Community demands answers after missing three-year-old declared dead

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - When three-year-old Khaleesi Cuthriell’s case transitioned from a rescue to recovery mission, people in the Valley following the case were devastated.

Not only were they devastated, they were asking questions. Many are asking, “How did Khaleesi end up in Candi Royer’s care? How was she gone for months with no one recognizing it?”

For now, many of those questions are left unanswered. Until the case is closed, most agencies can’t speak on specifics.

Augusta County Sheriff Donald Smith has said things have to change so there’s never another situation like this. However, he can’t say what should change.

“I know that me not releasing a lot of details right now is not helping matters any. I know that. I want the community to know that there is a reason why details are not being released, and it is for the integrity of the investigation,” Smith said.

Still, the community is fighting to make sure there’s justice for the child.

“I think the community has really pulled together. There’s a lot of groups that have come together wanting to search, wanting to raise money, wanting to do whatever they could to make sure justice is brought for Khaleesi,” Smith said.

Smith says many questions remain unresolved, but he thinks that might change when suspects Candi Royer and Travis Brown are extradited back to Virginia.

“Right now we need to get the two suspects back from Pennsylvania and once we have them back in the commonwealth, we’ll be able to do more with them,” Smith said.

South Greensburg District Attorney Allen Powanda said Royer and Brown’s official arraignment date is Nov. 24, and they can’t leave Pennsylvania until then. Once their charges are settled out of state, they will be able to return to the commonwealth.

The two are currently being held at Westmoreland County Prison.

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