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Author Topic: Murder in Roby  (Read 27602 times)

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Offline Law101

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #30 on: March 17, 2007, 01:25:32 AM »

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Houston Herald has the information stating was posted by keep the gate open.  I went to their website but there are no other details on this incident.

Offline lisababylove

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #31 on: March 17, 2007, 03:56:31 AM »
I posted it in another post.  It involved two kids.......accidental shooting.

Offline mar

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #32 on: March 18, 2007, 01:00:21 PM »
Witness: Victim
Saved Her Life
NEW - Posted at 6:05 p.m.: An eyewitness to a Texas County murder said late Saturday afternoon that suspect Neldon Neal threw bar stools and brandished weapons after arriving at his home Tuesday afternoon.

Neal and a friend came home where he found his wife and her former daughter-in-law. A terrible fight broke out on the property, said Marsha Sumrall of Rolla, whose 2-year-old daughter also was there.

An intoxicated Neal immediately began fighting with his wife, Judy Lewis, who had spent part of the day washing a dump truck that belonged to Neal and talking to Sumrall and her daughter. Later, Neal chased Lewis around the property with a knife sharpener.

"I tried to kill him [with a gun], because he was going to kill my mom [in-law]," said Sumrall of Rolla in a telephone call to the Herald. However, the gun's safety was on and it failed to fire, she said. Neal left and returned with a bigger gun. He grabbed the smaller gun, Sumrall said, and put it to her head while pointing the other weapon at Lewis' chest.

"I've never seen anything that crazy - not even on TV," Sumrall said.

"My mom jumped on his back and he threw her off and he threw her into the truck and pulled the trigger and then smoke came out of her chest" and Lewis collapsed to the ground.

A Neal acquaintance, known only to Sumrall as "Tator," put Lewis in Sumrall's car as the Phelps County woman prepared to get help.

Neal later put the gun in his mouth, but later discharged it into the air.

Sumrall arrived at a nearby store and held Lewis in her arms. "I think she went to heaven in my arms," she said.

Sumrall said she believes his former mother-in-law saved her life. "She was just a wonderful friend," she said.


Offline mar

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2007, 12:57:05 AM »
NEW - Posted at 5:40 p.m - ROBY - Officers from several agencies continue to search for Neldon Neal, the 60-year-old Roby man who is accused of murdering a woman here Tuesday afternoon.

From a command post at the Roby Fire Station, officers are fielding calls and visits from those providing possible tips as to Neal's location. The suspect, who was released from prison in late 2005, is considered dangerous and is known to be carrying two weapons. Neal also is nursing a gunshot wound to his shoulder from a previous altercation prior to the murder.
Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said while officers are weary, they are determined to find Neal. Lawmen quickly sealed the area off following the fatal shooting. Two witnesses told authorities that Neal fled into the woods after Judy Lewis, 51, was murdered.

Until there is proof that Neal, at left, has either fled the area or killed himself, officers will remain on the scene, the sheriff announced. Authorities on Friday announced a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information about Neal's location. There have been no reported stolen vehicles or break-ins during the manhunt.

On Sunday afternoon officers are continuing their patrols and following leads. Neal's son, Nathan, also made a television appeal today urging his father to turn himself in. That segment will air on KOLR, a CBS affiliate in Springfield.

The sheriff and Texas County Prosecutor Mike Anderson said that Neal, upon his arrest, will be treated fairly and they want him to know that if he has access to media reports.

Watson said residents of Roby have provided great cooperation, and members of the Roby Fire Department have extended many courtesies to officers working in the field. The community continues to pitch in to provide food for about 25 officers working the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Neal should call the Incident Command Post (417-458-4214), Texas County Sheriff's Department (417-967-4165) or Troop G Headquarters (417-469-3121).


Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2007, 09:27:34 PM »
www.houstonherald.com

BREAKING: A command post at Roby is no longer operational, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson told the Herald minutes ago. Increased law enforcement resources will remain in the area as the search continues for Neldon Neal, who is wanted in the murder of his wife a week ago.

Watson also said Neal suffers from several medical conditions that likely would make it difficult to survive without medication.

The decision to close the command post came after leads reduced to a trickle, and no sign of Neal has been seen since he headed into the woods following the shooting. Watson said increased patrols will continue, and leaders from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri State Water Patrol both pledged their support should information surface.

The announcement came nearly a week after Neal is accused of shooting his wife, Judy Lewis, 51, at a trailer on Highway 32.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Neal should call the Texas County Sheriff's Department. A reward of $1,000 is available to those providing information as to the location.


