Manhunt on for 11-Year-Old Texas Girl Who Missed School Bus

Polk County Sheriff
Polk County Sheriff

An 11-year-old Texas girl vanished when she should have been on her way to catch a school bus last week—and police are questioning the last person to see her, a man who lived in a camper behind her home.

“I’m hoping and praying that she is still alive,” Polk County Sheriff Byron Lyons said at a press conference Sunday.

Audrii Cunningham went missing around 6:45 a.m. on Thursday morning in Livingston, about an hour from Houston, police believe. She never got on the bus and didn’t show up at school. Her family called police when she didn’t return home.

Don McDougal, 42, was arrested on an unrelated charge. He has a criminal record dating back to 2001 that includes a conviction for enticing a minor, but was not required to register as a sex offender, authorities said.

McDougal had on occasion driven Audrii to the bus stop or to school and told police he had left the home with her on Thursday.

They said he had answered some of their questions—and provided them with information that led them to search certain areas—but stopped short of saying he is cooperating.

“We do feel at this point that he was the last person who [has] seen Audrii,” Lyons said. “Mr. McDougal is a our main person of interest but we are not ruling out anyone else.”

The sheriff said the probe was a “criminal investigation” but that McDougal had not confessed to anything.

Authorities trying to piece together a timeline of his movements appealed for the public to hand over any video they may have taken Thursday between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. on FM 3126 in Livingston. A $10,000 reward is being offered.

In the meantime, they continue to question McDougal. “And we remain hopeful that he will begin helping in this case,” Lt. Craig Cummings of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.

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