BLAIRSVILLE, GA - The one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Kristi Cornwell is today, August 11.  Kristi was last heard from at approximately 9:00 pm on August 11, 2009 while walking on Jones Creek Road in Blairsville, Georgia. 

The Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation along with numerous other law enforcement agencies in Georgia and North Carolina are continuing to follow leads in this missing person’s investigation.

Last December, a sketch and vehicle description was released of a man involved in an incident in Ranger, North Carolina (Cherokee County) where a woman was attacked by a man driving a late model Nissan Xterra. Investigators believe that the Ranger incident and Kristi’s disappearance could be related.

In January of this year, the Cherokee County, NC Sheriff’s Office and the Union County Sheriff’s Office received an anonymous letter from a woman who said the sketch of the Ranger suspect looked like her grandson and that the grandson drove a Nissan Xterra. Her grandson was in that area of western North Carolina during the time of both incidents.  Investigators are now releasing the contents of this letter, which is attached.

A video of Jo Ann Cornwell, mother of Kristi, pleading for the grandmother to come forward was placed on YouTube and posted on the web sites of the Cherokee, N. C. Sheriff’s Office, and the GBI’s web site.  To this date the letter writer has not come forward so investigators have not be able to either prove or disprove the connection of the grandson to Kristi’s disappearance and/or to the assault in Ranger.

Another development in the investigation occurred in April, when James Scott Carringer, 42, killed himself in Atlanta after police tried to arrest him on a warrant on rape charges out of Gilmer County.

Agents from the GBI’s Cleveland Office, the same office handling the Cornwell case, was asked to assist Gilmer County in that rape investigation. During that investigation, agents uncovered information that led them to pursue the possibly of Carringer’s involvement in the Ranger incident and in Kristi’s disappearance.

Carringer lived in Young Harris, a few miles from where Kristi disappeared and was originally from Brasstown, North Carolina, not far from Ranger. Carringer also owned a silver Nissan Xterra that once had a brush guard on the front of the vehicle.    

In April 2010, Agents executed a search warrant at Carringer’s home and impounded two (2) Xterras which were processed for evidence.  Nothing analyzed so far has connected Carringer to the Ranger case or to Kristi’s disappearance, but investigators are still pursuing this lead.  

To date, GBI agents have conducted 1,226 individual, documented investigative acts as part of this continuing investigation.  This does not include the 11 days of active searching for Kristi during August 2009 in Union County by numerous local, state and federal agencies.  Seven hundred and seventy-six (776) tips were called in to the tip line and investigated.  The neighborhood canvassing involved conducting interviews at 450 houses in the area. The GBI case file is now 38 volumes and continues to expand as additional information is developed and thoroughly investigated.

Anyone with any possible information on the letter writer or the grandson is asked to contact the GBI at 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 706-439-6080 or the Cherokee, North Carolina Sheriff’s Office at 828-835-4152.

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Contact Information:

John Bankhead - 404-270-8330