Local News

May 26, 2012

Sheriff: Murders were ‘crime of passion’

Reward offered for help in locating ‘dangerous’ suspect

Two homicides in Dawnville early Thursday morning were a “crime of passion” and the suspect who is still on the loose is “dangerous,” Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Authorities are still searching for the man they believe murdered his wife and her grandfather. Adolph Ray “Sonny” Neal, 49, is wanted in the deaths of Jessica B. Neal, 27, and Don William Shedd, 69. All three lived in a home at 1200 Green Springs Road with another elderly man who is related to the family and a 9-year-old girl, Jessica Neal’s daughter, who discovered Shedd’s body.

“I don’t want to get into the investigation aspect of the murders yesterday, but what our focus is right now and the concentration we want to do is to locate our suspect, Mr. Sonny Neal,” Chitwood said. “We do consider him armed — certainly it was a crime of passion, a horrific crime yesterday.”

He did not elaborate on what type of weapon may have been used in the alleged murders.

“There have been two warrants issued for him for murder,” Chitwood said. “We are very interested in his whereabouts and we want to express to the community — to anybody who may have any knowledge of his location — to please contact the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office. We are prepared to offer an award based on the level of information.”

When asked, Chitwood replied that a set amount or range of any reward had not been preset.

 “We do consider him dangerous at this point,” he said. “I feel like people that may be closely related — family, friends, work associates, anybody — could possibly be in harm’s way. So that’s our interest right now, in locating Mr. Neal.”

Chitwood said he was “not sure” if Neal fled the scene on foot. But he added that authorities — which include the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia State Patrol, U.S. Marshals and the Murray County Sheriff’s Office — are “receiving a lot of phone calls, a lot of information.”

“Some of it is dead end, some of it is leading us into information about new contacts and stuff,” he explained. “But again, we’re doing everything we possibly can to locate his whereabouts.”

Some of the search had involved Murray County, he said, with assistance from the sheriff’s office there.

He was asked if a nationwide alert had been issued seeking Neal’s whereabouts.

“We sent a BOLO (be on the lookout) out and have received some calls and contacts from out-of-state areas,” he said. “People should use caution with any contact with him and call us.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Neal is urged to contact the sheriff’s office at (706) 278-1233 or call 911.

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