Adrianne Reynolds faced a tragic end in 2005 when her so-called friends Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory took her life. We all know teenage years can be tough. High school is filled with its own set of challenges-juggling schoolwork and extracurriculars, dealing with cliques, and sometimes getting caught up in love interests. It’s a weird time in life. But in Adrianne’s case, what seemed like just another teenage spat escalated to something far darker.
About Adrianne Reynolds
Adrianne Leigh Reynolds was born on September 12th, 1988, in either Texas or Arkansas (sources vary), and was raised by a single mom. At some point her stepfather Tony Reynolds adopted her.
Adrianne lived with her mother in Kilgore, Texas, until she was 16. Adrianne had been struggling with high school and by the time she was 16, she had earned no high school credits. Adrianne couldn’t stand school and preferred to spend her time with her friends smoking weed.
So, her mother decided to send Adrianne to East Moline, Illinois, to live with her adoptive father Tony and her new stepmother Joann Reynolds.
Adrianne had a hard time at her new school in Illinois. She was a talented singer, and whenever she performed, people were deeply moved, sometimes even shedding tears. Her teachers often spoke of the emotional power of her voice.
But besides singing, her other school subjects didn’t quite capture her interest. She felt that solely pursuing singing might not be practical for her future. So, aiming for something more solid, Adrianne decided to join Black Hawk College Outreach, hoping to get her GED.
Life at Black Hawk
At Black Hawk College Outreach Center, was working toward her GED and dreaming of becoming a marine after graduation. She was popular, and making friends.
Adrianne proudly identified as a ‘Juggalo’, a passionate fan of the rap group Insane Clown Posse. These fans are known for wearing all-black and clown-like face paint. If you were alive in the 1990s, you’ve probably heard of this superfan subculture.
While at Black Hawk, Adrianne met and befriended Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory in 2004. When Sarah and Cory first met, they were in a romantic relationship, but eventually, they became just friends. But despite Sarah’s desire for a platonic relationship, Cory was reportedly still in love with Sarah.
I should note that Cory is now a transgender woman who goes by Harli Quinn. But I will refer to her as Cory because that was the name she was using at the time of the incident, and use she/her pronouns.
Sarah always wanted to be in the spotlight. Even though she knew about Cory’s feelings for her, she maintained their tight bond while dating another person. And when Cory befriended the new student, Adrianne Reynolds, he introduced her to Sarah. Cory and Sarah were both fellow Juggalos, leading to a fast friendship among the group. The trio spent plenty of time together, both during and after school.
Sarah and Adrianne clicked instantly. Soon, Sarah began to lean more towards Adrianne, sidelining Cory a bit. But Sarah, unbothered, started showing romantic interest in Adrianne. They exchanged letters, discussing Sarah’s bisexuality and Adrianne’s growing curiosity about her own feelings.
Jealousy was a simmering pot about to boil over. Friendships that once thrived began to shatter and tensions mounted. Jealousy was turning this friendship towards disaster.
About Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory
Sarah Kolb was born on April 23rd, 1988, growing up under the care of her parents in the town of Milan, Illinois. While many noticed her for her good looks and popularity, Sarah wasn’t your stereotypical bubbly cheerleader. Instead, she identified deeply with the Juggalo community.
Sarah, along with her close buddy Cory Gregory, passionately followed the Insane Clown Posse, taking pride in being Juggalos. With bold black accents in her hair, a touch of goth in her style, several facial piercings, and a fierce persona, Sarah made quite an impression.
School wasn’t her strongest suit, a challenge she shared with Adrianne. And she eventually enrolled at the Black Hawk Outreach Center, much like Adrianne.
Cory Gregory, born on November 2nd, 1987, was known to many as a quiet, reserved person. Most found Cory to be shy, choosing her words carefully when she did speak.
Cory was a Juggalo, and this shared passion led her to meet Sarah Kolb. With her, she felt s if he had found someone he could truly be himself around. They started off in a romantic relationship, but over time, Sarah decided to move on and even began dating someone new.
