How law enforcement, community members can cope after helping search for Audrii Cunningham

LIVINGSTON, Texas – The search and outcome of 11-year old Audrii Cunningham’s case has been heartbreaking for family, friends and the community but it can also have a lasting impact on the emergency responders and volunteers who spent days trying to find her.

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas EquuSearch opened up to KPRC 2 about the toll a case of this magnitude can have on those who so desperately wanted to find little Audrii alive.

“That physical pain that we go through, that’s one thing because that goes away, but that emotional pain stays for a long, long time and it brings up memories of other cases we worked and other children,” Miller said.

Miller and his team will never truly forget little Audrii and the five days they spent searching for her.

“They will never, ever forget this spot,” Miller said.

The heartache and pain can often times be overwhelming.

“Yeah, in fact we actually got a therapist and it’s strictly grief counseling and stuff. I talk to her probably more than anybody else,” Miller said.

Those emotions are also why Dr. Ron Acierno, the Executive Director of the Trauma and Resilience Center at UT Health Houston said everyone involved in traumatic cases, including first responders should find ways to openly talk about what they’ve experienced.

Acierno’s team serves veterans and their families, first responders and their families, elder abuse and domestic violence survivors, and people impacted by disasters, severe accidents and other traumatic events.

These types of events weigh heavily, and generally when there’s a child involved, it’s difficult. The main thing you can do is get social support.

“Sometimes we have a tendency after these things happen, to withdraw and not talk about it. A lot of times the guys and gals don’t want to bring these things home to their families because it’s just too traumatic to talk about. In those situations, talking to the people who you work with, people who have been through it, people who know what you’re going through is extremely helpful. And then, if that doesn’t work there are places like my Trauma and Resilience Center,” Acierno said.

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