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Missing Texas girl Audrii Cunningham remembered as "precious, gentle, kind" during memorial service

Funeral services for Audrii Cunningham take place
Funeral services for Audrii Cunningham take place 00:39

LIVINGSTON - The 11-year-old Texas girl who was allegedly killed by a family friend with a history of violence was remembered Saturday during a rosary service at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Livingston.

Audrii Cunningham was a "precious, gentle, kind, loving, smiling, animal lover," said Father Paul Kahan during the service.

Kahan said he has no answers for what happened to the child, and exhorted the more than 100 mourners to remember her.

"Keep her memory alive by making sure that no family will ever go through what we are going through now," Kahan said. "The safety and the well-being of our children is our highest priority."

Prosecutors have said the girl was killed by family friend Don McDougal, who was supposed to take her to a school bus stop when she disappeared Feb. 15. Her body was found Feb. 20 in the Trinity River about 10 miles from her home.

The criminal complaint against McDougal revealed cell phone data and video footage placed him near the area where the young girl's body was found. 

According to the document, the rope used to tie down the 11-year-old was consistent with rope law enforcement say was seen in McDougal's vehicle during a recent traffic stop. 

McDougal was charged with capital murder. His attorney did not return a phone call for comment on Saturday.

Audrii's family and others in the community say they want answers about how McDougal was allowed to remain free despite a long criminal history of violence.

McDougal was accused decades ago of indecency with a child by climbing into another Texas girl's bed and attempting to undress her.

That case was pleaded down to a lesser charge of enticing a minor, allowing him to remain off the state sex offender registry, according to Brazoria County documents.

Last year, McDougal was accused of stabbing a man, but authorities said they didn't have enough evidence at the time to arrest him on a charge of aggravated assault.

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