Wayne County Outlook

Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

A murder warrant has been obtained against a former Wayne County resident, who is now wanted by Bowling Green police in the disappearance of his wife, Carol Neal, 14 years ago.

Leland B. Neal, Jr., who is originally from Wayne County, was separated from his wife, Carol, in November 1998 when she disappeared from her residence on Shawnee Drive in Bowling Green. Evidence in the Neal residence led police to believe that she had been murdered, though her body has never been found.

Hikers in McCreary County found a portion of her skull in 2003 on Parker’s Mountain inside the Daniel Boone National Forest. Police in Bowling Green told the Bowling Green Daily News that this was an area where the Neals frequently hiked. They also noted that Leland Neal proposed to Carol Neal on Parker’s Mountain.

Forensic tests later confirmed that the skull was Carol Neal’s.

Carol Neal had filed for divorce in August 1998. They were scheduled to go to court to set a date for divorce on November 12, 1998, two days after she disappeared.

According to the Bowling Green newspaper article, Carol Neal’s friends and relatives told police after her death that she had been afraid of her husband. They stated that Carol Neal said Leland Neal had threatened to kill her and place her body somewhere it would never be found.

Carol Neal’s two sons, a five-year-old and a 15-month-old, were at home at the time she disappeared. Tony Sawyer, who is listed as a friend of Carol Neal’s on the affidavit filed in the case, reported her missing on November 10, 1998 after visiting her home and finding her children home alone. The affidavit indicates that Neal’s five-year-old son showed Sawyer the living room where couch pillows were missing from the sofa and blood stained the wall, ceiling and floor.

The statement indicates that Sawyer began to clean the living room and later called police.

Sawyer was convicted in December 2002 for tampering with physical evidence. He was sentenced to five years in prison, but he was never charged with any other crimes related to the disappearance.

The affidavit also stated that Leland Neal was the only beneficiary of a $50,000 life insurance policy on Carol Neal.

Officials have stated that Neal was last seen crossing the Mexican border in 2008. There is no record of him re-entering the United States.


Jury selection began a week ago Monday morning in Bowling Green in the murder trial of Brian Daniels, who is charged in connection with the May 2009 death of his 20-month-old son, Kayden Branham, who officials said drank drain cleaner that was used to make methamphetamine.

The case was moved from Wayne County to Russell County, after court officials determined it would be difficult to empanel a jury locally. In June, the case was slated to begin in Russell County, but a mistrial was declared after the effort to seat a jury there failed. The case was then moved to Bowling Green.

Daniels is the first of four defendants to be tried in connection with the death of his 20-month-old son.

Also charged with murder are James Hunt and Danny Ray Anderson II. The three men are also charged with manufacturing methamphetamine, controlled substance endangerment to a child and engaging in organized crime.

Larry Branham, the boy’s grandfather, is charged with controlled substance endangerment to a child, complicity to manufacture methamphetamine and engaging in organized crime.

Court officials in Warren County have indicated that two weeks have been set aside for the trial. No other information was available at press time.


Kentucky State Police will conduct a forensic audit of Monticello School records, according to information released last week by Wayne County Attorney Tom Simmons and Monticello Police Chief Ralph Miniard.

Simmons and Miniard confirmed that they reviewed results of the findings of the state management audit conducted recently at the school, as well as the most recent audit that was presented to the board. After reviewing the documents, Simmons said that he and the police chief then contacted state police, which has a forensic audit unit.

“We feel like something went wrong and we want to know why,” said Simmons.

His office was contacted last week by Kentucky State Police, which has agreed to conduct the audit.

Simmons noted that this is an issue that has been of community interest, in light of the news reports that Monticello School will close after the current school year. He said his office has received several calls from local residents who are concerned about the situation and that prompted him to take a look at the documents.

Simmons noted that the forensic audit process has not begun yet and he added that this is normally a lengthy process.


Early on Saturday morning, January 5, family and friends of soldiers from the 1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery gathered at the local National Guard Armory to say their goodbyes, as the unit prepared to depart for a nine-month deployment to Jordan.

A breakfast was held for the soldiers and their families before the troops lined up and boarded the two buses that would take them, first along a parade route through town, and then on to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

“It’s tough,” said Sandra Dodson, as she shared the final few moments with her son, Joshua Godsey, before he got on the bus. “It’s hard to see him go so far from home.”

As the mother and son talked quietly together, a young couple, Charlie and Olivia Sargent shared some time with their one-year-old daughter, Alexis. Charlie Sargent, from McCreary County, has been in the guard for nearly four years.

As the sun rose Saturday morning, the soldiers were aboard the buses, which were escorted by local officials, members of the D.A.V. and the Patriot Guard along a route through downtown Monticello where local residents showed their support. The procession continued along Columbia Avenue and then north on KY 90, where vehicles were stopped alongside the highway and people stepped out to wave to the troops.

Soldiers with the 1/623rd will assume an advise and assist role in the training of Jordanian troops as part of a partner nation alliance in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.


The special election to fill the vacant 52nd District State Representative seat has been set for Tuesday, February 12, according to information released through the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office.

The vacancy was created when Sara Beth Gregory was elected to serve as 16th District State Senator during a special election held in December. Gregory was sworn in as the state senator last week.

The process to fill the 52nd District State Representative’s seat is similar to the one that occurred to fill the vacant senatorial seat.

Representatives for both the Republican and Democratic parties, whose counties are included in the district, will caucus to determine their respective candidates for the special election.

The 52nd District includes Wayne County, McCreary County and a portion of Pulaski County.

The process must be completed rather quickly, since the filing deadline for candidates in this special election is Tuesday, January 15 at 4 p.m.