ASP releases complete Randall case file

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Police this week officially closed the books on a case we've all been tracking. Arkansas State Police released Sidney Randall's full case file Tuesday.

The 50 page case file explains the teen died of blunt force trauma to the head. Her step-father's autopsy indicates she had been sexually abused.

The story into Sidney's disappearance began on March 9, 2013. That night was the last time the 14-year-old Walnut Ridge girl was seen.

The sole suspect in her disappearance was her step-father, John Cornell.

While Region 8 News was interviewing her mother on March 11 in Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County law enforcement not only found Cornell's red truck, they also found his body a few miles outside of town. Cornell was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Police then issued an Amber Alert for Sidney. For weeks, local law enforcement and Region 8 residents banded together, searching for the missing teen all throughout Lawrence and surrounding counties.

As search efforts continued, crews from Little Rock and Ohio came to Walnut Ridge. Those search efforts also came up empty.

Then, ten weeks later as the Black River receded, a local fisherman found Sidney's body among submerged tree branches near the Old Davidsonville State Park.

According to the case file, multiple skull fractures indicate she died of blunt force trauma. The medical examiner was unable to determine if she was still alive once she was placed in the water.

During the course of the investigation, interviews with Sidney's family and friends indicate they were aware of possible abuse going on months prior to her disappearance. Her step-father's autopsy revealed that he had sexually abused the girl.

In the end, police conclude it was John Cornell, Sidney's stepfather who killed her. His death was ruled a suicide.

On May 25, 2013, the community gathered at the Walnut Ridge High School Gymnasium to pay their respects to Sidney.

The state police report did go in to detail about the relationship Cornell had with Randall. Given the nature of the material and the fact that Sidney was under 18, we made the editorial decision not to report on many of the more graphic details inside the case file.

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