Courthouse Steps Mavens / Partner Murders
/ Archives / 12-23-2009 / Sarah Neal, 16 {desc: Cletus Alford}

Topie: Sarah Neal, 16 {desc: Cletus Alford}
November 11th, 2009 03:27 AM
Dan_the_man Teen's Killer Sought

Funeral services set

Funeral services are scheduled Saturday for 16-year-old Sarah Neal and police are still trying to identify a suspect in her murder.

Jun 23, 2005

Funeral services are scheduled Saturday for 16-year-old Sarah Neal and police are still trying to identify a suspect in her murder.

Ms. Neal would have been a senior at North High this fall. Her father found her dead in their home on Tuesday.

Police are investigating the case as a homicide and that say a gun was involved in the killing but they have not said that Sarah was shot.

On the day of the murder, Russ Neal said he believed that a man who stalked his daughter was responsible for her murder.

Court documents show the family did put out a protection order against him.

Meanwhile, another man, 28-year-old Cletus Alford faces a charge of child pornography for videotaping Sarah while she was stripping.

Police say that releasing new information on the case could hurt their investigation.

They're still interviewing Sarah Neal's friends to see if they can provide any clues.

Russ Neal says investigators have asked him not to talk about details of the case but he did talk about the number of people who have supported him through this tragedy.

He says, "There are a lot of people out there who have broken hearts, some young, some old. She touched a lot of lives."

Sarah's mother, Nan Neal says, "She loved to be the center of attention. She loved to make people laugh."

Sarah Neal will be laid to rest on Saturday. A graveside service will take place Saturday morning at Evergreen Memorial Park at 10 o'clock. A funeral service will follow at Southwest Church of Christ at 11:30.

A fund has been set up for the Neal family to help cover expenses. You can donate at any Great Western Bank
November 11th, 2009 03:28 AM
Dan_the_man Molestation Led To Troubled Life

Mother shares daughter's story

The mother of a murdered Omaha girl says she thinks child molestation in her daughter's past led the teen down a path of destruction.

Jul 19, 2005

The mother of a murdered Omaha girl says she thinks child molestation in her daughter's past led the teen down a path of destruction.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Neal was found dead in her home four weeks ago just after a painful secret from her past had emerged and her mother hopes her story will help other victims and parents avoid the same fate.

Nan Neal knew her daughter Sarah had a gift for writing poetry but she had not seen a notebook with some dark entries until a couple of months ago.

"It's hard to keep my eyes shut and sleep, not knowing what lies behind each door," Sarah wrote.

Fifteen pages of Sarah's writings and drawings address a secret she kept for more than a decade.

Referring to how she'd been sexually assaulted at age six she wrote, "How do I avoid this pain that I feel?

"I'd rather hide behind a mask and fool people every day into thinking everything's fine with me."

Nan Neal says, "Particularly the last few years I knew there was a piece of the puzzle missing in her life. And as soon as she told me about that, I knew that was the puzzle piece I'd been looking for."

Ms. Neal believes that was the reason that her daughter had a tendency to make bad decisions.

While Sarah's murder remains unsolved, her family has suspicions about someone she befriended.

Therapist Mary Johnson with the Child Saving Institute says that sexual assault often leads to years of hidden pain.

She says, "I think it's your own guilt and shame of, is this my fault? Is this something I did that brought this on? It's just not something that we talk about easily."

In Sarah's case, her mother says she had convinced herself the memories weren't real until a few weeks ago and she hopes her story will give other young victims the courage to come forward.

Ms. Neal says, "I would say that any children who've been molested should find an adult and tell that adult and get some help. I don't think this is something you can work through on your own."

Therapist Mary Johnson says only about 10-percent of sexual assault victims actually tell someone about it. She says young people dealing with the secret may have issues with trust and relationships. They often develop problems with anxiety or depression.

If you or someone you know needs help you can call the Child Abuse hot line. That number is 1-800-652-1999.
November 11th, 2009 03:29 AM
Dan_the_man Unsolved Murder

Mother of slain daughter deals with loss

Omaha police say Sarah Neal's murder is still under investigation. Sarah’s mother believes her daughter’s dark secret is a clue to her murder.

Sep 17, 2005

For the mother of an Omaha teenager, the past three months has been the worst.

Nan Neal’s 16-year-old daughter Sarah was murdered in June, but the case remains unsolved – a wound that time is not healing.

“It’s getting harder,” said Nan. “And it’s probably going to get harder.”

Three months ago, Sarah was found murdered in her home near 54th and Fowler.