But their bond? It didn’t break. They remained close friends, with Cory secretly holding onto feelings for her. Often, the two would ditch their classes, losing themselves in music and occasionally smoking weed. They were two peas in a pod. However, everything began to shift when Adrianne Reynolds moved to East Moline, Illinois.
Even though there was some romance between Sarah and Adrianne, they never became an official pair. Sarah, while interested in Adrianne, kept her relationship with her boyfriend.
And she remained close to her best friend, Cory, who was deeply smitten by her. On the other side, Adrianne wasn’t tied down either; she was actively dating boys.
Sarah seemed to crave undivided attention, wanting everyone, especially boys, to be charmed solely by her. She would get frustrated and jealous whenever Adrianne showed interest in someone or even made a simple compliment about a boy’s looks.
Matters took another turn when Adrianne showed interest in Cory and asked him out. By December 2004, tensions boiled over. Sarah, who was extremely possessive of Cory, saw Adrianne’s actions as a breach.
Sarah already despised the fact that Adrianne dated other boys, and her interest in Cory was the breaking point. Sarah’s feelings changed from annoyance to hate and disgust for Adrianne.
Name-calling began, with Sarah calling Adrianne a slut. Despite all this, Adrianne tried time and again to mend fences with both Sarah and Cory. But Sarah, now deeply angered, aimed to make Adrianne’s life a living nightmare.
January 21, 2005
The Murder of Adrianne Reynolds
On January 21st, 2005, Sarah seemed to finally want to make peace with Adrianne. She, along with Cory—who had been by her side through thick and thin during every disagreement—asked Adrianne to get lunch with them plus Sarah’s boyfriend Sean McKitrick. They were all set to catch up at Taco Bell. Adrianne was hopeful, thinking she might mend fences with her buddies.
But tensions finally reached the breaking point. Sarah and Adrianne quickly got into an argument that lead to a physical altercation, and the two began trading blows.
Sarah’s boyfriend Sean asked Sarah to stop fighting, but Sarah told him to leave if he had a problem with it, so he did just that.
Cory didn’t stay on the sidelines. She helped Sarah, pinning Adrianne down. Sarah then took a wooden handle, which she apparently kept for self-defense, and viciously attacked Adrianne.
And then the situation turned fatal when Sarah used her belt to strangle Adrianne right in the car’s rear seat. This would ultimately kill Sarah.
After murdering Adrianne, Sarah and Cory hopped into their car and left Taco Bell. They then looked for a hidden spot to move Adrianne’s lifeless body to their car trunk without being seen.
The duo then thought it best to find a secluded place where they could hide away the evidence of their grim deed. They decided on Sarah’s grandparents’ farm.
At the farm, in a desperate attempt to destroy evidence, Sarah tried to burn Adrianne’s body, hoping it would turn to ashes. But burning a body isn’t as easy as that, so they had to come up with another plan
The day after Adrienne’s, Sarah and Cory turned to Nathan Gaudet, a 16-year-old classmate, for help with disposing of Adrianne’s body. Nathan, who was reported to be interested in violence, gore, and harming animals, showed up at the farm carrying a hacksaw. When Sarah urged Cory to help with the dismemberment, he said he couldn’t do it.
So, Nathan took on the horrific act of disassembling Adrianne’s body, separating her limbs and head from her torso. The majority of the remains were thrown in a ravine near the farm.
Later, after getting lunch at McDonald’s, they went to Black Hawk Historic Site in Rock Island. There, they buried the remaining parts of Adrianne deep under a manhole cover.
When Adrianne didn’t turn up for her shift at the local Checkers restaurant, her worried parents reported her missing to the authorities.
In response, the local police embarked on an exhaustive search, combing every possible area for signs of the missing teenager. Her desperate family distributed countless flyers throughout the city, praying someone might spot her.
And while most of her classmates claimed they hadn’t seen her on the day she vanished, an unidentified individual claimed to have seen Adrianne in a Taco Bell parking lot on January 21, 2005.
Pursuing this lead, the police found the clue they needed. Adrianne had last been seen with Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory. The focus shifted towards these two former friends of Adrianne.
