Episode 044 - The Abduction & Murder of Kristi Cornwell

Kristi Cornwell Trace Evidence

August 11th, 2009 was a hot and humid day in the North Georgia town of Blairsville. Thirty-eight year old Kristi Cornwell was visiting with her parents that summer as she had recently embarked on major changes in her life. She’d left her career as a probation officer, and was pursuing a new journey into the medical field. She had gotten divorced a few months earlier, but in recent times, had begun dating a new man with whom she hoped she might develop a future.

Due to a lower back injury sustained during a fall, Kristi had taken to late evening walks. They eased her pain and, in the evening, the hot and sticky weather wasn’t nearly as intense. Her mother didn’t like her walking so late, but Kristi assured her she could take care of herself, and besides, they were in Blairsville, a picturesque southern town with less than a thousand residents.

They’d live there all their lives, and Kristi, if nothing else, always felt safe there. That night, with her phone in her pocket and an earbud in, she spoke to her new boyfriend, Douglas, as she walked the streets of her home town. Then, suddenly and without warning, Douglas heard a commotion and distinctly heard Kristi cry out “Don’t take me.” An instant later, the phone emitted only the sound of static as Douglas screamed her name.

In the days, weeks and years that followed, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation would cover hundreds of acres of land in a desperate search. They will uncover connections to other instances of abduction, and other attempts in the area. These clues will lead them on a multi state search for a light colored SUV and a suspect described by previous would be victims. For authorities, it’s a race against the clock that will ultimately end in tragedy and the monster who many believe committed this crime, will cowardly spare himself the requirement to face justice and to answer for his acts when he takes his own life during a three hour standoff with Atlanta Police. Yet still, questions remain, and though authorities believe they’ve found their man, they cannot prove it. Even after Kristi’s remains are discovered, by her own brother, just miles from the site of her abduction.

Join host Steven Pacheco as he explores this complicated, tragic and frustrating case in hopes of sorting through the confusion and answering the question: Who murdered Kristi Cornwell?

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