3-year-old presumed dead: The disappearance of Khaleesi Cuthriell
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell was born on December 5, 2017 to Amanda Arey. By all accounts, Amanda did her best to raise Khaleesi as a single mother, but she did struggle with addiction.
In October 2020, Amanda, who was on probation at the time, failed a drug test and went to jail for violating her probation. A few days before her sentence was set to begin, she handed 2-year-old Khaleesi over to her friend Candi Jo Royer.
Candi and her boyfriend, Travis Brown, had a daughter together who was close in age with Khaleesi. The couple was also said to have a “violent relationship.” Despite this, everything seemed to be going well for the new family unit — at least at first. But about a year later, everything changed.
On September 3, 2021, 41-year-old Candi was reported missing. Travis was a person of interest in her disappearance and was wanted at the time for multiple felonies, including: Vehicle thefts, breaking and entering, felony strangulation and misdemeanor domestic assault and battery. He couldn’t be located either. The couple had reportedly broken up by this point, and Candi had filed a protective order against Travis.
When Candi was first reported missing, a now 3-year-old Khaleesi was originally believed to still be with her. But Amanda Arey was concerned. She hadn’t been able to get in touch with Candi and Travis — and consequently, with her daughter — in quite some time. The day after Candi was reported missing, Amanda saw a report about it on the news and informed a prison guard of the situation.
Amanda had been told by friends that Khaleesi was now in the care of either her grandmother or aunt, a story Candi Royer had told as well. But investigators didn’t find Khaleesi with either of them. In fact, nobody had seen her since February of that year — a time span of seven months. Candi later changed her story and said social services had taken Khaleesi — but, as investigators soon learned, social services hadn’t been involved with Khaleesi at all. Amanda Arey reported her daughter missing on September 8, 2021.
Needless to say, investigators were extremely concerned that Khaleesi hadn’t been seen for such a long time before even being reported missing. A search of the area around the house where she’d lived with Candi and Travis ensued, but nothing was found.
Then, on September 12, Candi Royer and Travis Brown were found in a hotel in South Greensburg, Pennsylvania, about 260 miles north of their home in Waynesboro, Virginia. Police also found drugs and stolen checks in their room — but there was no sign of Khaleesi. Both of them were arrested and set to be extradited to Virginia.
On September 20, their house was searched. The resulting investigation revealed that Khaleesi had died in their care (though, as of July 2022, it’s not clear how). In a joint statement, the sheriff and commonwealth attorney announced that the search for Khaleesi was now a recovery mission.
In November of 2021, Candi and Travis pled guilty to the drug and stolen check charges. They were sentenced to two months to one year in prison. In December, they were extradited to Virginia to face charges related to Khaleesi’s disappearance and presumed death.
Also in December, the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office created a memorial for Khaleesi in their building. The memorial is still up, as far as I can tell, and is open to the public.
Both Candi and Travis are scheduled to go on trial in 2023, in May and August, respectively. They’ve been indicted on counts of aggravated murder, felony murder, unlawfully concealing a body, conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, conspiracy to commit child abuse and conspiracy to conceal a dead body. Travis has also been charged with child abuse and neglect. Commonwealth attorney Tim Martin says there won’t be any more information about the case released — including whether Khaleesi’s body had been found — in order to protect the integrity of the upcoming trials.
Because this is an ongoing case, I will do my best to keep you updated. If you’re watching this several months after it went up, check the corresponding YouTube video's description and pinned comment for more information.
Khaleesi Hope Cuthriell was 3 years old when she was last seen in Waynesboro, Virginia, in February 2021. Khaleesi was a white female, 3 feet 1 inch tall and 40 pounds at the time of her disappearance with blonde hair blue eyes. She is no longer believed to be alive but would be four years old if she was.
If you have any information about this case, you can contact the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at 540-245-5333.