James Willard McNeely

McNeely, circa 1972; David Childs

  • Missing Since 04/08/1972
  • Missing From Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Classification Lost/Injured Missing
  • Age 37 years old
  • Height and Weight 6'2, 200 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Black hair, blue eyes.

Details of Disappearance

McNeely, a Kentucky State Trooper, was last seen while on a flood rescue mission on the Kentucky River in Frankfort, Kentucky on April 8, 1972. His boat was swept over the dam at Lock 4.

Another state trooper, 39-year-old David Thomas Childs, was in the boat. His body was later found in the Ohio River near Tell City, Indiana; he had drowned. McNeely's body has never been recovered, but he is presumed to have drowned also. A photo of Childs is posted with this case summary.

In May 2014, the Kentucky State Police held a memorial service for McNeely and named a five-mile stretch of KY 339 "James W. McNeely Memorial Highway", in his honor. He disappeared one day after the sixteenth anniversary of the day of his joining the state police, leaving behind a wife and three children.

Investigating Agency

  • Kentucky State Police
  • Post 12
  • 502-227-2221

Source Information

Updated 2 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 7, 2016; details of disappearance updated.