April 10, 2013 Edition

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Mother expresses gratitude

Gretchen Hunt

Denise Cornell, mother of Sidney Randall, a 14-year-old Walnut Ridge resident who has been missing for a little over a month, said the response by the community has been overwhelming.

While the situation has obviously been hard on the family, she said knowing so many care enough to help with search efforts has been very uplifting.

"I appreciate the community coming together," she said. "I want to thank everybody for donating their time, going out and taking their own gas money to search, using their own horses, their own four-wheelers. It means a lot."

Cornell said there are no words to adequately express her feelings.

"I would say God bless them and I would thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking the time away from their families searching for my baby girl," she said. "It means so much that they would take the time to search for my baby. I just want to thank them so very much."

She said the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and Walnut Ridge Police Department have been tireless in their efforts.

"They have taken not only their time at work, but also their time away from work," she said. "I just can't thank them enough for doing this."

She said they have also been good to answer any questions she has and are always open to sitting down and talking with her.

The family has received assistance at their home as well, whether it be a church delivering a meal, a friend bringing by dog food or simply someone stopping by with a hug and a prayer.

"People I haven't even seen in years have come and offered to help me in any way that they can," Cornell said. "It's wonderful how people have come together to help me in this time."

Community searches were held again on Friday and Saturday, and Search Coordinator Buddy Williams said more than 80 percent of the county has now been cleared.

"Dozens of K-9 search dogs, dozens of boats, including several with sonar, hundreds of ATVs, scores of horseback riders and searchers on foot and over 1,000 volunteers have joined the search over the past month," Williams said. "The search has had assistance from several law enforcement K-9 groups from Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. Search volunteers from as far away as Hobart, Ind., and southern Louisiana have traveled to the area to assist."

Williams said authorities have had no credible leads in the case since Randall's disappearance on March 9. Investigators are still asking the public to call 870-886-2525 or 870-886-3628 with any information.

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