Search for three-year-old devastates Valley community

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - The Augusta County community is still processing news from the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night.

Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith says three-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell is presumed to be dead.

“We need to figure out what all went wrong and make sure this never happens again in our community,” Smith said.

Khaleesi hadn’t been seen since February, and community members are asking how the child disappeared.

“This was not the outcome that our community and Augusta County is used to. This is not the outcome that any of us were looking for,” Smith said.

Smith says this case has impacted much of the area.

“This case is by far one of the worst cases that I’ve seen in my career. It has been extremely hard on my investigators that are assigned the case and that are working it. It’s been extremely hard on the family, and it’s been extremely hard on our community,” Smith said.

Smith says their rescue mission has been turned into a recovery mission. He says they determined the girl had died after visiting Candi Royer and Travis Brown’s home earlier this week.

“We were executing a search warrant there because Travis Brown and Candi Royer were living at that residence. Khaleesi was staying there as well. That was the last known location where they were,” Smith said.

Smith says he’s not able to say what evidence made them draw that conclusion as the investigation as active and ongoing.

Investigators say Khaleesi’s mother has been in jail and placed her into care with Royer under a diversionary agreement with social services. WHSV reached out to social services, and they say they can’t discuss specifics because it could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.

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