Details of Disappearance
Cornett was last seen in Charlotte, North Carolina at 6:30 p.m. on November 18, 1984. That evening she had dinner with her fiance at her house in the 8900 block of Eaglewind Drive. Afterwards, he drove back to his own home in South Carolina. He tried to call her when he got there, but she didn't answer. She has never been heard from again.
There were no signs of a struggle at her residence and her car was parked in the driveway. The only thing that appeared out of place was her purse, the contents of which had been dumped on the bed. The only items missing from the home were the clothes Cornett had been wearing that day, a dictating machine she used for work, and the ATM card from her wallet. The wallet itself and its other cards had been left behind.
In the weeks following Cornett's disappearance, the card was used by a man and a woman three times to withdraw a total of about $1,000 in cash from Cornett's account using ATM machines in east Charlotte. The woman people saw use the card matched Cornett's physical description. It's unclear whether either of these people were ever identified.
The serial killer Larry Gene Bell knew Cornett and is the prime suspect in her disappearance. A photo of him is posted with this case summary. At the time of her disappearance, he was staying intermittently at a residence on Will Hill Road, about four miles from Cornett's home. He had also allegedly stolen an ATM card from a woman he had dated, and withdrew $700 from her account.
Bell was found guilty of the murders of two young women from South Carolina in 1985 and sentenced to death. He maintained his innocence in Cornett's case and was never formally charged in connection with her disappearance. He is also the prime suspect in several other young women's disappearances and presumed murders in North Carolina, including that of Denise Porch, who went missing in 1975.
Bell was executed in 1996, although his lawyers attempted to reverse his death sentence by claiming he was mentally ill and believed he was Jesus Christ.
Cornett grew up in Millers Creek, North Carolina and got an associate's degree in secretarial science from Wilkes Community College. At the time of her disappearance, she worked as an insurance claims adjuster at the Gay and Taylor company, as well as a part-time model for Charlotte Merchandise Mart. She was close to her family and called her parents at least once a week. Her wedding was set for April 20, 1986, five months after her disappearance.
Her case remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.