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Medical Examiner: Brianna Armstrong died from decapitation, dismemberment

Posted at 12:25 PM, Sep 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-01 17:53:09-04

Chesapeake, Va. - The cause of death for a Virginia Beach woman whose remains were found three weeks after she was reported missing has been released.

A Medical Examiner says Brianna Armstrong died from unspecified criminal violence with decapitation, dismemberment, and suffered post-mortem mutilation. The manner of death, however, is still undetermined.

Brianna Armstrong

Brianna Armstrong

Armstrong's remains were found May 31st in a wooded area near the Great Dismal Swamp Canal in Chesapeake. Her husband reported her missing in Virginia Beach on May 7th.

During that whole time, family and friends searched for her. Court papers say someone, somewhere was keeping her alive for most of the time she was missing.

When police found her remains, the documents say she had been murdered just a few days earlier. The day after the remains were found, police identified them as Brianna's.

Her body was discovered in pieces and thrown into trash bags.

Several days after her remains were found, Armstrong's former co-worker at Knuckles & Knots in Chesapeake was arrested for 2nd Degree Murder in relation to her death.

Search warrants revealed that investigators found property belonging to 38-year-old Justin Keith Cornell in the trash bags that contained Brianna's remains. During the search of Cornell's apartment, the same type of trash bags were also found.

Cornell was denied bond and has been in jail since May.

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