VERONA — While the search for her body continues, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Tuesday evening missing three-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell is dead.
The toddler was placed in the care of Candi Royer in October 2020 shortly before her mother, Amanda Arey, 38, of Staunton, was incarcerated in Middle River Regional Jail in Verona. Sheriff Donald L. Smith announced on Sept. 13 that Khaleesi had not been sighted since February, and Royer, 41, was believed to have run off with her boyfriend Travis Brown, 29, who was wanted in five localities.
Royer and Brown were arrested last week in Pennsylvania on Sept. 12 in South Greensburg. On Sept. 20, the sheriff’s office conducted a search of Royer’s home at 249 Cattle Scales Road alongside the Virginia State Police and the FBI, according to a statement from the county.
“Investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and the VSP have interviewed both suspects over the past week. The investigation has revealed Khaleesi Cuthriell died while in the care of Brown and Royer at 249 Cattle Scales Road,” Smith said in a statement.
Investigators from the county, VSP and FBI are identifying search areas to try to locate and recover Khaleesi’s body. The sheriff’s office, which has executed several search warrants concerning the case, will probably issue more, the release said.
“It is with great sadness that the search for Khaleesi has now turned into a recovery mission,” Smith said in the release.
Brown and Royer have been charged with felony child abuse and remain in the Westmoreland County Prison in Greensburg awaiting extradition back to Virginia. The release said additional charges are pending consideration.
“My office has worked closely with the investigators since we became aware of this terrible situation,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin said. “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.”