TX: ‘The system failed us:’ Audrii Cunningham’s father, grandmother release statement following her death

Source: click2houston.com 2/24/24

LIVINGSTON, Texas – The father of Audrii Cunningham along with her grandmother have released a statement after her body was found in the Trinity River on Tuesday.

The Livingston girl was at the center of an Amber Alert and had been missing for six days. Her body was found on Tuesday after multiple days of searching.

Saturday, her father and grandmother released a statement, saying they are devastated by what happened to Audrii and also saying the suspect in her murder, Don Steven McDougal, did not show up in the sex offender registration system when they looked him up before allowing him to stay on their property.

“The Munsch and Cunningham families are devastated and grieving for what happened to our little ray of sunshine, Audrii. We are being attacked and criticized on social media platforms for showing compassion and mercy to this formerly incarcerated person, but our interactions with this person were a result of our faith, which teaches us to give our fellow man a second chance,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, the system failed us due to a loophole in the sex offender registration system. Don Steven McDougal had a history of disrespect for young female children, but it did not show up when we checked the registry before allowing him to stay in an old camper in our back yard while he tried to start a new life. Had we been aware of what we know now, this man would never have set foot on our property, much less been a part of our little girl’s life.”

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😒 Well, I guess it’s time for another namesake piece of legislation. 🙄
Crime Stoppers leader pushes to change sex offender registry laws after Audrii Cunningham’s death

🤔 The truth about “missing children”:🧐
USA TODAY: Why missing Texas girl Audrii Cunningham’s case is one of the rarest

It’s already starting. Change.org has a petition going around to get justice for Audrii Cunningham by making it harder to plea to the non-registrable offense of “enticing a child” They want legislators, thru changing it’s definition, to make it a high bar to reach. So then defendants get pushed into other sex charges that require registration in Texas. On a side note, this little white girl’s story is now plastered on the front page of media outlets like CNN. This would never happen for a little black girl kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered in the hood. The Doc is just keeping it real

The family of the girl possibly killed by a man with a sex-related prior conviction is blaming a “registry loophole” for the death, claiming that they checked the registry and felt he was safe because he wasn’t on it. If it weren’t such a sad case I’d laugh—this man has a swastika tattoo prominently displayed in literally every photo I’ve seen of him—a tattoo it would be easy to cover if he regretted it, because it would just involve wearing a normal shirt! This is what we are up against—utterly dysfunctional families blaming the state for their own sad failures. If you look at the comments though, you won’t see anyone taking the family’s side—letting a clearly deranged man babysit your kids is apparently something that irks people even more than a “registry loophole.”

Toxic blame-shifting just to off-set their guilt and to clear their conscience. Then claim the “system failed them.” This is just typical knee-jerk, reactionary ignorance.

Why do they always do that??

Truthfully, the family saying they checked the registry first seems like a lie to me. My instinct says they are in damage control mode, trying to keep the public’s ire from being directed at them.

First, my heart goes out to the family. I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child to murder.
I think it was good of them to try to help this guy get his life back together by offering him a place to stay, even though they knew he had been in prison. But it saddens me that they would never had tried to help him if he were on the registry. Its just more hatred towards registrants and not wanting anything to do with us or offering us a chance.
Unfortunately, the rest of us who are doing no wrong will end up paying for what this POS did to the little girl. More legislation to make it even harder on us who have already been on the registry for years.
But this unfortunate ending just proves what we already know; that [People Forced to Register] are not the ones people should shun and be afraid of.

Registry loophole, you left your little girl with A grown man high on meth, the dude wasn’t even a family member. The registry played a big part into what happened to this little girl, the registry gave these people a false sense of safety from the bad people out there who prey on children, when all along the horrific monster was right under their noses.
Because of this more legislation will be past and life for people on the registry in Texas will be even harder then what it is now.

Last edited 1 month ago by AERO1

My first reaction is that if a purported sex crime against a child was pled down to a non-registerable offense, the case couldn’t have been that strong to begin with. More so if whatever he pled guilty to was sentenced to time served or probation. Willing to bet it was one of those “sign now and get out of jail today” things. And all that assumes whatever he was originally accused of was even a sex crime in the first place – “a history of disrespect for young female children” doesn’t have a direct sexual element to it and sounds like a real strain to imply it does.

Second, I doubt the registry was checked as claimed. Maybe it’s a CYA move to cover their own parental incompetence, but I think it more likely made up by an ambulance-chasing trial lawyer. But even so, they knew he was a convicted felon (the sheriff reported he was a friend of the father in another story) and probably knew (or could have known) what he was convicted for and the circumstances around it (sexual misconduct with a 17 year old, the age of consent in Texas). One story claimed he was convicted for enticing a child, but I found no such statute in the current or previous Texas statutes.

Third, nowhere in this or another other related story is there one single report, claim, or indication of any sexual assault or misconduct by the accused on the victim. As if this girl’s death weren’t horrifying enough, the implication that the sex offense registry could have prevented it is simply absurd. Exactly how could the sex offense registry predict murder?

Last edited 1 month ago by Dustin

Meth, prison, Hitler tattoos, what could go wrong?
If the parents knew he was incarcerated, you’d think they ask him what he was in for for? It probably wouldn’t matter, because that creature would probably lie to their face and tell them he robbed a bank, instead of enticing a child. Sadly these Texas lawmakers don’t see it as a person on the registry didn’t commit this crime; they see it as we need to expand the definition of a registered [person]. Then next time we can say a person on the registry committed this crime

They say their faith teaches them to believe in second chances, however they want to use the tragic murder of their loved one to punish others that had nothing to do with her not being here.