Missing teen found; family expresses gratitude, asks for space

Randall's mother recounts what the past seven weeks have been like
Randall's mother recounts what the past seven weeks have been like

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - For just over ten and a half weeks, the family of Sidney Randall held out hope that the teen would return home to them safe and sound.

Saturday, May 18, a local fisherman located a body that was later confirmed as that of the missing 14 year old.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Walnut Ridge Mayor, Don House said Sidney's death was "shameful, horrific crime against our young people."

"I think the community feels a certain amount of relief in addition to all of the remorse," House said.

House said during the investigation, they knew Sidney was probably not alive. "We still held out that flicker of hope, hoping that, some way or another, that she was alive. And unfortunately, this weekend, all of that flickering hope was dashed," House said.

In a letter to Walnut Ridge Police Chief, Richy Thatcher, the Cornell family addressed the media.

"The family of Sidney Randall would like to express their deepest gratitude to all the community, volunteers, search groups and law enforcement that donated and/or volunteered their time and effort to help bring Sidney home. We cannot express how much this has meant to us," Thatcher read. "We would like to have your understanding at this time for friends and family so we have time for grieving."

Funeral arrangements for Sidney Randall are being provided by Cox Funeral Home.

Any contributions to Sidney Randall's family can be made at Cox Funeral Home in Walnut Ridge.

A public funeral service will take place Saturday, May 25 at 2pm at the Walnut Ridge High School Gymnasium. Anyone and everyone is invited to attend.

A private burial will take place following the service.

Though Randall's body has been found, Chief Thatcher said the investigation is ongoing. Autopsy results for both Sidney Randall and John Cornell are yet to be completed.

Region 8 News will continue to track this story and bring you new details as they become available.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.


WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - It's been seven weeks since a missing Walnut Ridge teen's disappearance rocked the small, Lawrence County town.

Though organized search efforts have wound down, the search hasn't stopped for Sidney Randall and many have not given up hope.

"I still get up every morning at 5 o'clock and just sit at the kitchen table, look down the hallway waiting for her to come out," Sidney's mother, Denise Cornell told Region 8 News.

She said these past seven weeks have been like a nightmare she can't wake up from.

"Not knowing where she's at...if she's okay. It's just the not knowing that hurts," she said.

Sometime between 10pm March 9 and 4am March 10, Sidney went missing from her home. The sole suspect in her disappearance, her stepfather, John Cornell, was found dead from an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound on Monday, March 11.

Denise feels someone out there still has the one clue that will bring her daughter home.

"It might not mean any thing to you but it might be the lead that we're looking for to find her," she said.

Walnut Ridge Police Chief, Richy Thatcher agrees.

"There's something that we've missed somewhere so we're just going back over it, re-combing it, trying to find the missing piece of the puzzle," he said.

Thatcher told Region 8 News that they're still getting phone calls with possible tips and clues on an almost daily basis but there's still no sign of Sidney anywhere.

"We don't have a clue if we're doing a recovery but we don't have a clue that we're covering a runaway," he said.

And with the two at the center of the investigation not able to answer those critical questions, Thatcher says they've hit a brick wall.

"We just have no clues."

Until a clue comes that solves the case, Denise said she prays daily that her daughter will come home.

"I go to bed every night and I pray and I look at her picture and I just ask the Lord to give me the strength to put my feet back on the floor tomorrow morning and get up."

She also has a message for parents everywhere.

"When you put your children to sleep at night, thank them, love them, kiss them goodnight. Make sure that when they leave in the morning for school, that you tell them that you love them! Because it could be anyone. Anybody could be in my shoes."

If you have any information regarding Sidney Randall's disappearance, call the Walnut Ridge Police Department at 886-3568.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.