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Mother’s Day painful for murder victim’s mom

By Staff | May 8, 2009

Most of Cape Coral homicides cases have been solved, but one has remained a mystery for the past 19 years, despite being brought back into the limelight every year.
“We are coming upon the 19th anniversary,” said Connie Barron, police spokesperson. “In a painful twist of timing, this year’s anniversary falls on Mother’s Day. The murders have perplexed investigators since May 10, 1990.”
On that day, Jan Cornell had returned to her townhouse in the Courtyards North at 621 S. E. 12th Ave. There she found both her 11-year-old daughter, Robin, and 32-year-old roommate, Lisa Story, had been murdered.
“Lisa had just moved in and had agreed to babysit with Robin while Jan visited her boyfriend the night before,” Barron wrote in a prepared statement. “Early that morning, Jan Cornell returned to her home to find her daughter’s naked body lying on the floor of her bedroom. Lisa’s body also was found in her bed. Both victims were suffocated and sexually assaulted.”
Today, hope of bringing a murderer to justice is what encourages Jan Cornell to reopen an emotional wound that will never heal.
“She continues to hold out hope that her daughter’s murder someday will be solved, and she supports the Cape Coral Police Department’s steadfast determination to find the killer,” Barron said. “If anyone has any information regarding this case, please call the Cape Coral Police Department at (239) 574-3223 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.”
Over the years, continued efforts by Cape Coral Police have not brought a suspect. Two years ago, after the double murder had been featured twice on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” without bringing positive results, Cape Police hired a retired New York City detective, Fidel Balan, to investigate this cold case and try to develop any new leads on the murders.
“Balan was unable to solve the case prior to the expiration of his contract,” Barron said, “and the double-homicide has been featured twice on America’s Most Wanted, airing on Jan. 21, 2006 and again on July 28, 2007.”
The show had presented a re-enactment based on evidence at the scene. Police had uncovered DNA indicating the attacker was a white male with type-O blood. A set of keys was also found at the scene, possibly left by the killer.
The Cape Coral police’s lead investigator at the time was Sgt. Doug Christiansen. The night the show aired, he was in Maryland where the tips were called in, to help sorting them out. None provided a worthwhile lead.
The show’s hotline is: 1-800-CRIME-TV. Tips or information also can be e-mailed from the show’s Web site at: www.amw.com
From this page, click on the link “To Report a Tip” at the top, on the right side. The site reports a total of 1067 fugitives caught worldwide, but none ever for the Cape’s double murder of 1990.
Cape Coral police have not given up solving the double murder, according to Barron.
“Two detectives in the Major Case Unit from the department’s Investigative Services Bureau have been assigned the case,” she said. “Detective Kurt Grau and Detective Christy Jo Ellis have been tasked with reviewing the case files and continuing to develop leads. The detectives remain optimistic even though a significant amount of time has passed since Robin and Lisa were killed. Several interviews have been conducted recently, and new theories are being explored.”
Neither detective was available for comment Friday.