Man charged in Tunica cold-case - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man charged in Tunica cold-case

(WMC-TV) - The naked body of Joanna Cornes was discovered in July 2002 hanging at a Tunica grain elevator company.

With no witnesses and no tips, the case went cold.

But after nearly 10 years, the Tunica County Sheriff's Office announced this week that a suspect was in custody. They charged 29-year-old Marcus Montez Taylor with Cornes' murder.

"This is our second cold case that we've solved," said Sheriff K.C. Hamp.

In February 2012, Taylor was indicted for a separate home invasion, rape and robbery that also occurred in 2002. Hamp said using evidence from this crime, they made the connection with Cornes' homicide.

"We cross-referenced the case and looked at other things that the Mississippi Crime Lab had been assisting us with," he said.

Details on the connection between Taylor and Cornes were not released; however, Hamp said the motive was drug related and said Taylor lived near Cornes.

Tuesday, Cornes' family was present and still very emotional as the charges were announced.

In August 2011 Cornes' mother passed away but family says she desperately wanted to see this day.

"Her desire was that the murderer be caught for the way he did my sister," said Willie Mae Holmes.

Holmes said coping with her sister's unsolved murder has been painful.

"To have someone brutally murder her, as if she was nothing, is indescribable and unless a person has gone through it - you wouldn't understand," she said.

Cornes' family said they're relieved to finally put Taylor behind bars, but they won't have closure until his conviction.

"That's what we're waiting for now, for this person to actually pay for the crime," said Holmes.

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