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Body found in river confirmed to be missing teen

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  • Search for Sidney Randall timeline

    SeSearch for Sidney Randall timeline

    Monday, May 20 2013 8:47 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:47:54 GMT
    Timeline of the search and recovery of Walnut Ridge, Ark., 14-year-old Sidney Randall, who was reported missing March 9.
    Timeline of the search and recovery of Walnut Ridge, Ark., 14-year-old Sidney Randall, who was reported missing March 9.

Lawrence County, Ark., Sheriff Jody Dotson confirmed the body found in the Black River Saturday is that of 14-year-old Sidney Randall.

The Walnut Ridge teenager's body was  found by the Lawrence County and Randolph County line. Her body was found by someone who passed by and called 9-1-1, Lawrence County officials said. Sidney's body was found caught in a tree top in the water.

Sheriff Dotson said search crews canvassed the Black River before.

Details about how and when Sidney died have not yet been released. Results of an autopsy is expected in the next few days Walnut Ridge Police Chief Richy Thatcher said.

Police Chief Thatcher said that though there are no suspects in Sidney's death, he did say the case is not closed.

"I always had a little bit of hope we might find her a different way," he said.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Don House broke the news to the family.

"What has happened to this young lady is shameful, it's horrific, it's a crime to our young people," the mayor said. "When the chief and I went to the home and told the mother her daughter had been positively identified, it was just a new grief and remorse to her. I think all of us feel that."

Sidney's disappeared March 9 with her stepfather John Cornell. Within 48 hours of her disappearance, police say the beauty queen's stepfather, who was the prime suspect, shot himself in an apparent suicide near a creek.

"I think everyone don't really know how to handle anything around here, cause it's just a small town. Nothing like this ever happens," said Kara Dickson, Walnut Ridge resident.

As details continued to unfold in the dramatic rescue of three Ohio women and a child held captive for years, many in Walnut Ridge said they had a renewed sense of  hope in the search for Sidney.

Chief Thatcher said no evidence, other than the body, was collected along the Black River. As well no blood was found in Cornell's truck back in March, and there's no evidence Sidney  was in it.

Sidney's family members were too distraught to speak with FOX13 News but did release a statement thanking the community and requesting time to grieve.



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