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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2007, 09:35:43 PM »
Gosh I cannot hardly believe they still have not caught that man.....

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2007, 12:25:47 PM »
From today's Houston Herald:  http://www.houstonherald.com/

Sheriff: Neal
Remains on Run
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor

Authorities believe they are closing the gap on Neldon Neal.

Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Wednesday morning that he "definitely believed" Neal, who has eluded officers for more than two weeks after allegedly killing his wife March 13 in Roby, is alive and still in the area.

"We have information that we feel is good in the case," Watson said. "Really, we've received information every day."

The new development is positive news in the search for the notorious Neal. After an eight-day manhunt yielded no sightings and as fewer and fewer leads trickled in, Watson last week dismantled a Roby command post -- just 1/4 miles from where a drunken Neal allegedly shot and killed Judy Lewis in front of her former daughter-in-law.

Watson once presumed that Neal, at left, was dead by self-inflected wound or for health reasons without proper medication. Now he believes Neal is still on the run.

"I think we'll figure out soon where he's at," Watson said. "We feel like he's still alive and in the area, and in the next short time we'll be able to get him located."

Neal, a career criminal with multiple offenses involving guns, was last seen disappearing into the rugged woods behind the trailer where the shooting occurred. He was dressed in camouflage and carrying a pair of handguns.

Multiple agencies throughout the region assisted in an eight-day manhunt -- the longest in modern county history. Road blocks were immediately set up at the northern Texas County line as Missouri State Highway Patrol helicopter flew above the Mark Twain National Forest.

Early tips had officers searching abandoned buildings in the area and many caves -- Neal, an outdoorsman who grew up in the area, is familiar with the layout of the land -- were considered potential hiding spots. One lead had officers converging at an Arkansas residence and recent threatening phone calls a women in the same state received from Neal has increased patrols in area.

Watson wouldn't reveal the nature of the most recent leads, but he sounded positive that the ordeal might soon be over.

"We're going to continue searching until we get him," Watson said.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Neal should call the Texas County Sheriff's Department (417-967-4165) or Troop G headquarters (417-469-3121).

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2007, 03:11:37 PM »
www.houstonherald.com

Authorities Unsure
Of Neal's Location
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor
Authorities have broadened their search for Neldon Neal as they continue to hunt down the suspected killer.

Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Tuesday that along with routine patrols through Roby -- where Neal allegedly shot and killed his wife on March 13 -- officials have targeted areas of interest in Bakersfield, Calif., and Mountain Home, Ark.

Watson said last week he believed Neal was alive and in the area. But after seven more days passed without any sign of the notorious criminal, Watson isn't sure where Neal could be hiding.

"We haven't had any leads from the public in the last week," Watson said.

Neal has eluded police officers for 25 days -- eight consisting of the longest manhunt in recent county history -- since he was last seen disappearing into the rugged woods behind the trailer where an argument led to the death of his common law wife, Judy Lewis. He was dressed in camouflage and carrying a pair of handguns as he fled into the Mark Twain National Forest.

As leads dry up around Roby, authorities most recently focused their attention to potential hiding places in other states. Watson said a potential place of refuge could be Bakersfield, where Neal's 32-year-old son, Nalin Neal, resides. Neldon Neal fled to the area 18 years ago to elude authorities after kidnapping and raping an Arkansas woman.

Like his father, Nalin Neal is a repeat offender and familiar name among local officers. Watson said there are two warrants in Houston for his arrest: a 2006 county misdemeanor of insufficient funds for passing bad checks and failure to appear on a city traffic charge.

Authorities are also keeping a close eye in Arkansas, where a previous victim recently received threatening calls from Neal. A tip early in the investigation had officers converging at a residence in the same county where a man believed he saw Neal. It proved to be a false lead.

Watson continues to seek clues from the public as the search for Neal continues. Earlier, lawmen announced a $1,000 reward for information that might lead to the fugitive's arrest.

Anyone with information regarding his whereabouts should call the Texas County Sheriff's Department (417-967-4165) or Troop G headquarters (417-469-3121).


"The investigation will continue until he is caught," Watson said.




Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #38 on: April 10, 2007, 05:56:47 PM »
Latest update via www.houstonherald.com

Sheriff Vows To Maintain
Search for Neal
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor
It's been a month since Neldon Neal disappeared into the rugged woods of the Mark Twain National Forest after allegedly killing his common law wife. He hasn't been seen since.

"It's been four weeks today," Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Tuesday morning, "and that's far too long."

