Michigan man missing 30 years identified in Arkansas with DNA

BATTLE CREEK, Michigan -- A mother in Battle Creek, Michigan, has carried decades of heartache. This week, she learned the news she didn't want to hear.

Hattie Cornell's son Charles went missing in 1986.

But a police investigation never began because he was considered to be missing voluntarily, WWMT-TV reports.

His family thought Charles Cornell was in a missing persons database, but he wasn't. They only found out this year, then contacted police and gave DNA samples hoping to find him.

On Tuesday, Charles Cornell's mother learned there was a match in Ashley County, Arkansas.

Charles Cornell had been hit and killed by a tractor-trailer on a highway three years after going missing.

"Now we have some closure, but it leaves a hurt in my heart because it's been so long. We never had any contact... nothing, just complete silence, and then all of a sudden we get this news," said Hattie Cornell.

A Michigan state police detective says a case like this highlights the importance of families of missing persons getting DNA samples on file.