Leland Neal Pleads Not Guilty to Murder of Wife Carol Neal

By Melissa Warren | 

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- After nearly two decades of questions surrounding what happened to Carol Neal, a Bowling Green woman who went missing in 1998, her estranged husband appeared before a judge today after being charged with her murder.

Leland Neal appeared in Warren Circuit Court today after being extradited from Mexico where he was arrested during a robbery.

"He was indicted in 2008 for a bail jumping charge for failing to appear on his pending child support case, which was also on this docket for a status hearing," said Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Chris Cohron.

That alone wasn't what brought him here, or why his estranged wife's family came to witness his plea. After being indicted for the murder of Carol Neal, he pleaded not guilty today to the charge. While Carol Neal's family members chose not to comment on camera, they released this statement through the Commonwealth's Attorney:
"We are pleased Mr. Neal is back in Warren County and are confident in the judicial process," said Cohron on behalf of Carol Neal's family.

"In talking to the family, they're obviously relieved the litigation is now starting, so they're confident the judicial system will work, and hopefully bring justice to Carol's death," said Cohron.

Carol had been missing since November of 1998, until 2003, when artifact hunters found part of Neal's skull in Daniel Boone National Forest. In 2013, Bowling Green Police gathered enough evidence to make Leland Neal a suspect.

"With all the charges currently pending against Mr. Neal, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with parole illegibility after the service of 20 years," said Cohron.

His bail is set at $1,045,000 with no bail credit eligibility.

"We also have requested he not be allowed bail credit, which is a measure the legislature put in a few years ago where any defendant is allowed $100 per day credit towards their bail," said Cohron.

Cohron says he requested bail credit not be allowed due to Neal's track record of missing court appearances. Neal's pretrial hearing is set for May 19 in Warren Circuit Court.

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