Watson said authorities continue to seek clues and follow leads as they track down the notorious Neal, who on March 13 shot and killed Judy Lewis in front of witnesses following an argument inside a Roby trailer.

On that day, Neal was still nursing a shoulder wound from a previous gunfight with Lewis' son, who in January was killed in an exchange with officers in Texas.

Watson emphasized that any information given to authorities would remain confidential and anonymous.

Those with leads don't need to concern themselves with their identifies leaking to Neal - or anyone else, said Watson. Earlier, authorities announced that $1,000 is available to anyone providing tips as to the fugitive's location.

Helpful leads have been few and far between, Watson said. Authorities converged on a Laclede County residence Thursday where someone believed they saw Neal running from a vehicle into the home. There was also a false sighting of Neal last week in Pulaski County.

After focusing their efforts near the murder scene, authorities broadened their search last week for the suspected killer. Targeted areas of interest included Bakersfield, Calif. -- where Neal's 32-year-old son, Nalin Neal, resides -- and Mountain Home, Ark. Neldon Neal recently made threatening calls to one of his previous victims in the area.

Neal has eluded police officers for 29 days -- eight consisting of the longest manhunt in recent county history -- since he was last seen disappearing into the rugged woods behind the trailer dressed in camouflage and carrying a pair of handguns. Watson believes he is still alive, as well as armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information regarding Neal's whereabouts should call the Texas County Sheriff's Department (417-967-4165) or Troop G headquarters (417-469-3121).

"We're doing everything we can do and checking everything we can," Watson said. "We'll stay with it until we get him located."


Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2007, 07:23:13 PM »
3 women charged with helping Neal

http://www.houstonherald.com/

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2007, 09:32:58 PM »
Wow does that mean he's still in the area?  What stupid stupid stupid women!!!!!!
Women are Angels

And when someone breaks our wings....

We simply continue to fly.........on a broomstick...

Because we are flexible like that

Offline thelights

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2007, 04:47:52 AM »
I take it he still hasn't been found??  I hadn't heard anything in a while and had been wondering and then I saw that story of the 3 women helping him on KY3's website.  They are in for a world of hurt aren't they??

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2007, 12:36:23 PM »
Great photos off hide-out on website:  www.houstonherald.com

Neal's Log Home
Uncovered in Woods
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor
Posted at 6:59 p.m.Wednesday: Neldon Neal drank beer, ate food and even read the newspaper as he hid inside a hollow log for more than a week as authorities combed the woods around him looking for the suspected killer.

One of three women facing hindering prosecution charges for her role in aiding Neal, who has been on the run since he allegedly murdered his common law wife on March 13 in Roby, took authorities to his hiding place in the northwest corner of Texas County Wednesday afternoon. Less than one mile down Sante Ann Road and a few hundred feet into the rugged woods, officers found an abandoned log with trash and other debris from Neal's weeklong stay there.

Accused murderer Neldon H. Neal, 60, hid in this log as officers swarmed around him. Above, lawmen this afternoon as they uncovered Neal's hiding spot. In the middle photo, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson examines the hollow log. At left, a look inside where Neal is suspected of spending a week.

The investigation continues tonight, officials told the Herald.

The women, who admitted they brought supplies to Neal multiple times, said they last saw him at the location March 29.

Accompanied by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a K-9 unit, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson was led to the hiding spot where officers just last month had searched for Neal as part of the longest manhunt in recent county history. He said they missed spotting the notorious criminal by mere feet.

At one end of the log, which was snapped in two, beer cans, chip wrappers and even Band-aids had been stuffed deep inside. A makeshift canopy -- supported by tree limbs and covered with branches -- at the other end is where authorities believe Neal hid and slept. They found batteries, along with more beer and food, and the March 15 edition of the Herald -- detailing the murder and subsequent manhunt. 2007 Houston Herald

Authorities this afternoon uncovered the hiding place of Neldon Neal. See the day in this photo gallery.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sheriff: Three Women
Arrested in Neal Inquiry
By Jeff McNiell and Brad Gentry
Houston Herald
Murder suspect Neldon Neal received food, camping gear and even took showers at the home of one of three women in police custody for aiding the notorious villain.

Through court documents and interviews, authorities said Wednesday morning that Neal, charged in the March 13 second-degree murder of his common law wife, received help from a trio of women over a period of days after he was last seen running into the woods off Highway 32 in Roby following the shooting. Facing charges of hindering prosecution are Evelyn Lansdown, 32; Mary E. Thomas, 37; and Erica Moore, 31. All three are being held at the Texas County Jail on $25,000 bond each.

