Sitton, told reporters they have not yet found Audrii, who has been missing since February 15. He confirmed rumors that investigators found a backpack that is consistent with one belonging to Audrii near the Lake Livingston Dam, where search operations were centered on Friday.

Cummings identified 42-year-old Livingston resident Don Steven McDougal as a “main person of interest” in Audrii’s disappearance. He added that McDougal was arrested Friday night on an unrelated aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge.

Don Steven McDougal (Texas Law Enforcement Mugshots)

Breitbart Texas learned from a source familiar with the crime that McDougal allegedly stabbed David Stanley with a knife on August 19, 2023. No bond has been set on the assault charge.

Independent journalist Miguel Benavides from Crockett, Texas, reported seeing McDougal at the U.S. 59 Trinity River Bridge on Saturday afternoon shortly before the press conference. Several witnesses said he was wearing stripes, shorts, and boots and was in shackles. Benavides did not see exactly what McDougal was doing with police as they were asked to leave the area under the bridge.

Breitbart Texas asked Lt. Cummings why McDougal was at the bridge and what he was doing.

“That’s part of our ongoing investigation right now,” Cummings responded. “I don’t want to get into those investigative efforts, but they’re absolutely ongoing.”

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Cummings maintained they are still holding out hope that Audrii may be returned safely to her family but said, “Based on the evidence we’ve got, we understand foul play is a factor as well.”

The spokesman requested the public’s help in reporting information about the whereabouts of McDougal’s blue Chevrolet Suburban on Thursday or Friday before they took him into custody. He announce that Polk County Crime Stoppers is offering a $7,000 reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person responsible for Audrii’s disappearance.

McDougal is reported to be the last person known to be with 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham before she disappeared prior to school on February 15. Sources in Polk County government, not authorized to speak with the media, told Breitbart Texas that McDougal was supposed to drop Audrii off at her school bus stop Wednesday morning. No one ever saw her at the bus stop. She never arrived at the bus stop or her school.

A Texas Ranger interviewed McDougal throughout the day on Friday, the source explained. Later in the day, Polk County investigators arrested McDougal on the unrelated assault charge.

Texas Equusearch join in the effort to find Audrii Cunningham on February 17. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

Texas Equusearch join in the effort to find Audrii Cunningham on February 17. (Bob Price/Breitbart Texas)

Texas EquuSearch arrived on Saturday to bring additional resources and equipment to aid in the search for Audrii. Texas EquuSearch is a non-profit organization specializing in difficult search and recovery operations. Tim Miller founded the group after his own 16-year-old daughter was kidnapped and murdered in 1984. Between 25 and 50 volunteers arrived to assist in the search for Audrii.

Bob Price is the Breitbart Texas-Border team’s associate editor and senior news contributor. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday morning talk show. He also serves as president of Blue Wonder Gun Care Products