Local News

Investigators Follow New Clues in 35-Year-Old Slaying

Posted November 22, 2007 10:31 p.m. EST
Updated November 23, 2007 3:13 p.m. EST

Bonnie Neighbors

— Bonnie Neighbors, 33, disappeared in December 1972 while on her way to pick up her son from school. After an extensive search, the mother of two from Benson was found slain in an abandoned migrant worker housing unit. Her infant son was found huddled next to her body unharmed.

Her killer has remained at large for 35 years, but investigators are using modern technology to follow new leads in the case.

“In 1972, I was only 14 years of age, but I remember that case,” Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

Seven months ago, Bizzell re-opened Neighbors file because of what he described as a gut feeling.

“We've got a list of individuals, that are individuals of interest in this case, that are still living and we're gonna be knocking on their doors possibly,” Bizzell said.

A cold-case squad was set up in April to look into Neighbors' slaying. Since then, deputies have received several tips.

New DNA evidence discovered on Neighbors' clothing was sent to the SBI lab for analysis. The evidence later ruled out a man that had allegedly never cooperated with investigators and who was thought of as a person of interest by Neighbors' family.

Neighbors' husband said with the new focus on the case he hopes deputies will get the clue they need to make an arrest.

“It was nice to know, now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, thank goodness,” said Ken Neighbors. "I'm patient, have to be. But it (an arrest) will be here I think."

A $20,000 reward was offered in the 1970's, but no one came forward then. Bizzell said he would like to again see a reward offered again for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.