"We want anyone who may be harboring him, to know that consequences for helping Neal are substantial," Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said early Wednesday morning.

According to authorities, Neal showed up at Lansdown's trailer in Evening Shade -- about four miles from the shooting scene -- four days after allegedly killing Judy Lewis. There he showered and gathered a variety of items including food, a backpack, bible, bottled water and clothes. Thomas and Moore, who also lives there, were at the trailer.

Moore said she then drove Neal to the woods -- in extreme northwest Texas County along Sainte Anna Road. -- near where authorities from multiple agencies were combing the Mark Twain National Forest as part of the largest manhunt in modern Texas County history.

Moore, who once lived in Houston, has children with Neldon Neal's son, Nalin. She once resided in the trailer where the murder occurred. Lansdown and Thomas are sisters.

While Neal hid in a hollowed log, the women, many times accompanied by their children, brought him food and other supplies. One of those charged, Lansdown, in a telephone interview, said Wednesday afternoon that children were never taken to Neal's location - until they were sure he already gone. Those familiar with the inquiry - which surfaced publicly Wednesday morning through court documents obtained by the Houston Herald - said Thomas, who is Lansdown's sister and lives less than a mile from the shooting scene, drove to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield around March 25 to buy Neal a tent and sleeping bag.


Investigators said seven children belonging to Moore and Lansdown were taken into custody by juvenile authorities Tuesday as details of the women's involvement unfolded. Authorities were drawn to the children after they set fire to an outbuilding Monday on Evening Shade Road in an attempt to stay warm. Officers interviewed them the following day.

"We want others who may be aiding him to know that they face prosecution," said Watson, whose department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are leading the investigation into the murder and finding Neal, who is nursing a wound from an altercation late last year with his wife's son. Earlier this year Lewis' son was fatally shot in a standoff with police in Texas.

In interviews with investigators on Tuesday, the women told officers they don't believe that Neal's injury or reported health conditions are serious. In fact, Neal concocted his health issues to draw a medical disability, the women told officers.

At presstime, officers were scouring the woods where Neal was last seen March 29. The women say they arrived to his hiding spot only to find Neal vanished. 2007 Houston Herald


Offline Coyote

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2007, 01:29:07 PM »
OMG!!!!!  Does anyone here read The Onion (www.theonion.com)??  This is priceless.

"While Neal hid in a hollowed log, the women, many times accompanied by their children, brought him food and other supplies. One of those charged, Lansdown, in a telephone interview, said Wednesday afternoon that children were never taken to Neal's location - until they were sure he already gone. Those familiar with the inquiry - which surfaced publicly Wednesday morning through court documents obtained by the Houston Herald - said Thomas, who is Lansdown's sister and lives less than a mile from the shooting scene, drove to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield around March 25 to buy Neal a tent and sleeping bag.


Investigators said seven children belonging to Moore and Lansdown were taken into custody by juvenile authorities Tuesday as details of the women's involvement unfolded. Authorities were drawn to the children after they set fire to an outbuilding Monday on Evening Shade Road in an attempt to stay warm. Officers interviewed them the following day
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline fknarmyguyretired

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2007, 10:49:09 PM »
more from the Houston hearld

http://www.houstonherald.com/

I can't believe these women spent $400 on neal but can't keep the heat going in thier house to keep the children warm.

What were they thinking??

Offline jlh

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2007, 02:12:16 AM »
OMG!!! I've known these girls since they were little kids. I can't believe they would do something so stupid.

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #46 on: April 13, 2007, 12:45:33 PM »
www.houstonherald.com


Neal Nearly Found
Earlier, Sheriff Says
Posted at 1:45 p.m. Thursday: Authorities came so close to Neldon Neal at one point during an eight-day manhunt for the suspected killer that he ducked behind a log and hid after seeing the officers' badges, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Thursday morning.

Details of how Neal eluded authorities -- from hiding in a hollow log to showering and eating at a woman's trailer in Evening Shade -- after he allegedly murdered his common law wife March 13 have been revealed since three women were arrested Tuesday for aiding the notorious Neal.

Facing charges of hindering prosecution are Evelyn Lansdown, 32; Mary E. Thomas, 37; and Erica Moore, 31. Watson said Lansdown posted $25,000 bail Wednesday. Thomas and Moore remain at the Texas County Jail.

Neal told the women that he hid as three officers riding four-wheelers passed him down a service road in the Mark Twain National Forest. Watson said the officers, who did not see Neal, were from another county and unfamiliar with the area.

"We know they were close enough to him that Mr. Neal saw they were deputies and observed their badges," Watson said.

