John Cornell's family speaks after disappearance of Sidney Randall

    9:52 PM, Apr 29, 2013   |    comments
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    Sidney Randall (Photo: Arkansas State Police)

    WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KTHV) -- It's been nearly two months and still no sign of Sidney Randall. The 14-year-old girl disappeared from her home in Walnut Ridge March 9. Two days later, police found her step-father, John Cornell, dead off a county road and initially believed he shot himself. But, his family says that is not possible.

    The Cornell family said rumors have swarmed their small town, painting their son and brother as an abusive father and ultimately a murderer. The Cornells said the rumors are lies, and John Cornell would never take his own life much less the life of his step-daughter.

    "One day everyone's there. Everyone is happy, and the next day, everyone disappears," said Lea Cornell, John Cornell's sister, describing her brother's death and niece's disappearance.

    "You can't go shopping without people staring, wanting to talk to you about--well, they don't know what they want to talk to you about. They just want to hear what you have to say," said Bill Cornell, John Cornell's father, describing what life in his small town of Walnut Ridge has been like since March 9.

    It has been nearly two months since 14-year-old Sidney Randall disappeared from her Walnut Ridge home. Police found her step-father John Cornell's body off a county road two days later and initially believed he killed himself.

    "Why jump to those conclusions so quickly? So quickly?" asked Lea Cornell.

    "I don't believe he'd take his own life. I don't think he'd abuse any girl. I just--all we got is questions," said Bill Cornell.

    "There is a clue out there somewhere that we've missed," Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richy Thatcher observed.

    With no new leads, police are starting back at square one, and though they initially believed John Cornell killed himself and could have been involved in his daughter's disappearance, Thatcher said none of that is fact.

    "There is lots of talk and lots of rumors going around, but until we get hard, stiff evidence, I really can't say either way," explained Thatcher.

    "She's alive. She's out there, but I don't think she's in our backyard," added Lea Cornell.

    The Cornell's still have faith their granddaughter and niece is alive and have even headed to St. Louis to look for her. As for their son and brother, John Cornell, they are sure more people were involved in his death.

    "In my heart of hearts, I don't think he did this to himself, and I know he didn't do anything to that baby," stated Lea.

    Police are still waiting on John Cornell's autopsy results and said his death has yet to be ruled a suicide or homicide. They believe those results will give them clues on where to go next.

    John Cornell's wife Denise, Sidney Randall's mother, still believes her husband had something to do with her daughter's disappearance.

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    The search for Sidney Randall continues

    Denise Cornell speaks out on Sidney Randall's disappearance

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