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Family of Adrianne Reynolds kept out of the loop as convicted murderer challenges sentence nearly 16 years later

The family has since begun to get the notifications they should have been getting all along through the special prosecutor.

ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. — The Family of Adrianne Reynolds says the pain is still raw when they think about their daughter. 

Adrianne Reynolds was 16 years old when she was strangled to death by two of her classmates, Sarah Kolb and Cory Gregory.  

After the murder, which happened in January of 2005, Kolb and Gregory took Adrianne's body to Kolb's grandparents' farm where they tried to burn the body. After that failed they had another classmate, Nathan Gaudet, help dismember Adrianne's body using a handsaw.  Adrianne's body was then placed in a garbage bag and taken to the Black Hawk State Historic Site. Gregory later brought investigators to the site where Adrianne's body was left.

Adrianne's father, Tony Reynolds tells News 8, "It's like it was yesterday."  

The family lives near the Taco Bell where Adrianne was killed in the parking lot.  The family says they drive by there twice a day, and when they pass by they always say a prayer.

Through the years, new case law came about in Illinois which allowed Gregory and Kolb to file for an appeal. Kolb was denied, Gregory was approved. 

RELATED: Sarah Kolb seeks to appeal 48 year sentence for Adrianne Reynolds murder

Linda Watson, with the Illinois State Bar Association explained that as Gregory is serving his sentence, case law is changing. 

"Mr. Gregory had been sentenced all the way back in 2006 so as he's sitting in prison and all this case law is coming out he's saying, wait a minute I didn't have that, they didn't do that in my case," she said, "so when he took that up with the appellate court in the third district of Illinois, the third district said, you're right, we didn't have this law back then we do we find that this is the law and it's his constitutional right to have those findings at the time of sentencing."

That means the State has to redo Cory Gregory's sentencing. But the Reynolds family wasn't notified that Cory Gregory had even filed for an appeal.

RELATED: Cory Gregory back in court in resentencing appeal for murder of Adrianne Reynolds

"The first thing I thought, is that it made me mad," said Tony Reynolds. "Through the whole trial we were always there."

We asked Dora Villareal, Rock Island County State's Attorney why notifications didn't happen. 

"Sometimes we're not told when the Department of Corrections is sending someone back here to Rock Island County," said Villareal. "It's like Oh guess whose back here and we need to set a hearing date."

News 8's David Bohlman verified with the Department of Corrections and they tell us, "In the case of a reverse and remand, notifications are made to the State’s Attorney of the committing county and the Circuit Clerk. IDOC also communicates with the County Sheriff’s Office to arrange for transport. If there is a victim notification request on file, we inform the Prisoner Review Board so they can make the notification."

Credit: WQAD
Email from Illinois Department of Corrections official

The Rock Island County Sheriff's Office says they received the paperwork showing when Gregory would be moved back. 

For inmates in custody of the Department of Corrections, notifications are up to the Prisoner Review Board, which is an entity responsible for offenders' conduct evaluations and release conditions. 

However, once Gregory's appeal was granted, the Prisoner Review Board no longer has jurisdiction because Gregory was no longer held in the Department of Corrections custody. Instead, the jurisdiction came down to Rock Island County because that is where Gregory was being held. 

While victims have the right to be notified, there are several entities where a victim would need to register. If they register with the county, they will only get notifications when the county has jurisdiction. If a victim registers with the state, a victim will only get notifications on a change in an offender's status if the offender is in state jurisdiction. 

The Prisoner Review Board says any local victim's rights coordinator should be getting a victim signed up on all platforms, but like in the Reynolds case, that didn't happen.

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