For the briefest of moments, the family of Kristi Cornwell felt a flash of hope. Authorities discovered that a $100,000 reward poster had been issued for Kristi Cornwell, but there was a problem with the poster. Kristi Cornwell’s family had not yet issued a reward when the poster was found. No other organization had, either. And on the poster was contact information. Those investigating the case of Kristi Cornwell thought they had a solid lead and went to work.
They soon found out that the person who issued the reward poster, Gib Williams, was a registered sex offender. Things seemed to be breaking the investigation’s way.
Authorities believe that Gib Williams took advantage of the situation of Kristi Cornwell’s disappearance hoping to make some money. Kristi Cornwell’s worried and distraught family members feel the same way. Richard Cornwell, Kristi’s brother, said, “It really is unbelievable that there are people in the world that will try to gain financially from this disgusting crime.”
Police had nothing to hold Gib Williams on, so he was never arrested. They said that since Williams had not taken any money, he could not be charged with a crime.
Williams later apologized to the family of Kristi Cornwell. In an e-mail to Channel 2 Action News reporter Jodie Fleischer, Williams wrote: “I sincerely hope that my impulsive actions, as well intentioned as they were, do not cause lasting undue hardship to the Cornwell family at this terribly difficult time in their lives. I can only offer my sincerest apologies. I AM SORRY.”
He also said that he had never intended to profit from the poster and that he had only been trying to help.
Which seems to be the excuse of so many that are involved somehow in missing person investigations, such as Misty Croslin Cummings, who recently failed a polygraph test and a voice stress analysis test in the case of missing 5-year-old Haleigh Cummings. Some of the information given during the tests and during questioning has produced new leads, causing the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, the law enforcement agency investigating Haleigh Cummings’ disappearance, to focus on the child’s babysitter once more. Misty Croslin Cummings, who married the missing child’s father a month after the little girl went missing, was the last person to see Haleigh Cummings alive. She called Equusearch, the search company that set up the polygraph test and stress analysis test at her request, to help “clear her name” so that authorities would again focus the investigation on finding her missing stepdaughter.
The same helpful attitude seemed to be behind the actions of Louis Ross, the foster parent of missing 5-year-old Hassani Campbell, when he agreed to take a polygraph test to get it out of the way so it wouldn’t distract from the investigation, or so he claimed. But Louis Ross failed the polygraph test and Oakland Police arrested him and his fiancee, Hassani Campbell’s aunt, Jennifer, and held them over this past weekend. They were released earlier this week but Oakland Police made it clear that they believe that Hassani Campbell is dead and that their investigation is now one of homicide and not a missing person.
As for Kristi Cornwell, she has now been missing since August 11. The 38-year-old north Georgia woman is believed by police to have been abducted off of Jones Creek Road in Blairsville while taking a routine evening stroll. Police found items belonging to Cornwell along the road in the spot where it is believed she was taken. Her cell phone was found a few days later three miles away.
The Cornwell family does have a reward fund set up in the amount of $50,000 for information as to Kristi Cornwell’s whereabouts and/or about anything that might lead to the arrest of anyone that may have been responsible for her disappearance.