Details of Disappearance
Neely was last seen standing by his truck near the ten-thousand-acre Panther Swamp Wildlife Refuge at 7:30 a.m. on October 25, 1996. He had gone to the refuge to go squirrel hunting. Neely told his hunting partner to go into the woods alone while he finished putting on his hunting gear.
Neely's partner went into the woods as instructed, but Neely never caught up with him. When his partner returned to the truck at the pre-agreed time four hours later, Neely wasn't there. His partner blew the horn to let Neely know he had returned, then went into the woods to look for him, but couldn't find him.
He has never been heard from again and an extensive search turned up no indication of his whereabouts. He had been hunting since he was a child, and his children stated he always practiced safety measures such as staying on the trail and setting a return time in advance.
When the ten-day search for Neely yielded nothing that would indicate his whereabouts, police stated they thought he could not be in the area they searched. His hunting partner passed a polygraph test and was ruled out as a suspect in his case. One person allegedly told several people he had killed Neely, but this individual has not been named publicly or called a suspect in his case.
His case remains unsolved.