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Mother of 11-year-old girl who went missing after being dropped off at a Texas bus stop says she is ‘broken and mad’ – as cops find her backpack near a lake and arrest person of interest, 42,


The mother of an 11-year-old girl from Texas whose daughter went missing on the way to school is pleading for her safe return. 

Audrii Cunningham vanished early on Thursday morning in Livingston, northeast of Houston, after being dropped off at the bus stop by father. 

She has not been seen since leaving her parents are desperate for news of her whereabouts. Don Steven McDougal – who had previously babysat Audrii – was named as a person of interest and was arrested.  

Her mother Cassie Matthews told KPRC: ‘There is not one feeling you feel, it’s a roller coaster, you are broken, you are mad, you are empty and right now I am empty. 

‘She has so many opportunities ahead of her, and she deserves every right to be able to reach those opportunities.

‘We would like to have her come home, it’s not like her to just run off or disappear, she has a lot of loving family, she has so many people that love her and adore her. We have no leads so we are grasping at any string, any signs, anything in general.

Eleven-year-old Audrii Cunningham went missing in Texas on her way to school on Thursday

Eleven-year-old Audrii Cunningham went missing in Texas on her way to school on Thursday

Her vanishing prompted her desperate mother, Cassie Matthews, to plead for her safe return

Her vanishing prompted her desperate mother, Cassie Matthews, to plead for her safe return

Don Steven McDougal, 42, has been arrested on an unrelated charge

Don Steven McDougal, 42, has been arrested on an unrelated charge

Audrii, 11, vanished early on Thursday morning in Livingston, northeast of Houston, after being dropped off at the bus stop and has not been seen since

Audrii, 11, vanished early on Thursday morning in Livingston, northeast of Houston, after being dropped off at the bus stop and has not been seen since

‘I am not going to be the same unless my baby is returned to me and neither is her family, any of us, any of her friends, any of the people that she has been connected to in the community.’ 

Audrii disappeared near her home around 7am on Thursday morning and was supposed to board the school bus, but she never made it to class, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reports. An Amber Alert was issued later that afternoon.

‘Hard is an understatement, this is the stuff you see on TV and you can only imagine what the family and the parents are going through and there’s not words for it,’ Matthew said during a tearful press conference. 

On Saturday afternoon, Texas Department of Safety officials revealed they had found the girl’s backpack near a dam at Lake Livingston. 

A suspect, 42-year-old McDougal has been arrested on an unrelated charge of aggravated assault, but he is also a person of interest in Audrii’s disappearance as he had recently acted as a babysitter for the child.

Police began searching wooded areas near the girl's home as she is a wildlife lover

Police began searching wooded areas near the girl’s home as she is a wildlife lover

'I want to say that we are hopeful that we can bring Audrii home alive and that is what we are absolutely working for right now. Based on the evidence that we've got we understand foul play is a factor as well,' Lieutenant Craig Cummings, pictured, said

‘I want to say that we are hopeful that we can bring Audrii home alive and that is what we are absolutely working for right now. Based on the evidence that we’ve got we understand foul play is a factor as well,’ Lieutenant Craig Cummings, pictured, said

'There is not one feeling you feel, it's a roller coaster, you are broken, you are mad, you are empty and right now I am empty. She has so many opportunities ahead of her, and she deserves every right to be able to reach those opportunities,' mom, Cassie Matthews, said

‘There is not one feeling you feel, it’s a roller coaster, you are broken, you are mad, you are empty and right now I am empty. She has so many opportunities ahead of her, and she deserves every right to be able to reach those opportunities,’ mom, Cassie Matthews, said

Police are now looking for McDougal's 2003 dark blue Chevrolet Suburban that may be linked to the youngster's disappearance, the Texas Department of Public Safety said

Police are now looking for McDougal’s 2003 dark blue Chevrolet Suburban that may be linked to the youngster’s disappearance, the Texas Department of Public Safety said 

Audrii disappeared near her home around 7am on Thursday morning and was supposed to board the school bus, but she never made it to class

Audrii disappeared near her home around 7am on Thursday morning and was supposed to board the school bus, but she never made it to class

On Saturday afternoon, Texas Department of Safety officials revealed they had found the girl's backpack near a dam at Lake Livingston

On Saturday afternoon, Texas Department of Safety officials revealed they had found the girl’s backpack near a dam at Lake Livingston

Audrii, who is is 4'1', has blonde hair and blue eyes, had been wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, black pants, black high-top tennis shoes, when she was last seen by her dad

Audrii, who is is 4’1′, has blonde hair and blue eyes, had been wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, black pants, black high-top tennis shoes, when she was last seen by her dad

‘I want to say that we are hopeful that we can bring Audrii home alive and that is what we are absolutely working for right now. Based on the evidence that we’ve got we understand foul play is a factor as well,’ Lieutenant Craig Cummings said.  

Police are now looking for McDougal’s 2003 dark blue Chevrolet Suburban that may be linked to the youngster’s disappearance, the Texas Department of Public Safety said. 

School officials have said that Audrii was not picked up by the bus and did not attend on Thursday. 

Investigators first began looking in woods close to her home and she is known to be a lover of wildlife. 

Audrii, who is is 4’1′, has blonde hair and blue eyes, had been wearing a black hoodie with white lettering, black pants, black high-top tennis shoes, and a bright red ‘Hello Kitty’ style backpack when she was dropped off at the bus stop by her father Joshua Cunningham. 



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