The disappearance of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham just five days ago on February 15 has left her family and authorities deeply concerned.

A massive search effort to locate the missing child has begun. She was last seen near her home in Polk County, Texas, where she vanished on her way to school, failing to board the bus or attend classes.

Described as a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes, Audrii stands approximately 4 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 75 pounds.

Audrii was last seen wearing black pants, a black hoodie with white marks, and black high-top tennis shoes, carrying a bright red “Hello Kitty” backpack, making her easily identifiable.

The search operation – which now involves multiple law enforcement agencies including the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Ranger Division, Department of Public Safety, Livingston Police Department, Texas State Guard, and local fire departments – has been ongoing since her disappearance.

Audrii’s mother, Cassie Matthews, expressed her family‘s distress, speaking about Audrii’s loving nature and the unusual nature of her disappearance. “We would like to have her come home, it’s not like her to just run off or disappear,” she explained. Though, despite extensive searches around her home and favorite spots, including the state park, Audrii remains missing.

Items found

As the investigation intensifies, Livingston resident Don Steven McDougal, 42, has been identified as a person of interest, with investigators suspecting a potential connection to a dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban linked to the case. Additionally, a backpack (allegedly one that looks similar to a child’s) was found near Lake Livingston Dam, prompting focused searches in the area, per CNN.

The emotional toll on Audrii’s family has been unbearable, with Cassie expressing the agony and uncertainty they endure, likening their experience to a nightmare.

“This is the stuff you see on TV where you can only imagine what the families and the parents are going through,” she told Click 2 Houston, adding: “Right now, I am empty.”

Audrii Cunningham. Credit: / Polk County Sheriff’s Office TX, Sheriff Byron Lyons.

The community’s support and law enforcement’s continued efforts offer some solace, but the search for Audrii continues, with no significant updates after three days of intensive searching.

Amidst the anguish, the Polk County Crime Stoppers has offered a $7,000 reward for information leading to Audrii’s safe return. Cassie remains hopeful about her daughter’s safe return, saying: “She has so many opportunities ahead of her, and she deserves every right to be able to reach those opportunities.”

We are sending all our thoughts and prayers out to the Cunningham family at this devastating time.