May 26, 2012

‘It’s heartbreaking’

Family pleads for suspect to turn self in

Mark Millican

The distraught family of a man accused of murdering his wife and her grandfather on Thursday morning spoke before a press conference at the Whitfield County jail Friday afternoon and pleaded for him to turn himself in.

“He’s a loving husband, father, brother — this is not my brother,” said Kathy van Kleek, who told newspaper and television reporters she is the sister of Adolph Ray “Sonny” Neal, 49, accused in the deaths of Jessica B. Neal, 27, and her grandfather, Don William Shedd, 69, of 1200 Green Springs Road in the Dawnville community.

“I don’t know, I want questions answered,” Van Kleek said when asked if she knew what happened. “Sonny’s a loving father, husband and brother. We definitely want him to turn himself in and get this resolved. Sonny, come turn yourself in. We love you and our whole family will stand by you. We just want to get through this. If anybody knows where he’s at, please call.”

Van Kleek revealed the Neals were going through some marriage problems.

“They were having problems like every married couple would go through,” she said. “I don’t know any details.”

Van Kleek said the family had lost another brother to cancer earlier this month and they were still mourning him — and now other family members are gone.

“We’re trying to get through that also, we’ve lost both our parents and about everyone, and all we have is each other,” she said.

Neal’s daughter, Miranda Buckner, also pleaded with her father.

“Please come home, daddy, turn yourself in, we love you,” she said through tears. “We’re all here for you and just want to see you safe.”

Beau Buckner, Neal’s son-in-law, said it was “heartbreaking” and the family was “in shock” to hear of the news about the deaths of Jessica Neal and Shedd.

“It took awhile to sink in,” he said in the lobby of the sheriff’s office filled with several of Neal’s relatives. “It still hasn’t come to reality. Sonny, if you’re listening, please come home. Your whole family is here for you — it’s the right thing to do.”

Van Kleek said on top of losing other family members they have now lost their sister-in-law too.

“Sonny loved his family,” she said.