Authorities determine missing Augusta County 3-year-old girl is dead, body not yet found

Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell was last seen in February

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday evening that the search for 3-year-old Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell is now a recovery mission.

On Monday, deputies, along with members of Virginia State Police and the FBI executed a search warrant at 249 Cattle Scales Road in Augusta County.

Authorities learned about this location after a week of interviews with Candi Royer and Travis Brown, who are currently in prison in Pennsylvania.

The two are boyfriend and girlfriend and while authorities initially considered her a missing person, investigators said they determined that she was a willing participant with Brown in their crime spree across Virginia and into Pennsylvania.

Over the course of the interviews, the investigation revealed that Khaleesi died while in Royer’s care at the address of the search warrant.

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

“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 decide precisely what to charge, and when, based solely on what is best for the ultimate prosecution,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney for Augusta County Tim Martin.

Investigators from all three agencies are now working to find Khaleesi’s body.

Based on the information received during the investigation, Smith said that it is not beneficial for the community to establish search parties at this time.

The Sheriff’s Office has executed numerous search warrants in this case and most likely, additional warrants may be forthcoming.

UPDATE: Sept. 13, 2021

While the two adults believed to be with a missing 3-year-old girl are in custody in Pennsylvania, Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell remains missing, according to the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office.

On Sunday, members of Pennsylvania State Police and the U.S. Marshals Service arrested Travis Brown and Candi Royer at the Knights Inn at 1215 South Main Street in South Greensburg, Pennsylvania, which is about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh.

That afternoon, members of both the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police went to the jail to interview both Brown and Royer.

The Sheriff’s Office did not say what came of that interview other than, “Our investigation into the disappearance of three-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell is active, and continues. While we are pleased that Mr. Brown and Ms. Royer are in custody, the men and women of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office will not rest until we discover the whereabouts of 3-year-old Khaleesi.”

Royer and Brown now both face a charge of felony child abuse and neglect in Augusta County.

They are currently being held in the Westmoreland County Prison, pending court hearings for their extradition back to Virginia to face numerous charges.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office is still requesting the public’s assistance in obtaining any information available on the whereabouts of Khaleesi. Those with information can call the Sheriff’s Office at 540-245-5333 or Central Shenandoah Crime Stoppers at 1-800-322-2017.


Virginia State Police have issued an Endangered/Missing child alert on behalf of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office.

Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell, 3, was last seen in February 2021, according to Virginia State Police.

She is 3 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 40 pounds.

Authorities believe that Khaleesi is with Candi Royer, who is also a missing person.

The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office believes that Royer is with her boyfriend, Travis Brown, who is wanted on 16 total charges out of Albemarle, Augusta and Louisa counties, as well as the cities of Charlottesville and Staunton. Some of the charges against Brown include strangulation, grand larceny, assault and battery of a family member and felony eluding. He has been a fugitive since August 21, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

On Oct. 10, 2020, Khaleesi’s mother, Amanda Arey, an inmate at Middle River Regional Jail, placed her daughter in Royer’s custody.

Last week, on September 3, Royer was reported as a missing person.

The next day, Arey told a guard that her daughter was in Royer’s care. In talking with deputies more, Arey told them that she was told by friends that Royer had placed Khaleesi in the care of Khaleesi’s aunt, who lives in Covington, or possibly with the 3-year-old’s maternal grandmother.

For a few days, the Sheriff’s Office reached out to members of the Arey, Brown and Royer families in an attempt to determine Khaleesi’s location.

Friends and family members of Royer also told deputies a similar story, that Candi Royer had given the child to someone else and that they had not seen the child since February 2021.

During the course of the investigation, deputies determined that the story of Khaleesi being with her aunt or grandmother was not true.

Then, on Sept. 8, the Khaleesi was entered into the system as a missing person.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office and speak to Investigator Reid at 540-245-5333.