Details of Disappearance
Neily was last seen in Westport, California on April 14, 2006. He'd gone there to pick up a truck. Neighbors reported hearing five gunshots fired in the vicinity at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. His dog was located at the end of Howard Creek Road in Westport. Neily has never been heard from again. He was reported missing in May.
Neily was often out of touch with his loved ones for extended time periods at the time of his disappearance. His two vehicles, a 1967 Ford Mustang and a 1977 Ford Thunderbird, were found in July 2006 in Westport.
The vehicles were found on the property of James "Jimmy" DeNoyer, and newspapers found inside were dated April 17, 2006. The Mustang wasn't running and there was no sign of Neily.
A photo of DeNoyer is posted with this case summary. He owned a twenty-acre horse ranch and reportedly also grew marijuana there. Neily is a skilled auto mechanic and carpenter who occasionally worked for him, and DeNoyer promised that Neily and his son could build a shop on his property. But Neily and DeNoyer got into an argument about it shortly before Neily disappeared.
DeNoyer also has connections to another missing person case, that of Donald James "JC" Cavanaugh
. Cavanaugh is DeNoyer's uncle, and was last seen in 2005, after he went to retrieve his belongings and his dogs from DeNoyer's property.
In December 2005, Mendocino County Animal Control seized 36 of DeNoyer's quarter horses; it was the largest such intervention in county history. The horses had been severely neglected and were starving and without shelter. Police arrested the ranch caretaker and also seized four healthy dogs, three of which had belonged to Cavanaugh.
The caretaker was subsequently released without charge and the dogs returned to DeNoyer. DeNoyer said he was unaware of how his horses were being treated and blamed the caretakers he'd hired to look after them. He was indicted on 36 felony counts of cruelty to animals, but at trial the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
DeNoyer is considered a person of interest in both Neily and Cavanaugh's disappearances, but he hasn't been charged in either case. Foul play is suspected.