Finding Kristi Cornwell: Missing Georgia Mother Snatched Off the Street

Georgia police believe Kristi Cornwell was kidnapped while taking a walk.

ByABC News via logo
August 16, 2009, 10:51 PM

Aug. 17, 2009 — -- The family of a missing Georgia woman clings to hope nearly a week after she was snatched off the street while on the phone with her boyfriend.

"I just know God is looking after her," Jo Ann Cornwell told "Good Morning America" today of her daughter. "And she has great faith in God. And that's where I'm putting my strength."

Kristi Cornwell, 38, was taking a routine evening walk Tuesday when police believe she was abducted down the street from her family's home in Blairsville, Ga.

Cornwell, mother to a 15-year-old son, Brody, was on her cell phone with boyfriend Douglas Davis as she was out for a stroll around 9 p.m.

Davis told the police that Cornwell said a car was approaching her. He then heard a struggle and Cornwell yelled, "Don't take me".

Then Davis lost reception.

Jo Ann Cornwell said Davis' next call was to her to tell what he had heard. Horrified, she then called 911.

"It terrified me," she said, her voice cracking. "I couldn't believe what he was saying."

Cornwell's brother, Richard Cornwell, told "Good Morning America" that investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are still unsure whether his sister's abduction was random or if she was targeted, possibly in relation to her job as a former probation officer.

"Her son needs his mother back, and I need my baby back," Jo Ann Cornwell said, crying. "And we believe we're going to get her back."

Cornwell's cell phone was found Friday evening, according to police. A man was mowing his lawn when he found the phone, more than three miles from where investigators believe Cornwell was kidnapped.

Richard Cornwell said that single piece of evidence has given the family the most hope that Cornwell would be brought home.

Found along a major thoroughfare, not the back street from where Cornwell disappeared, the phone indicates the kidnappers' route, Richard Cornwell said.

"That's very encouraging to me, because we know the direction of travel," he said. "We know they were heading north on State Route 325."

From there, he said, they could have driven into Tennessee or North Carolina. Or, he said, just doubled back into Georgia.

"That gives me hope that there is still a good chance she's out there somewhere," he said.

Police, however, have told ABC News that they may soon be forced to scale back their search.