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Audrii Cunningham Murder: Previous Victim Emotionally Describes What Suspect Did To Her When She Was 10 Years Old

Audrii Cunningham Murder: Previous Victim Of Suspect Emotionally Describes What He Did When She Was 10 Years Old

We continue to learn more disturbing details about the man suspected of killing Audrii Cunningham.

As we’ve reported, Don Steven McDougal has been charged with capital murder in connection to the death of the 11-year-old. Audrii was reported missing on February 15 after she never made it to her bus stop or school that day. McDougal — a friend of her father who lived in a trailer behind the Cunninghams — sometimes watched the child and even brought her to her bus stop that day. On the day of her disappearance, he had been the last person to see her alive, quickly making him a person of interest in the case.

When the 42-year-old was arrested on unrelated charges, his statements, along with phone records and surveillance footage, led police to find Audrii’s body in Trinity River. Her remains had been tied to a rock with a rope at the bottom. According to the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, she died of “homicidal violence including blunt head trauma.” So, so awful. As we mentioned, McDougal has since been charged with her murder.

Related: Lawyer Says Convicting Accused Audrii Cunningham Killer Could Be Tricky

The other things is, this isn’t the first time the suspect has been in some serious trouble with the law. Audrii isn’t even his first alleged underage victim — he was charged with enticing a minor several years ago. Yeah, you read that right. McDougal was allowed to be alone with Audrii — despite him previously being charged with enticing a minor. And, you know, looking like that.

Don Steven McDougal Charged With Murder
(c) Polk County Sheriff’s Office

And now, the victim in that incident is speaking out about the horrors she experienced.

Carissa Davis explained to ABC 13 she was 10 years old in March 2007 when McDougal attended a family gathering at her uncle’s home in Brazoria County, Texas. His sisters had been friends of her family and brought him along for the event. But that evening quickly became a nightmare, Carissa says, when McDougal assaulted her. She recalled to the outlet:

“He came into the room that me and my cousin were sleeping in.”

Carissa said McDougal pulled her cousin out of the bed and then got in with her before trying to take off her pants:

“(He) tried to take down my pants, and I immediately jumped up at that moment. I remember looking at him. I was like, ‘Do you know how old I am?’”

When Carissa ran to the door, she remembered he went after her and “grabbed” her. But she wasn’t going down without a fight. She recalls she “swung my arm” and “hit him.” McDougal continued to chase after her. But thankfully, Carissa was able to alert her aunt to what was happening before he could get to her again. This poor girl.

After 17 years, Carissa eventually saw McDougal again — when a picture of him appeared in connection to Audrii’s disappearance. She immediately recognized him, even all these years later. Now, she cannot help but wonder what could have happened if she had not escaped him that night. Breaking down in tears, she said:

“Everybody was still asleep. I mean, my uncle’s backyard was the woods. I mean, it could have been me.”

Following the attack, KHOU 11 reported about McDougal’s conviction in connection with the incident. He pleaded no contest to two counts — and was sentenced to only two years in prison. Infuriatingly, McDougal was not even required to register as a sex offender! Looking back, Carissa feels he should have been in jail for longer. And in the wake of Audrii’s murder, she believes the county “failed” all of his victims:

“I think Brazoria County definitely failed me and failed Audrii and possibly more.”

Our hearts break for Carissa and Audrii. It’s horrific what happened to them. You can watch the emotional interview (below):

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and would like to learn more about resources, consider checking out

If you have sincere cause to suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to

[Image via ABC7/YouTube, Polk County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook]

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Feb 24, 2024 07:15am PDT