Suspect in Kidnapping Case Found Dead, Search for Teen Continues

(Walnut Ridge, AR) An Amber alert has been issued for missing Arkansas teen, Sidney Nicole Randall.

Police believe the 14-year-old girl was kidnapped by her stepfather, John Cornell,  early Sunday morning.

Monday afternoon police found his car on County Road 438, near Walnut Ridge.

His body was found about a hundred yards away.

Police believe he shot himself and they recovered his gun from the scene.

Investigators spent most of the afternoon searching that area for Sidney, but she was nowhere to be found.

“We’ve had an airplane up twice today looking at different areas,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jody Dotson said.

After a tireless day of looking for the 8th grader, law enforcement suspended their ground search Monday night.

“We’re doing forensics on the computers and cell phones now looking for any information,” Dotson said.

The search for Sidney started Sunday morning around 4:30 a.m.

Her mother, Denise Cornell, told News Channel 3 she woke up in the middle night and her husband wasn’t there, “I went to my sons’ rooms and they were there. Then I went to Sidney’s room and she was not there.”

A few minutes later she said her husband pulled up the driveway.

“I told him Sidney was gone and she was missing,” she said. “He told me bull ****.  He put the car in reverse and he backed out of our driveway.”

It was the last time he was seen until he was found shot to death Monday.

“It appears at this time that it was self-inflicted,” Sheriff Dotson said.

Cornell became the prime suspect in Sidney’s disappearance on Sunday. His wife said Cornell’s behavior toward her daughter had recently become possessive.

“He had to be with her constantly,” she said.”He would not let her talk to her friends.”

While her husband is now dead, she remains hopeful that Sidney will return home.

“Sidney I love you. I’m praying I’m going to get you back and I’m never going to stop looking,” she said.

If you have any information on Sidney, contact your local police or the Walnut Ridge Police Department 870-886-3568.

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