Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Search Continues for Missing Toddler’s Remains

The search continues for the remains of missing Augusta County 3-year-old Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell (Courtesy of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office)

AUGUSTA COUNTY — The search continues for the remains of missing toddler, Khaleesi Cuthriell.

On Friday, Sept. 10, Virginia State Police (VSP) issued an Endangered Child Alert for Khaleesi, a 3-year-old girl from Augusta County. At that time, it was reported that Khaleesi hadn’t been seen since February 2021, though that was later recanted.

Khaleesi was placed in the care of Candi Jo Royer of Waynesboro in October 2020 via diversionary agreement while her mother, Amanda Ayer, was serving a sentence at Middle River Regional Jail. That same month, family members reported witnessing the little girl in Royer’s care.

At the same time that the Endangered Child Alert was issued, VSP reported Royer to be a missing person, thought to be with her boyfriend, Travis Brown. At that time, Brown was considered a fugitive, wanted on multiple charges to include strangulation as well as assault and battery.

Wanted fugitive Travis Brown was arrested with his girlfriend, Candi Royer, in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell (Courtesy of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office)

On Sunday, Sept. 12, Augusta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) announced that both Royer and Brown were arrested in South Greensburg, Penn. The pair was taken to Westmoreland County (Penn.) Prison, where investigators from the ACSO and the Virginia State Police (VSP) Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Appomattox Field Office made contact with and interviewed Brown and Royer.

With the assistance of the Virginia State Police (VSP) Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the ACSO executed a search warranted on Monday (Sept. 20) at a property located at 249 Cattle Scales Rd. in Augusta County.

The following day, ACSO announced that all investigating parties believed Khaleesi to be dead.

“It is with great sadness that the search for Khaleesi has now turned into a recovery mission,” said ACSO Sheriff Donald L. Smith.

Royer and Brown have waived extradition but are still being held at the Westmoreland County Prison. Royer and Brown are scheduled to stand trial in Pennsylvania on Nov. 24, 2021 and will not be returned to Virginia before then.

Candi Royer was arrested with her boyfriend, Travis Brown, in connection with the disappearance of 3-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell. (Courtesy of Augusta County Sheriff’s Office)

While Royer and Brown agreed to not fight extradition, Smith describes them as being less than forthright during continued questioning regarding where Khaleesi’s remains may be.

“They are not being as cooperative as we would like when it comes to locating Khaleesi,” Smith said. He described Royer and Brown as not providing information as to pinpoint the location needed to locate Khaleesi.

At this time, ACSO has reported that each were charged with a single felony count of abuse and neglect of children. Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin stated, “My office has worked closely with the investigators since we became aware of this terrible situation. We are reviewing all of the available evidence and will decided precisely what to charge and when, based solely on what is best for the ultimate prosecution.”

Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell, a 3-year-old Augusta County girl, is believed dead. Her legal care giver, Candi Royer, and Royer’s boyfriend, Travis Brown, have been arrested in connection to the toddler’s disappearance. (Courtesy of Virginia State Police)

In the mean time, ACSO continues its search for the missing toddler’s remains. The department is using digital records to help ascertain more information that may aid in the search.

The ACSO is continuing to ask the public’s assistance for any information on this continued case. Residents are asked to call the department at (540) 245-5333 or Central Shenandoah Crime Stoppers at (800) 322-2017.

WYDaily will continue to keep you up-to-date on this developing story as more information becomes available. 

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