'Person of Interest' in Audrii Cunningham’s Disappearance Charged with Murder After Body Found in River

Don Steven McDougal was charged with capital murder by Polk County authorities

<p>Montgomery County Jail; Polk County Sheriff

Montgomery County Jail; Polk County Sheriff's Office

Don Steven McDougal (L); Audrii Cunningham (R)

Authorities in Texas have charged a man with murder in connection with the death of 11-year-old Audrii Cunningham, who disappeared last week on her way to school, according to police.

Don Steven McDougal, 42, was charged with capital murder by Polk County authorities a day after Audrii’s body was found in Trinity River, the Polk County Sheriff's Office confirms with PEOPLE.

Audrii was reported missing in Livingston, Texas, on Feb. 15 when she didn’t show up for school, police said at the time.

On Feb. 16, Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested McDougal, 42, on an unrelated assault charge. At the time, he was considered a person of interest in Audrii’s disappearance.

McDougal has past convictions for enticement of a child, FOX 26, KHOU 11 and Click 2 Houston report, citing court records. It is unclear if McDougal has retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.

<p>Polk County Sheriff's Office</p> Audrii Cunningham

Polk County Sheriff's Office

Audrii Cunningham

Related: Body of Missing Texas 11-Year-Old Audrii Cunningham Found in Trinity River

Audrii was last seen near her residence at about 7 a.m. local time in Livingston, the Polk County authorities said in a press release on Feb 16.

“Audrii should have caught the school bus at her neighborhood bus stop; however, school officials reported to the Sheriff’s Office that the school bus did not pick Audrii up, nor did she report to school,” the release reads.

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Authorities say they believed a dark blue 2003 Chevrolet Suburban belonging to McDougal was tied to Audrii’s disappearance.

Police also located “a small backpack that likely belonged to a child” near the Lake Livingston Dam, they said on Feb. 17. Audrii was carrying a bright red “Hello Kitty” backpack at the time of her disappearance, but police did not specify anything further about the backpack they recovered.

Audrii's mother, Cassie Matthews, believes McDougal may be a friend of Audrii's father, per FOX 26.

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