Audrii Cunningham autopsy reveals cause of death

A cause of death has been released for 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, whose body was found in the Trinity River five days after she went missing. The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office reports that she died of blunt head trauma, which was caused by homicidal violence.

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Don Steven McDougal, 42, has been charged with capital murder in connection with her death and has been denied bond, according to jail records.

MORE ABOUT THE SUSPECT: Criminal history of man facing charges in Audrii Cunningham's death

An Amber Alert  was issued for Cunningham after she failed to board the school bus on Thursday morning and did not attend school.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Missing 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham found dead in Trinity River

McDougal, considered a person of interest since Saturday, was taken into custody on Friday for an unrelated aggravated assault charge. He was known to the family, residing in a camper behind Cunningham's residence.

During a press briefing on Monday, Sheriff Byron Lyons revealed that McDougal admitted to leaving with Cunningham on Thursday morning but did not confirm if she reached the bus stop. McDougal is believed to be the last person to have seen her.


Following Cunningham's disappearance, extensive search efforts were launched near Lake Livingston and the Trinity River.

OVERVIEW: Timeline of Audrii Cunningham's disappearance

Tragically, on Tuesday, authorities located Cunningham's body in the Trinity River along US-59 near Livingston. McDougal's cellphone data, collected videos, and information aided in the discovery.

Based on the evidence, McDougal will face a capital murder charge, making him eligible for the death penalty. McDougal has a criminal history dating back to 2001, with charges ranging from theft to evading, including convictions for enticement of a child in 2008.