Mom: Stepfather responsible for daughter's disappearance - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mom: Stepfather responsible for daughter's disappearance

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Sidney Randall's mother Denise Cornell pleads for her daughter's return (Bofta Yimam / FOX13 News) Sidney Randall's mother Denise Cornell pleads for her daughter's return (Bofta Yimam / FOX13 News)
John Cornell, stepfather to Sidney Randall (courtesy photo / Bofta Yimam FOX13 News) John Cornell, stepfather to Sidney Randall (courtesy photo / Bofta Yimam FOX13 News)

A vigil will be held Wednesday evening in Walnut Ridge, Ark., for 14-year-old Sidney Nicole Randall, who disappeared Saturday evening.

Deputies are asking Lawrence County residents and the surrounding areas to check their properties for any sign of her.

Denise Cornell, the mother of Sidney, is confident her husband of 11 years, John Cornell, was responsible for her daughter's disappearance before he died Monday of an apparent suicide.

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"Just by the action of him not coming back, I mean that was a red flag," she told FOX13 News.

John's stepdaughter was last seen at her Walnut Ridge home at around 10 p.m. Saturday night, March 9.

"I think if I hadn't went to sleep, if I hadn't went to sleep she'd still be here," Denise said.
After Sidney's mother woke up early Sunday, she checked on her family and realized John and Sidney were missing. Denise said John returned to the house at 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

"My husband John pulled up and I ran out to him and hoping thinking I was going to see him and her," Denise said. "I told him she was missing, wasn't in her bed, and he said (explicative), (explicative)  and put the truck in reverse and backed out and said he was going to the police station. I yelled at him and told him I had called 9-1-1. That was the last I saw of him."
Denise says she later learned he never stopped by the police station. Within 48 hours of Sidney's disappearance, Lawrence County Sheriff deputies said John Cornell shot himself in an apparent suicide.

Mr. Cornell was law enforcement's only suspect Sheriff Jody Dotson said, and have no new leads. But the FBI, a canine search team and others plan to ride out the search for Sidney.

"We're still hopeful, we haven't given up yet, but were also preparing for the worst," Sheriff Dotson admitted.

Sidney left her cell phone at home and her stepfather left his phone, wallet and license also at home so police had nothing to track their whereabouts, the sheriff added.

Walnut Ridge Police and sheriff deputies are searching through store surveillance to see if they can spot Sidney and John.

While Denise Cornell points a finger at her husband, she wrestles with what his possible motive may have been. She describes John as a strict stepfather, but never spotted any red flags. Now, she hopes Sidney's latest pageant picture will not be the last.

"We need her home," Sidney's mother said. "I ask everybody please don't hesitate for one minute to pick up the phone with any information."

Walnut Ridge Police and the sheriff's office

If you have any information that can assist Walnut Ridge Police you are urged to call 1-870-886-2525.

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