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A Texas girl allegedly killed by a family friend is remembered as 'precious' during funeral service

People gather on the lawn with glow sticks to send off Audrii Cunningham following a public visitation Friday, March 1, 2024, at First Baptist Church in Livingston, Texas. Audrii's body was found on the banks of the Trinity River, Feb. 20. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP) People gather on the lawn with glow sticks to send off Audrii Cunningham following a public visitation Friday, March 1, 2024, at First Baptist Church in Livingston, Texas. Audrii's body was found on the banks of the Trinity River, Feb. 20. (Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle via AP)
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An 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, Texas.

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 a river near Houston.

McDougal has been 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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