Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Kevin Neal, Convicted of Murder by Forensic Entomology

The Children are Missing

Map of Ohio, with Champaign in black.
Map of Ohio, with Champaign in black.

Kevin Neal told police he was cleaning up inside the far house on Knight Road in rural Champaign County, Ohio, when he realized that he no longer heard the children playing in the yard. It was about 1:30 p.m. on July 9, 1997. He told authorities that he looked for the children for about half an hour, then picked up the phone and called police to report them missing.

"One minute they were there, the next they were gone," he would say later.

On the phone with the 911 dispatcher, Neal made a curious request. He asked the dispatcher to call his wife at work because she would be less upset hearing about the situation from an authority figure than from him. Champaign County sheriff's deputies, their plans to spend the day eradicating marijuana fields scuttled by fog in Columbus that kept their helicopters grounded, arrived on the scene within minutes and the hunt for the missing children began in earnest.  

The House on the Knight Rd. Farm
The House on the Knight Rd. Farm

Shortly after that, Sue Neal, the mother of the two children, drove up and leapt out of her car. She made a beeline for Kevin, screaming over and over, "What the — have you done with my kids!" She was so emotional that she had to be restrained by deputies so she would not physically assault her husband.

Her outburst surprised authorities, who separated the couple and began asking questions. Apart from each other, Kevin and Sue Neal told similar stories about the home situation.

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