One of the women arrested took Watson and other officers to the location Wednesday in the northwest corner of Texas County. Less than one mile down Sante Anna Road and a few hundred feet into the rugged woods, officers found an abandoned log with trash and other debris from Neal's stay there.

Watson said officers have recovered a tent that one of the women purchased for Neal from Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. A sleeping bag is missing.

The women confessed to providing Neal many of the items -- beer, soda, water, chips, crackers -- that were stuffed deep inside the log. They spent about $400. But the women said they didn't buy a fifth of whiskey and another 12-pack of beer that was found inside the log.

Watson said he wasn't surprised that Neal, who has eluded authorities for more than a month, was being helped.

"We knew there was no doubt he was being helped, and there's no doubt as we speak that he's being helped," Watson said Thursday morning. "With the temperatures the way they are, he's not in the woods. He's somewhere in a building where it's warm, getting food and so forth."

After weeks of dry leads, authorities got their first big break in the murder case Monday night when Roby firefighters responded to a blaze east of Evening Shade. There they found three juveniles who set fire in an outbuilding to keep warm because the furnace inside their double-wide trailer was not working properly. Their mothers -- Thomas and Landsdown -- were nowhere to be found.

The fire department notified Watson of the bizarre circumstances and Tuesday morning he interviewed the juveniles. During a videotaping, the children stunned authorities when they revealed details of Neal's log hiding place. Authorities were skeptical of their story, but soon began to believe it as more emerged.

The juveniles' interview led officers to Neal's three women accomplices. Moore, who once lived in Houston, has children with Neldon Neal's son, Nalin. She once resided in the trailer where the murder occurred. Lansdown and Thomas are sisters.

Watson said a residence in the northwest part of the county was searched Wednesday, but yielded no signs of Neal. He said authorities know Neal is being aided and will continue to check every lead.

"We know somebody is helping him out today," Watson said. "Whenever we get the information someone has helped him out, they're going to be charged with it and pay the price."


Offline rottie25

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2007, 05:25:37 PM »



 

 



 

 

 
 Monday, April 16, 2007.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Charges: Fourth Woman
Aided Neldon Neal
Updated at 11:56 a.m. A fourth woman was arrested Friday for allegedly assisting suspected murder Neldon Neal.

Kathy J. McComas, 52, of Plato, faces hindering prosecution charges after admitting she aided Neal in late March, the Texas County Sheriff's Office reported Monday. She remains in jail on $25,000 bond.

Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said McComas is an acquaintance of three women who were arrested last Tuesday on similar charges. Watson said Evelyn Lansdown, 32; Mary E. Thomas, 37; and Erica Moore, 31, are all free on bail.

McComas told authorities she accompanied Moore to meet Neal on Sante Ann Road --where officers discovered a hollowed log Thursday that Neal hid and lived in for more than a week -- on March 22. McComas provided Neal soap and a pen and paper.

The following day, McComas and Lansdown returned to the location in Lansdown's vehicle with beer and food for Neal. The women offered to bring Neal to Lansdown's residence to avoid inclement weather, but Neal declined.

McComas said she did not provide the fifth of whiskey found along with other debris inside the log that is still unaccounted for.

Watson said McComas' name surfaced shortly after March 13 -- the day Neal allegedly shot his common law wife in a Roby trailer. With food, water and even showers being supplied to him, he has eluded authorities for 35 days.

"Her name has come up before," Watson said of McComas. "We knew she was friends with the other three ladies."

Watson said authorities received several leads over the weekend, including a call from Laclede County where a pillow was found in a field. Officers discovered it belong to a neighboring boy who had camped out.

"With turkey season starting today, there's a chance we'll get quite a few more leads also," Watson said.
 

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2007, 04:53:40 PM »
From yesterday's St. Louis Dispatch  (Much of the same, although a little more colorful.)

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/missouristatenews/story/E7D9BEF2B542837C862572C500108E5B?OpenDocument&highlight=2%2C%22neldon%22+AND+%22neal%22

Neldon Neal Manhunt evokes frustration, fear
By Todd C. Frankel
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
04/22/2007

ROBY, MO. The sheriff of Texas County shuddered the moment he heard the name Neldon Neal.

One woman was dead, a gunshot to her chest. It was Neal's wife. A witness fingered Neal as the gunman. But Neal was gone, long gone, last seen running into the woods.

With the mention of Neldon Neal last month, Sheriff Carl Watson knew he was headed for an ordeal.

