Crimes of Passion

Anatomy Of A Love Triangle: Jealous Teen Strangles And Dismembers Classmate

Sarah Kolb finally felt like she fit in. Then, a new girl arrived and changed everything. 

January 21, 2005: Police in East Moline, Illinois, got a call from a man named Tony Reynolds. His daughter Adrianne was missing. According to Adrianne’s father, the 16-year-old hadn’t come home after school that afternoon, or shown up for her after-school job at a local fast-food restaurant.

He told Snapped on Oxygen: “I knew immediately something was wrong, because she didn’t go to work. She loved going to work. She’d get ready an hour before she was supposed to be there. Her boss said she would never miss work. She was a dependable kid.”

Adrianne Reynolds had recently moved up to Illinois from Texas, just a couple months earlier. Her classmates, Cory Gregory and Sarah Kolb, were the last ones to be seen with her.

Like Adrienne, Sarah Kolb knew what it was like to be the new kid in town. She was born into a military family that traveled all over the world. Sarah was trying to find her identity, and she found solace in the horror-themed hip-hop group called the Insane Clown Posse. She and Cory met and become friends a year earlier, after meeting at a local mall and sharing a joint. They were inseparable. It was common knowledge that Cory had a crush on Sarah but Sarah was more into girls. Sarah and Cory started hanging out with the local group of Juggalos and after years of feeling like an outcast, Sarah finally felt like she fit in. She became the group’s leader, the alpha female. She was the one who called the shots.

Then Adrienne Reynolds showed up. Adrianne had grown up fast. She was smoking pot almost daily as a youth and she went into treatment for crystal meth as a young teen. In November of 2004, two months after her sixteenth birthday, she was sent to Illinois to live with her father. The first time Sarah laid eyes on Adrianne, she told a friend, “Look at her. She’s hot.”

The feeling was mutual. They two teens wanted to date each other.  

After a few weeks of flirtatious note passing, the girls went off to a party together. Adrianne got romantic, but not with Sarah. Adrianne left the party for a few hours, and when she came back she allegedly told Sarah that she had slept with two guys she met at the party. After that confession, Sarah decided that she didn’t want to date Adrianne anymore but Adrianne wasn’t ready to give up. She began pursuing Sarah and wrote her letters stating, “Oh, I really like you.  Give me a second chance.”

Sarah began telling everyone that she was going to kick Adrianne’s ass. For weeks, the teens went back and forth. Adrianne would write notes to Sarah asking,  “Why do you hate me? Why do you hate me so much?  Why are you telling everybody you want to kick my ass?”

“After that party … Sarah just thought that she was, she felt threatened by her I guess, like she thought that she was gonna take all of her friends, leave her all alone,” said Jonathan Polanchek, a friend of Adrianne’s.

On January 21, 2005, Sarah finally talked to Adrienne in the school hallway, asking her to lunch. They headed off to Taco Bell and Adrianne was never seen again.

That evening, Tony Reynolds called the East Moline Illinois police to report Adrianne missing. Based on what Adrianne’s father and stepmother told them about Adrianne's life, police initially thought the teen had just run away from home. But she had left her paycheck and all her clothes behind.

Police were soon given the names of Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory. An officer called Sarah. She told the officer that after lunch, she had dropped Adrianne off at McDonald’s, at Adrianne’s request.

“If you do hear anything, I would appreciate it if you would call me and let me know,” Sarah told police.

Police also called Cory. He said he was with the girls, and that they had gotten into a disagreement over something on the way to Taco Bell.

Police called Sarah again. She explained that the argument in the car was over a letter that Adrianne had written to Cory.

“She had been hanging out with my friend who likes me and I like him, but she likes him and we got into an argument about that because she wouldn’t leave him alone," Sarah said over the phone. 

Sarah was soon interviewed in an interrogation room at the police station. She said that she and Adrianne had argued, got into a punching match and then parted ways. Police asked if Adrianne was in good condition when Sarah left, and Sarah replied yes.

Cory’s family began noticing that something was bothering the teen. He was unable to sleep for days. Guilt was eating away at him.

Four days after Adrianne’s disappearance, Cory’s father called police and said his son wanted to talk.

