Investigation ongoing for Khaleesi Cuthriell

Photo of Khaleesi Cuthriell at the candlelight vigil in Sept. (WHSV)
Photo of Khaleesi Cuthriell at the candlelight vigil in Sept. (WHSV)(WHSV)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 5:39 PM EDT
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VERONA, Va. (WHSV) - Since September, community members and investigators have talked about a local three-year-old who went missing months before her disappearance was reported.

According to the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), Khaleesi Cuthriell was last seen in January 2021, and she was reported missing in September 2021.

Eight months since that report, there’s still no update. There’s been little information released to the public since the investigation began.

The community continues to ask: Where could she be?

Khaleesi was in the care of Candi Royer, of Waynesboro, when she was last seen in early 2021. Royer was reported missing in early September, and when Amanda Arey, Khaleesi’s mother, learned Royer was missing, she had questions about where her daughter was.

Arey was at Middle River Regional Jail in September, and she brought Royer’s disappearance up to guards. After a conversation with ACSO deputies, the investigation began.

Not long after that report, on September 21, investigators announced they believe Khaleesi is dead. Still, many in the community continue to talk about the case, demanding justice for the child.

Erin Landes didn’t know Khaleesi, but when she heard her story, she couldn’t forget it. She’s part of a group in the area hosting vigils and events to honor the child, and there have been some talks of forming a search party. She said she still hopes someone will come forward with information.

“I feel like as a community, like, as a whole, we’ve all failed her. I feel like there are people, community members out there that maybe possibly do know what happened to her or where she could be, but they’re too scared to come forward,” Landes said.

WHSV reached out to ACSO to get an update on the investigation, but Sheriff Donald Smith said he won’t discuss the case publicly. Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin said in a statement to WHSV he asked investigators not to make public comment, “out of concern that it could impede my ability to hold the perpetrators responsible.”

Martin said he understands the curiosity in the case, but he’s chosen to keep all matters quiet.

“The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office has worked tirelessly since they became aware that Khaleesi was missing. They have involved other agencies including the Virginia State Police, Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They have utilized every resource imaginable to bring this case to a conclusion,” Martin said in the statement.

Royer is scheduled for court on May 17 for the abuse of a child resulting in serious injury, according to Virginia Court Case Information online. The charge is listed as a violation of code section 18.2-371.1, and it is listed as a class four felony.

Travis Brown, Royer’s boyfriend, also had custody of the child but doesn’t have any charges directly related to Khaleesi’s disappearance listed online. He’ll be in court May 23 for various violations of probation charges.

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