Neal Forrest King

King, circa 2013; Donald Cheatham

  • Missing Since 03/26/2013
  • Missing From Oroville, California
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Sex Male
  • Race White
  • Date of Birth 04/24/1988 (31)
  • Age 24 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'11, 120 - 130 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A light green long-sleeved thermal shirt, blue jeans and brown hiking boots.
  • Medical Conditions King suffers from Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian male. Red hair, green eyes.

Details of Disappearance

King was last seen in the 4000 block of Hilldale Avenue in Oroville, California sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on March 26, 2013. He has never been heard from again.

Three years before King's disappearance, he received a $30,000 legal settlement and used the money to leave his native Texas and traveled to California. He and two friends purchased a house and twelve acres of land to grow marijuana. The business soon expanded and became highly profitable, but he kept his source of income a secret from his family in Texas.

One of the contacts King made as a result of his marijuana sales was Donald Edward Cheatham Jr., who owned a business called Amazon Garden Supply. In the spring of 2013, the two men struck a deal where Cheatham would buy some property on Old Olive Highway from King in exchange for 160 pounds of marijuana.

King had given him half the amount by the time of his disappearance, but complained to his girlfriend that Cheatham was not holding up his end of the deal and he thought Cheatham was stealing from him. He said he would never do business with Cheatham again. A photo of Cheatham is posted with this case summary.

On the day he went missing, King went to have a meeting with Cheatham. His girlfriend became concerned when he didn't return home by evening, and drove to Cheatham's house. When she saw King's pickup truck parked out front, she assumed he must be there and went home again.

The next day, when King still hadn't arrived home, his girlfriend returned to Cheatham's house. King's vehicle was still parked in the same spot, when she knocked on the door, Cheatham refused to come to the door. He spoke to her through the wall and said King wasn't there and he hadn't seem him all day, and that he was looking for him too.

King's girlfriend didn't report him missing until March 29, because she thought he might have been arrested. Since his disappearance there hasn't been any activity on his cellular phone or bank accounts. An examination of his truck turned up no clues.

When questioned by police, Cheatham said he and King had conducted a business transaction in Berry Creek, and after that he dropped King off in a remote area at Oro-Quincy Highway and never saw him again. Authorities were suspicious of his story and searched Cheatham's residence, finding a stolen gun, 120 pounds of marijuana and $59,000 in cash.

Cheatham and his wife were charged with receiving stolen property, cultivating marijuana and possessing it for sale. None of the charges were related to King's actual disappearance.

In March 2014, the charges against Cheatham's wife were dismissed and he himself was acquitted of everything except one misdemeanor count of marijuana possession; Cheatham had an authorization to use marijuana for medical purposes, but wasn't allowed to have more than an ounce at a time.

Foul play is suspected in King's disappearance and authorities believe his drug involvement was a factor. Cheatham has been named as a person of interest in his case. His disappearance remains unsolved.

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated April 24, 2014; casefile added.