Neal Lived in Log While Search Under Way

Neldon Neal drank beer, ate food and even read the newspaper as he hid inside a hollow log for more than a week as authorities combed the woods around him looking for the suspected killer.

One of three women facing hindering prosecution charges for her role in aiding Neal, who has been on the run since he allegedly murdered his common law wife on March 13 in Roby, took authorities to his hiding place in the northwest corner of Texas County Wednesday afternoon. Less than one mile down Sante Ann Road and a few hundred feet into the rugged woods, officers found an abandoned log with trash and other debris from Neal’s weeklong stay there.

The women, who admitted they brought supplies to Neal multiple times, said they last saw him at the location March 29.

Accompanied by the Missouri State Highway Patrol and a K-9 unit, Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson was led to the hiding spot where officers just last month had searched for Neal as part of the longest manhunt in recent county history. He said they missed spotting the notorious criminal by mere feet.

At one end of the log, which was snapped in two, beer cans, chip wrappers and even Band-aids had been stuffed deep inside. A makeshift canopy – supported by tree limbs and covered with branches – at the other end is where authorities believe Neal hid and slept. They found batteries, along with more beer and food, and the March 15 edition of the Herald – detailing the murder and subsequent manhunt. ©2007 Houston Herald

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