Cory told police that Sarah had been angry when she drove to Taco Bell that Friday. He said that Sarah was mad at Adrianne because Sarah did not want Adrianne to hang out with her friends anymore, especially her best friend Cory. Cory said that when Adrianne had started writing him notes, Sarah decided she needed to put her foot down. But Adrianne wasn’t having it. The two teens started punching and choking each other. Cory told police that he stayed completely out of the fight, that he was mostly looking out the car window during the altercation. When Cory claimed he decided to intervene, the fight was over. Sarah had locked Adrianne into a chokehold. Adrianne was blue in the face. Cory said she was dead at that point. Cory claimed Sarah then came up with a body disposal plan. He said they drove out to Sarah’s house, where she picked up a gas can out of the garage. Then the duo drove to Sarah’s grandparents’ farm. Cory told detectives that they had driven to a secluded spot in the woods on the back of the property. Then, Cory said he waited in the car while Sarah tried to dispose of Adrianne’s body: he said Sarah took the body out of the trunk all by herself and dragged it over to an area, put a tarp on the body before pouring gas on it, and lit Adrianne on fire. The body burned, according to Cory, but not as much as Sarah hoped. Sarah allegedly lit her on fire, poured more gas on her -- at least three or four different times. Then, the pair decided to sleep on it and brainstorm how to get rid of the body. Cory told the detectives that he helped cover the charred body with brush.

Sarah dropped Cory off at his house and then she went home. On Saturday, Sarah had to work. It wasn’t until Sunday that he and Sarah came back to the farm -- with a saw. Adrianne’s head and hands were cut off because they are identifying pieces of the body. Cory claimed Sarah dismembered Adrianne before leaving Adrianne’s torso and legs in a ravine on the farm. They then took the head and the arms in a trash bag and drove out to Black Hawk State Park where Sarah dumped Adrianne’s remains along a trail, at the bottom of a storm sewer.

Police, Cory and his lawyers went to the state park and Cory led detectives to the manhole. In it, a black plastic garbage bag with Adrianne’s head and the arms.

The next day, Sarah was taken into custody. She refused to do another interview or give a statement. Both of the teenagers were charged with first-degree murder.

17-year-old Sarah Kolb’s murder trial began on Halloween 2005. In its open, the defense went after Cory, claiming that the statement he gave the police was a cover-up. The defense stated that Cory was the real killer. To prove that Sarah was the one behind Adrianne’s death, the prosecution showed the jury Sarah’s personal journals. In one entry, Sarah wrote, “I want to [expletive] kill her.” Classmate Nathan Gaudet was called to the stand by the prosecution. He said that Sarah didn’t cut up Adrianne’s body. He did.

Nathan said that on the Sunday after Adrianne went missing, Sarah and Cory had called him to ask if he wanted “to see something cool.” He testified that they asked, “Hey Nate, you wanna come see a dead body?”

Nathan told jurors that he brought over a saw and helped Sarah and Cory dismember Adrianne’s body. They took the head and the arms in a trash bag, threw it in the trunk of their car, and stopped at the McDonald’s drive-thru to eat before going to the park. Nathan said he did it out of loyalty.

“I thought I was just helping a couple of friends out.”

He said that Sarah and Cory were laughing at the corpse, telling Adrianne that she deserved what she got for being promiscuous.

In court, Sarah admitted that she and Adrianne had fought in the Taco Bell parking lot, but said that it was Cory who killed her. She said that she didn’t have the strength in her hands to strangle somebody. Sarah was emotionless as she described the death.

The jury just couldn’t decided. The trial ended in a hung jury.

So, Sarah went on trial a second time. This time, the defense made a dramatic change. They didn’t call Sarah to the stand.

“I don’t think anyone expected during the first trial she would be so cold and so emotionless and that probably hurt her,” said Nicol Lally, a reporter who covered the trials.

On February 22nd, the jury found Sarah Kolb guilty of murder. She was sentenced to 48 years for murder, to be served without parole.  She also received five additional years for concealing a homicide. Sarah Kolb said at her sentencing that she felt nothing as Adrianne died.

“She was cold, very cold for 16,” said Tony Reynolds.

Sarah has exhausted her appeals.  When released from prison, she will be at least 66 years old. Cory pled guilty to one count of first-degree murder, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Nathan Gaudet served three years for concealing a homicide.

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Crimes of Passion

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