As investigators pressed them, both initially insisted on their innocence. However, as the pressure mounted, one of them couldn’t hold back any longer, revealing the horrible truth.
Sarah told the police that she and Cory had briefly argued with Adrianne, but things had cooled off by the time they left her at a nearby McDonald’s. There was no mention of Nathan Gaudet in her story.
While Sarah and Nathan seemed unfazed and calculating, Cory Gregory was clearly upset. The weight of guilt became too much for her. During the interrogation, Cory couldn’t hold back any longer.
She spilled his guts about what had happened about a week earlier, in the back of Sarah’s car. Sarah had choked Adrianne Reynolds. The two then gruesomely took apart her body.
Guided by Cory’s directions, the police were taken to a manhole at the Black Hawk Historical Site. It was there they made a grim discovery: Adrianne’s decapitated arms and head.
The journey didn’t end there. At Sarah’s grandparents’ farm, they uncovered the remaining parts of Adrianne’s body, including her burned torso. The evidence found was undeniable, sealing a grim future for both Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory.
But Cory hadn’t mentioned Nathan Gaudet’s role in the tragedy. It was Nathan’s grandmother who filled in the blanks. She contacted the police after finding a blood-streaked hacksaw in her home. Upon being pressed about Nathan, Cory admitted that Nathan also had a part in disposing of Adrianne’s body.
The Trials and Sentences
On February 1, 2005, Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory found themselves facing severe charges. They were arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and concealment of a homicide
Sarah was the first to face a jury. Her trial began at the Rock Island County Courthouse on October 31, 2005. Two weeks later, after the jury spent 15 long hours deliberating, they couldn’t come to a consensus.
Out of twelve, one juror believed Sarah was innocent, while the remaining eleven felt she was guilty. Because of this division, the court declared a mistrial.
Sarah’s second trial, in Dixon, Illinois, started on February 6, 2006. This time, things were different. The jury convicted her on every charge. A few months later, the court handed down her punishment: 48 years for the murder, and another 5 for hiding it. In total, Sarah was sentenced to 53 years behind bars at the Logan Correctional Center.
As for Cory Gregory, admitted her guilt on all counts. On July 10, 2006, the court sentenced her to 40 years for the murder and an additional 5 for concealment, totaling 45 years. She’s now at the Stateville Correctional Center, serving her time.
Meanwhile, Nathan Gaudet stood trial for his part in the coverup. He was charged with concealment because he aided in dismembering Adrianne. Choosing to plead guilty, Nathan received a five-year sentence meant for younger offenders. He was released from juvenile detention on November 11, 2008, after almost four years.
After a 2011 Supreme Court decision ruled mandatory life sentences for juveniles unconstitutional, both Sarah and Cory (who is now going by Harli Quinn) saw a glimmer of hope for shorter sentences. Even though neither received a life sentence, the punishment they were equivalent to spending a lifetime in jail. So, they both sought new sentencing hearings.
Fast forward to 2020, Sarah’s request for a new hearing was denied. Now, her only shot at a lesser sentence lies in the hands of the governor. She’s reached out to JB Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, asking for clemency. She is still in prison serving her 53 years.
On the other hand, Harli Quinn got the green light for a new hearing. This ruling understandably upset Adrianne’s father and stepmother. They made sure the court remembered the life Harli and Sarah snatched from Adrianne, who was killed at just sixteen. By 2022, the court handed down the same forty-year sentence to Harli as before.
Now at 34, Harli expressed her remorse for her role in Adrianne’s murder, even saying she would trade places with her if she could. But her pleas didn’t change her fate. Harli continues her sentence in a male prison.
To Adrianne’s family’s relief, both convicts will stay locked up till they’re close to sixty.
Adrianne Reynolds’ story is a scary reminder of how envy can push people to commit terrible acts. Even though those responsible for her death are now locked away, it doesn’t erase the heartbreak.
I can only imagine the deep sadness and emptiness her loved ones must feel every day, even after all this time. The prison bars might keep her killers away from society, but they can’t cage the grief and loss that Adrianne’s family and friends must be dealing with.