Kevin Neal, Convicted of Murder by Forensic Entomology
Complex Relationships and Conflicts
With so many complex relationships, it was inevitable that conflict would arise. Both Gary McGraw and Rick Smith found it difficult to be civil with the Neals, although the two men developed a mutual respect for each other. The difficulties with the Neals did give rise to problems with noncustodial visits, both men said. Eventually, things got so bad that Cody was not allowed to play outside because of problems the Neals were having with McGraw.
Over the course of four days, Champaign County Sheriff David L. Deskins coordinated a search of the area surrounding the Neals' rented farmhouse using police, dogs, and hundreds of volunteers. They followed every lead, no matter how slim, but it was as if the children had simply stepped off the planet.
Deskins said he was using four theories to determine his actions: first, the children were lost and wandering; second, that family members had knowledge they did not share; third, someone else was keeping the children in ''protective custody''; fourth, a stranger abducted them.
"We're pursuing all four equally, but the possibility of the first scenario is diminishing," Deskins told members of the media who were covering the search.