When Adrianne Reynolds was 16-years-old, she left her hometown of Kilgore, Texas, to live with her father, Tony Reynolds, and his wife, Jo Reynolds, in East Moline, Illinois. Once here, Adrienne was enrolled in Black Hawk College Outreach Center and worked part-time at a Checkers restaurant. She dreamed of earning her GED and joining the marines. She also had ambitions of one day becoming a car designer or a singer.
On the 21st of January, 2005, Adrianne was reported missing by her concerned father, Tony. Adrianne was supposed to start her shift at the Checker’s restaurant at 5PM. However, she never showed up.1 After being unable to get a hold of Adrianne, her family extensively searched for her; they put up hundreds of fliers and called up her friends and inquired as to whether they had seen her. Speaking to The Dispatch-Argus, Tony said: “I drive a truck, and there wasn’t a car that went by I didn’t look in.”2
Investigators assigned on the case made contact with Adrianne’s friends as well, trying to figure out where she could be and who she could be with. According to Tony and Jo, since Adrianne had only been living in East Moline for two months, she had only made a handful of friends. At first, Tony said he felt anger because he thought that Adrianne had stayed with a friend and not informed him. However, as the hours turned to days, his fear escalated even further. He was extremely worried about Adrianne’s wellbeing because she had never run away from home before and he feared that foul play could have been involved.
A couple of days passed with no leads which could assist in the search for Adrianne. Illinois State Police and Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group offered their assistance to East Moline Police. It would be uncovered shortly thereafter that somebody had informed investigators that they had seen Adrianne in the parking lot of McDonalds on 727 Avenue, East Moline, shortly before she vanished.3
At around midnight on the 24th of January, there was a tragic breakthrough in the case when it was announced that part of Adrianne’s body had been discovered at Black Hawk State Park in Rock Island. Other parts of her body would be found in Millersburg in Mercer County. It would then be announced that 16-year-old Sarah Kolb and 17-year-old Cory Gregory had been arrested and charged with the murder of Adrianne. Sarah and Cory were self-proclaimed Juggalos who had befriended Adrianne when she moved to East Moline.
According to investigators, when Sarah was brought in for routine questioning, she claimed that she and Cory had dropped Adrianne off at McDonalds. She claimed that she and Adrianne had a minor argument but that they had made up by the time Adrianne got out of the car. However, Cory’s conscious got the better of him and he confessed that they had been involved in Adrianne’s murder. He then led investigators to Adrianne’s dismembered head and arms inside a garbage bag inside a manhole. A short time later, investigators found her charred torso and legs on a brush pile in the woods at a farm that was owned by Sarah’s grandparents.
Investigation and the confession would reveal that shortly before her murder, Adrianne had asked Cory on a date. Despite the fact that Sarah had a boyfriend, Sean McKittrick, this infuriated her. Cory was her friend and she didn’t want Adrienne “stealing” him.
On the afternoon of 21 January, 2005, Sarah invited Adrianne to Taco Bell with her and Cory. At some point on the drive over, Adrianne and Sarah got into an altercation. As they rolled up to Taco Bell, Cory held Adrianne down while Sarah beat her with a wooden handle that she kept in her car for protection and strangled her to death with her belt. During his confession, Cory had said he knew Adrianne was dead because her face and lips were blue.
Following the murder, Sarah and Cory took her lifeless body to Sarah’s grandparents’ farm. Here, they attempted to set her on fire in the hopes that she would turn to ashes. When this failed, they contacted 16-year-old Nathan Gaudet and told him about their predicament. Nathan drove over to the farm, armed with a handsaw to dismember Adrianne. He then disposed of a portion of her remains in the manhole and the other portion in the woods at the farm.
Both Sarah and Cory pleaded not guilty and were ordered to stand trial for the grisly murder while Nathan pleaded guilty to concealment and agreed to testify against Sarah and Cody. Nathan’s grandmother had turned him in to police after discovering a bloody saw which he had hidden in her basement.4
During Sarah’s murder trial, a number of her classmates would testify that they had heard Sarah making threats against Adrianne in the past. Some of the teenage witnesses were fearful and reluctant to testify about what they had heard. A number of witnesses would also testify that Cory was “obsessed” with Sarah, one of which said he “pretty much did everything she said.”
Eyewitness testimony would also be presented in regards to the relationship between Sarah and Adrianne. Some witnesses said that Sarah was angry that Adrianne had asked Cory on a date while other witnesses said that Adrianne had a sexual encounter with two Rock Island men which enraged Sarah. One of the men testified during trial and said that Sarah had become upset when she learned that Adrianne had sex with him. Hinting at a different motivation, he said: “She wanted to get with Adrianne, but she didn’t want to get with a slut.”5
Sean, Sarah’s boyfriend, would also testify against her. He told the jury that he had been in the car that afternoon as they pulled up outside Taco Bell. He said that when Sarah grabbed Adrianne by the hair, he got out of the car and walked back to school because he “didn’t want to be around that type of situation.”6 Sean said that before getting out of the car, Sarah had forced Adrianne to look at him and Cory and warned her to stay away from them.
Sarah would be found guilty of the murder of Adrianne and shortly thereafter, Cory pleaded guilty to the murder. Sarah was sentenced to 53 years in prison while Cory was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Nathan, who pleaded guilty to concealment, served four years in a juvenile centre. Four years later, he died in a car crash.
- The Dispatch-Angus, 21 January, 2005 – “E.M. Teen Reported Missing”
- The Dispatch-Argus, 23 January, 2005 – “I Was Mad But Now I’m Scared”
- The Dispatch-Argus, 24 January 2005 – “State Police, MEG Officers Join Search for Missing Girl”
- The Quad-City Times, 28 April, 2006 – “Case Timeline”
- The Quad-City Times, 4 November, 2005 – “Adrianne Cried During Struggle”
- The Quad-City Times, 7 November, 2005 – “Tension Fills Court”