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Audrii Cunningham cause of death revealed after family friend charged with murder

The cause of death of Audrii Cunningham has now been revealed after the 11-year-old vanished on her way to a bus stop in Texas, before her body was later found in a lake and a family friend was arrested for her murder.

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy report, obtained by ​​KHOU, was released on Thursday, finding that she died from “homicidal violence including blunt head trauma”.

This comes after police announced that the little girl’s body had been found in the Trinity River under US Highway 59.

Audrii was last seen at around 7am on 15 February when she left her home to head for her school bus stop.

School officials told police that she was never picked up and that she never arrived at school that day.

A multi-day search for her then ensued.

Don Steven McDougal, 42, has now been charged with capital murder of a person equal to more than 10 years old but less than 15 years old.

McDougal is believed to be a friend of Audrii’s father and was allowed to live in a trailer behind the family’s house. He was supposed to have taken Cunningham to school that day, authorities said.

Audrii Cunningham (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
Audrii Cunningham (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)
Don Steven McDougal (Polk County Jail)
Don Steven McDougal (Polk County Jail)

Court records from Brazoria County, Texas, show that McDougal was indicted on a charge of attempted indecency with a child nearly 17 years ago. He pleaded guilty to two felony counts of enticing a child stemming from a 2007 incident and was sentenced to two years in prison. The charge did not require him to register as a sex offender.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office clarified on Wednesday that McDougal remains in jail and has been housed in a jail cell by himself since his arrest.

A vigil for the little girl was held on Wednesday, where Audrii’s mother Cassie Matthews called her daughter “perfection,” CNN reported.

“No matter where she went or who she met, she just made them light up,” said Brenda Cedars, Audrii’s aunt, according to the outlet.

“She could always make you laugh, no matter what kind of mood you were in. It just isn’t fair that we all got robbed of that.”