"I was afraid from the very beginning that with Neldon Neal this would be dragged out a long time," Watson said.Advertisement

The sheriff was right. Since the shooting March 13 in south-central Missouri, Neal has eluded authorities despite apparently never straying more than a few miles from the crime scene. An intense, eight-day manhunt with 100 officers turned up nothing. But, authorities later learned, they got close. As they scoured the Mark Twain National Forest, Neal is believed to have hidden for days inside a hollow tree trunk. Deputies passed within feet of him.

But Neal had help, too. Four women are charged with providing him with food, beer, soap and the occasional shower.

"It's a big game to a lot of them," Watson said.

Neal has deep roots in this rural Ozark county. He knows the land and its many concealing caves. He knows the people. He is said to know the Bible better than some preachers. But even at the age of 60, Neal has kept up a lengthy string of run-ins with the law. Kidnapping. Burglary. Robbery.

His pace was not slowed even after he was awarded a $1 million court judgement a few years ago. Most of the money was spent by Neal's family before he got out of prison, his ex-attorney said. Neal lived with his wife in a dilapidated trailer surrounded by salvaged vehicles and debris.

The hunt for Neal feels familiar to the sheriff, a tall man with three decades of experience as a state trooper and a grandfatherly disposition. It reminds him of the 1987 search for John David Brown, a prison escapee who shot two men and fled into the forests near Rolla about 60 miles from here. Brown became a folk hero for his hiding skills. He eventually was captured. Watson worked that case as a trooper.

But the sheriff also senses something else, something even darker in these recent events: Neal seems to be headed on the same tragic trajectory traced by others in the Neal family.

A mysterious shooting

Authorities are still unclear about what caused Neal to shoot his wife, Judy Lewis.

It was the afternoon of Tuesday, March 13. Neal and a drinking buddy had just returned to Neal's trailer. Neal, who talked of opening a contracting business but had been unemployed for months, was drunk, Watson said. Lewis, according to neighbors, was a small, quiet woman with bleached-blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Also at the trailer was Lewis' former daughter-in-law and her 2-year-old daughter.

A fight broke out. Lewis, 51, was shot. Neal fled. The former daughter-in-law and the drinking buddy loaded Lewis into the backseat of a car. The daughter-in-law climbed in and, along with her toddler, sped away.

She raced down the two-lane highway, past the fire department, two churches and several houses before reaching a T intersection. She sped straight and slammed to a stop near the doors to Walt's gas station.

Linda Openshaw, the station owner, was working the register. She recalled seeing the young woman run inside with her child and yell, "Call 911! My mom's been shot!"

Openshaw dialed a cordless phone as she walked outside.

"When I looked in the car," Openshaw said, "I could tell she was already dead."

A history of pain

The Neal family is well-known in Texas County, home to 23,000 people sprinkled over 1,178 square miles, the state's largest county. Neal is one of 10 children. They all have first names beginning with the letter "N": Nealin, Nolan, Netha, Nelton, Narson, Natrila, Narlin, Narlene, Nynal and Neldon.

"Remind me to tell you about Nolan Neal," Watson said, sitting in his cramped office late last week after another day running down fruitless leads.

The sheriff proceeded to tell the story how Nolan Neal was gunned down one afternoon in 1979 in front of the Houston Bank in downtown Houston, the county seat. His mother-in-law shot him twice, the last shot coming as he scrambled under a car for cover. She was indicted on capital murder. But a Texas County jury acquitted her after hearing evidence that Nolan Neal had regularly beat his wife and mother-in-law.

"That's the Neal family," Watson said, adding, "but there are some good Neals."

'A millionaire in the pen'

According to the sheriff, Neldon Neal's criminal record stretches back to 1965. His most recent stint in prison came in 1998 with a 15-year term for stealing beer. While jailed in Miller County, Neal was beaten by deputies, said Kansas City attorney Don Roberson, who was hired by Neal to sue for damages.

On the day Neal won his court case, he was told by the guard escorting him back to his cell that "this is the first time I've ever driven a millionaire back to the pen," Roberson recalled.

The $1 million award was settled for $500,000. After expenses, Neal received a check for about $275,000. While he was still in prison, his family handled the proceeds. The money was mostly gone by the time Neal was released early for good behavior in October 2005, Roberson said.

Neal returned to Roby and married Lewis. But their relationship was soon marred by violence. Late last year, an argument resulted in Neal's being shot in the shoulder by his wife's grown son. Neal was stitched up by a friend, the sheriff said. Then Lewis' son was fatally shot by police in Richardson, Texas, in early March.

"It's like a big circle, although it is not necessarily connected," Watson said.

