The body of a Georgia mother who was abducted while talking on her cell phone more than a year ago has been discovered by her brother, police said today.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman John Bankhead said in an e-mail that officials used dental records to identify Kristi Cornwell, 38, of Blairsville, Ga. Authorities say Cornwell's body had been burned but her cause of death couldn't be determined.
GBI Director Vernon Keenan said that Cornwell's brother Richard Cornwell found the bones Saturday during his own search in an area near where she vanished.
"We're thankful that Kristi can now have a proper burial that she deserves," Richard Cornwell told reporters at a news conference, his voice cracking.
Kristi Cornwell's mother, Jo Ann Cornwell, choked up as she spoke about the discovery.
"We didn't want it to end this way. But that's the way it is. And we can bring her home now," she told the Associated Press. "I know in my heart she's in heaven and we'll see her again, so that's what's going to make me be able to go on."
Cell phone records show the primary suspect in Cornwell's disappearance, James Scott Carringer, was in the wooded area the night Cornwell disappeared. Carringer later killed himself during a standoff with police.
Cornwell was a probation officer and mother of a 15-year-old boy at the time of her disppearance. She was talking on her cell phone to her boyfriend Douglas Davis while out for an evening walk Aug. 11, 2009.
Davis told the police that Cornwell said a car was approaching her. He then heard sounds of a struggle. Cornwell yelled, "Don't take me!" Then Davis lost reception.
Cornwell's family auctioned their lakefront vacation home to raise money to continue the search and has offered a $50,000 reward for information regarding her disappearance.
Cornwell's brother, Richard Cornwell, told "Good Morning America" in August that investigators were unsure whether his sister's abduction was random or if she was targeted, possibly in relation to her job as a former probation officer.
Cornwell's cell phone was found in the days following her abduction, more than three miles from where investigators believe Cornwell was kidnapped.
Found along a major thoroughfare, not the back street from where Cornwell disappeared, the phone indicates the kidnappers' route, Richard Cornwell said.
At the scene of the kidnapping, police also discovered signs of a struggle. Some of Cornwell's belongings turned up along Jones Creek Road, a rural road in north Georgia.
Cornwell's abduction prompted another woman to come forward to say that a man tried to abduct her on Aug. 2, 2009 in Ranger, N.C., about 25 miles from where Cornwell was last seen.
the man was apparently scared off when another car approached the area. The woman, who did not immediately report the incident, did so only after hearing about Cornwell's disappearance.
Friends and family started a "Pray for Kristi Cody Cornwell" group on Facebook.
The Associated Press contributed to this report