The investigation into a double homicide early Thursday morning in the Dawnville community indicates the alleged murders probably took place between midnight and 5 a.m., Capt. Rick Swiney with the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday.
“We recovered what we believe to be the murder weapon or weapons at the scene,” he said of the investigation that began soon after a 911 call at 7 a.m. The cause of death has not been released by the state crime lab, and the sheriff’s office is not saying what weapon or weapons were found.
Jessica B. Neal, 27, and Neal’s grandfather, Don William Shedd, 69, were pronounced dead at the scene at 1200 Green Springs Road. Neal’s husband, Adolph Ray “Sonny” Neal, 49, was still being sought Tuesday evening on an arrest warrant for the murders of Jessica Neal and Shedd.
Swiney said neighbors and phone records helped investigators set the window for when the killings occurred.
“The neighbors seeing someone at the residence or seeing them,” he said when asked about the timeline, “(plus) phone calls being made, texts being made and the condition of the bodies when they were discovered around 7 a.m.”
Swiney said the phone calls and the texts that were checked were from the victims.
“We’re still gathering information and interviewing people and following leads, but nothing has panned out to (Neal’s) whereabouts yet,” he said. “We’re looking here locally, and got some places in surrounding counties we’re checking out. We have a nationwide lookout, too, with the U.S. marshals and FBI also involved helping us check out some out-of-state locations.”
The recording of a call that was made to Whitfield County 911 early Thursday morning reveals a 9-year-old girl searching her neighborhood to find someone to help her after she found her great-grandfather lying in a pool of blood in her home.
Wayne Warnack, a Green Springs Road resident who lives around the corner, said the girl knocked on his door.
“Yes, ma’am, a little girl has come to my house, I live on Green Springs Road in Dawnville,” said Warnack when a dispatcher asked him what his emergency was. “She said she needed some help, her papaw was dead laying on the floor. She’s just a small girl.”
The dispatcher asked Warnack if he had been to the girl’s home.
“No, we were walking over that way,” he replied. “I didn’t know if that’s what I needed to do or what.”
The dispatcher told Warnack, “That’s totally up to you.”
“If you feel comfortable doing that, you can,” she continued. “We’re going to send the law enforcement, ambulance and fire department.”
After Warnack gives a description of the house and the cars in the driveway, the dispatcher asks him the girl’s age.
“How old are you?” he asks, and then reports, “She’s nine years old.”
The dispatcher gets the girl’s name and then asks, “No one else is home with her?”
“Somebody knocked on my door and she was out in the road hollering for somebody to come out and help her, so I come out to see what was wrong,” Warnack said. “I didn’t know whether to go in the house — she said somebody had killed him. I don’t know. She don’t know what’s happened, I don’t think.”
“She said someone had killed him?” the dispatcher asks.
“She said her mom and dad disappeared and they’re not there, she don’t know, said their car’s still here,” Warnack responded.
“Can you ask her how they killed him?” the dispatcher queries.
“She doesn’t know,” Warnack said, questioning the girl. “She was asleep, ma’am.”
“Did you see him laying in the floor?” the dispatcher asks.
Warnack repeats the question and the girl answers.
“He had blood all over him,” Warnack relays to the dispatcher, then begins to speak to the girl, telling her help will be there in a few minutes and asking her the name of the dog she is holding.
“I’m just trying to calm her down, she’s got a little dog,” he tells the dispatcher.