The hunt and the help

In the hours after the shooting, deputies combed the area and set up four roadblocks. The first car they stopped carried Neal's drinking buddy, a man known as Tator, Watson said. But no Neal. Over the next several days, officers from across the state descended on the county. Nothing.

The search has captivated the county. Some people are locking their doors for the first time. Others keep their guns close at hand. The profusion of ready weapons led to the accidental fatal shooting of a 9-year-old boy by his brother, authorities say.

"Some people are on edge," Openshaw said.

Some residents believe authorities may have to wait for Neal to come out on his own.

"There are a lot of places out there to hide," Openshaw said, "and, of course, he's got help."

Authorities suspected Neal needed help toughing out freezing temperatures at night. They stumbled on the case's first break in early April. The fire department reported that three young boys had burned down a shed to stay warm. The heat inside their trailer was broken. Their mother was not at home.

Curious, deputies interviewed the boys, who revealed that their mother and another woman had visited Neal in the forest, Watson said. Two of the boys were Neal's grandchildren.

Four women, who all knew each other, were charged with hindering prosecution. They admitted to buying Neal food and beer and giving him a tent and sleeping bag, according to court documents. They also revealed that Neal was holed up inside a hollow tree.

A hollow tree to hide

Deep inside the national forest, the hollow tree sits about 100 feet off a gravel road. The forest floor slopes down to the log, which is hidden behind thick stands of gray and brown trees. The log is about 30 feet long and appears to have toppled years ago. Inside is an opening three feet wide enough space for a man to lie down.

Someone hiding in the log would have ample warning as someone approached.

Watson said they learned how close they had come to finding Neal after interviewing the women. Neal had told the women he was hiding inside the log as a team of searchers rode by him on four-wheelers. They were so close he could see their badges.

Waiting and watching

The manhunt has died down now. The extra patrols are gone. The roadblocks were dismantled weeks ago. The search has been left to the sheriff and his seven full-time deputies.

But the sheriff is not giving up. Turkey hunting season began last Monday. Hunters will be in the forest. The deputies get new leads every day.

The sheriff finds himself driving down the country highways in his gray Ford pickup and casting long glances into the trees along the road, hoping to steal a glimpse of Neldon Neal.

"I don't have any doubt we'll catch him," the sheriff said. "I just can't tell you when."

tfrankel@post-dispatch.com | 314-340-8110



Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #49 on: April 23, 2007, 05:02:57 PM »

Offline hancock

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #50 on: April 26, 2007, 12:02:44 AM »
Here's another "funny" article from the St Louis Post, a letter to the editor actually.  What part of the story did this lady think was so funny, Lewis being murdered, the little boy dying, the armed and dangerous career criminal on the loose?   I bet if it happened in Chesterfield, it would not seem so "funny".

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/editorialcommentary/story/68147C7F16DAFA22862572C70081D074?OpenDocument


Better than TV

I have to commend Todd Frankel for "Manhunt evokes frustration, fear" (April 22), the story of Neldon Neal. It has to be one of the funniest stories I have ever read in a newspaper. Everyone with whom I have shared it has laughed themselves almost to death. The story was better than any TV show I have watched in years. It reminded me of the movie "Deliverance." Great job.

Cindy Sachtleben | Chesterfield

An Army mom doesn't cry.........in front of her soldier

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #51 on: April 26, 2007, 04:02:16 PM »
Neldon Neal makes America's Most Wanted


http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=44822


WindblownLilac

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #52 on: April 26, 2007, 04:06:32 PM »
Yeah I saw the Most Wanted thing on the news last night.  He is on the website, and I think it said law enforcement officials were supposed to hear Firday if the actual show was gonna run something on him. 

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2007, 09:09:51 PM »
www.houstonherald.com

Network Confirms
Neal Story Planned
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor
Already one of America's Most Wanted, Neldon Neal's face will soon be shown on television screens across the country.

Jenna Naranjo, an associate producer with AMW, confirmed Wednesday morning that the Fox TV show would feature Neal's story this summer. Naranjo has been working with authorities and media members to gather information about the case. Neal is already featured on the show's Web site.

Naranjo said Neal's tale from his family's history to his weeklong log hideout and multiple accomplices made it stand out among the thousands of stories producers dig through each day.

"Neldon Neal is one of those guys whose real-life story is better than fiction," Naranjo said. "And for the victim's sake and for the victim's family's sake, I hope this story has a happy ending."

On the run for 53 days since he allegedly shot and killed his common law wife in his Roby trailer, Neal hasn't been accounted for since four women accomplices took him supplies on a northwest Texas County road March 29. All four, who were arrested for hindering prosecution, have bonded out of jail.

Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said his department has leads it "desperately needs to check." But he also said more information is needed.

"We've got to have some help from the public to get us pointed in the direction we need to go," Watson said.

Although his department has been pulled in multiple directions with two fatal fires this week alone, Watson said deputies continue to remain in the Roby area on a daily basis. He said he believes Neal is still in the area and still being helped.

Naranjo said she learned of the Neal case from a printout sent to AMW from a TV affiliate. Although it didn't offer much information, Naranjo found it interesting and began pursuing more. She contacted the sheriff's office and Tuesday
spoke with the Herald.

"Cops say he is dangerous and that means we need to find him," Naranjo said. "Despite the hard facts, I also find it interesting that Neldon is using the skills he learned as a boy to help him live life as a fugitive. Not just anyone will hide out in a tree or have the sense to exploit Mother Nature in such a way.

"Not only that, most people would hide from a fugitive instead of helping him. So it's amazing that four women have gone out of their way help him."

Naranjo said a film crew would travel to Roby and an air date, possibly in June, would be determined in the near future. AMW has aired on FOX for 20 years and caught 937 fugitives to date.

Persons can call the sheriff's department (417-967-4165) or Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (417-469-3121). Watson continues to emphasize that anyone with information can provide it anonymously. A reward is available.

"We're still definitely involved in (the case) and will be until we find Neldon," Watson said

Offline Keep the gate open

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2007, 12:31:20 PM »
http://www.houstonherald.com/

Web Site Brings
Tips on Neal
By Jeff McNiell
Assistant Managing Editor
The hunt for Neldon Neal is at 60 days and counting.

Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said Tuesday morning his department followed several leads last week, but none led to the notorious criminal who has eluded authorities since murdering his common law wife in March.

"We've had quite a few good leads, but nothing good has come out of it," Watson said.

Although he has no information to confirm it, Watson still believes Neal unaccounted for since he received supplies from four women accomplices on March 29 is in the Roby area. He said there still have been no break-ins or reported missing vehicles.

"I think he's still around and still being helped," Watson said. "He may be in Pulaski County or the Laclede County area, but still in the general area."

Watson said his department received four leads last week from the Web site of America's Most Wanted. The Fox program confirmed last week that it is pursuing a television feature chronicling the murder case. Jenna Naranjo, an associate producer with AMW, said film crews would travel to Roby as soon as next month.

Each lead from the Web site centered in Arkansas, where authorities said Neal made a threatening phone call to a former victim shortly before the murder in Roby.

Watson said most information involves locations to check for the suspected killer or suspicious activity. Watson said he has never received a report of a Neal sighting.

"We have nothing to indicate that someone has visibly made contact with him," he said.

Watson said he met Friday with top officials from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, who vowed to offer their assistance until Neal is apprehended.

The case has garnered much publicity - both in print and electronic media. Watson says the investigation continues to captivate the public's interest.

Persons can call the sheriff's department (417-967-4165) or Troop G (417-469-3121). Watson continues to emphasize that anyone with information can provide it anonymously. A $1,000 reward is available. New updates posted as they occur.



Offline rottie25

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2007, 03:22:56 PM »
HOUSTONHERALD.COM EXCLUSIVE at 11:10 a.m: Neldon Neal - accused of killing his wife and eluding county, state and federal authorities for two months - has been captured in Laclede County. Neal, left, is shown after his arrest with Tpr. M.L. Mobley of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Neal, 60, has been on the run since the March 13 shooting on Highway 32 at Roby. The Neal story has captivated the region and brought national attention. Neal hadn't been seen since late March when four women said they provided him with assistance. For a week, Neal hid in a log in northwest Texas County and later vanished.

Activity in the case stepped up significantly since mid-week when federal agents joined the county investigation. Earlier this morning, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson said officers from several agencies were preparing to check two locations.

Offline Law101

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2007, 04:26:14 PM »
I am so glad they got him.


Offline innercity23

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2007, 04:03:43 AM »
Something you all need to know: Judy was NOT HIS WIFE.

Offline innercity23

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #58 on: May 14, 2007, 12:58:32 PM »
First of all, Neal was and is already married, and second of all, Missouri has no common law marriage.  So, no, and they did not live together long enough according to the old laws that are no longer on the books.  Common law marriage has been banned in the state of Missouri since 1921.

Offline fish

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Re: Murder in Roby
« Reply #59 on: May 15, 2007, 12:33:09 AM »
 Besides,soon he is going to become someone's wife.