Further charges expected
A preliminary hearing has been set in the case of the 19-year-old Elkins man who was arrested on kidnapping charges this week, and more charges may be pending.
The hearing for James E. Cornett III – who has been charged with one felony count of kidnapping, abducting or concealing a child – is slated for 2 p.m. Thursday in Randolph County Magistrate Court. As of presstime, Cornett remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bond.
Cornett allegedly offered two females under the age of 13 $20 to pretend to be a woman’s children so the woman, Corcia Smith, who also goes by the name Corcia Ramey, could obtain money under false pretenses from a man.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk’s Office, Sgt. S.R. Judy with the Elkins Police Department was dispatched to an area near the Central Towers Apartments.
The female juveniles’ parents reportedly told Judy that the two girls, who are friends, were walking to one of their houses to stay the night when they were allegedly approached by Cornett, who is a cousin to one of the girls.
Cornett allegedly asked the two girls to pretend to be the daughters of his friend Shelly Smith -later discovered to be Corcia Ramey/Smith -and convinced them to accompany him into Central Towers Apartment 208, the complaint states.
One of the minors refused to cooperate and left; however, the other girl told authorities she was scared to leave. The girl who remained in the apartment told police that Corcia Smith “watched her get undressed” and “did her hair and put makeup on her,” according to the complaint. Smith allegedly gave the girl two different outfits to wear, put jewelry on her and then gave her “an unknown pill which (the minor) said made her dizzy.”
The minor said Smith wanted her to pretend to be her daughter because “(Smith) needed to convince Jimmy Tincher she had a daughter,” according to the complaint.
“(Smith) has received money from Jimmy Tincher with the understanding that Jimmy was providing for the child,” Judy wrote in the report. “However, (Smith) does not have a child in her custody. This appears to be a fraudulent scheme in which (Smith) is obtaining money from Jimmy Tincher under false pretenses.”
The youth who refused to cooperate with Cornett and Smith gave a statement saying she saw Smith and her friend climb into a Tinchers Towing Service truck; the friend told police that Tincher took her and Smith to Wendy’s “and got her something to eat and then brought them back to Central Towers.”
Smith allegedly told the girl who went to Wendy’s with her and Tincher that she “would give her $20 after school.”
Upon further review of a case in which Corcia Smith and Steven Leonard Smith were alleged to have committed burglary, police determined that the name “Shelly Smith” used by Cornett was one of two aliases employed by Corcia Smith.
Judy reportedly obtained a statement from Corcia Smith in which she admitted to “obtaining (money) from Jimmy Tincher recently.”
“Corcia would not give an explanation or a reason why Jimmy Tincher has been giving her money,” Judy wrote in the report.
Judy filed a criminal complaint against Cornett and Corcia Smith, charging them each with kidnapping, abducting or concealing a child; however, Corcia Smith – who remained in the TVRJ on burglary charges related to a separate incident as of presstime – has not been arraigned on that charge.
Judy also charged Steven Smith with obstructing because he “willingly provided a false name for Corcia Ramey (Smith) and actively participated in concealing Corcia’s true identity” when Judy questioned him regarded the alleged kidnapping. Steven Smith is also lodged in the TVRJ on burglary charges stemming from a separate incident.
“It should be mentioned on the right side of Corcia’s neck is a tattoo of the name ‘Steven’,” Judy wrote, “and on the right side of Steven’s neck is a tattoo of the name ‘Corcia.'”
Cornett was arrested Tuesday after deputies with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic incident between Cornett and his sister that reportedly took place at the Mountaineer Apartments in Beverly.
While investigating the incident, officers ran a National Crime Information Center search on Cornett and discovered an outstanding warrant for his arrest on kidnapping charges.
The penalty for kidnapping, abducting and concealing a child is a jail term of one to 10 years in the state penitentiary.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.