“Everything makes me grieve,” said Nan. “I grieve when the kids went back to school, because this would have been Sarah’s senior year. She was so excited about her senior year.”

No arrests have been made in the case. All Omaha police will say is Sarah’s murder is still under investigation. But Sarah’s family believes their daughter’s dark secret is a clue to her murder.

Shortly before Sarah’s death, Nan came across some of Sarah’s poetry and drawings. That’s when she learned Sarah had been sexually assaulted when she was six years old.

Nan believes her daughter’s decade-old secret led her down a destructive path. She said her daughter had a tendency to make bad decisions about those she befriended.

“I do believe if that hadn’t happened that she would be alive,” said Nan. “Her life would have taken a very different path and she’d be alive today.”

Some say time heals. It never healed Sarah’s pain and so far, it hasn’t healed her mother’s.

“It’s going to go on forever,” Nan said.

Sarah’s murder is one of several homicides this summer that remain unsolved.
November 11th, 2009 03:33 AM
Dan_the_man Exclusive: Stalking Suspect Connected to Young Murder Victim


Omaha, NE - Action 3 News digs up recent protection orders taken out against the same man the family of a murdered girl believes is dangerous.

Someone smashes out a car's windshield and slashes the tires of a young woman's car.
The woman claims her abusive ex-boyfriend did it. And that's not all. The alleged victim says she was hiding out in her grandmother's apartment with her toddler when her ex tried to hurt them.

Her grandmother says, "He threw that rock through this window and it bounced off the bed (where the woman and boy were laying ), it hit the closet and knocked a hole in closet ." That's when the young woman got a protection order against her ex, 32 year old Cletus Alford.

Police say they arrested him Sunday as he peeked through the same broken window. The woman, who doesn't want to be identified says, "I'm happy he's behind bars before he can do anything to another female ."

We're protecting the college student's identity. She started dating AAlford in 2005, shortly after the murder of Sarah Neal, who'd also dated him.
We asked the woman when she started putting two and two together connected Alford to the slain Sarah Neal? "Well, he told me about her when we first got together about the pornography charges pending against him ."

Alford allegedly took nude pictures of the 16 year old but never went to court on the charges. Someone killed the North High star athlete in her kitchen. The killer's never been caught.

Sarah's family took out protection orders against Alford, for stalking and slashing the tires on her Mustang. But he was never charged in her death. The woman says, "The same stuff he was doing to her he was doing to me.. Slicing the tires, peeking through windows, stalking calling multiple times wanting to know where I'm at every minute of the day."

The grandmother says it really scares her that Alford was connected to the dead teen. The woman says, "I hope he never gets out.. I repeat, never gets out.. I hope he rots in there."

Alford in the Douglas County Corrections Center. Again, he has not been charged in the death of Sarah Neal.
November 11th, 2009 03:34 AM
Dan_the_man Exclusive: Stalking Victim Now Person of Interest in Teen's Murder

Nov 10, 2009

Omaha, NE - A major development in a story Action 3 News broke this week. A stalking suspect, may now be connected to the murder of a teenage girl.

Action 3 News Reporter Michelle Bandur uncovered the exclusive details in the case.

Several young women have taken out protection orders against Cletus Alford. With his recent arrest for violating the latest protection order, the Douglas County Attorney tells us he can't ignore Alford's history with women. He is now calling him a person of interest in the unsolved murder of Sarah Neal.

Someone killed the 16-year old in 2005. Her father found her in the family's kitchen. Neal's killer has never been charged.

Alford had dated her and police arrested him for taking nude photos of the teen. Sarah's family even filed protection orders against Alford for stalking and slashing the tires of her Mustang.

Another women, now tells a similar story. "I hate to say it, but I think she was the reason for me being able to be here right now," says the young woman, who is asking for her identity to be hidden.

The college student started dating Alford after Neal's murder. The woman tells Action 3 News she after she broke off the relationship a few months ago, Alford's obsession with her grew out of control.

She claims Alford smashed the windshield and slashed the tires of her car. She says he even hurled a rock through her Grandmother's apartment window when she and her son were hiding out there. The Grandmother says she took them in after Alford threatened to kill her.

"He was talking if he can't have her, can't nobody have her," says the grandmother.

Investigators are now looking into Alford's alleged patterns of abuse with Sarah Neal, and other women.

We asked his ex-girlfriend what she thinks would happen if she stayed with him and did not file the protection order. "I don't think I would be sitting here in this room telling this story," she says. "I'd probably be buried and my son would be left motherless."

Alford went before a judge on Tuesday for violating the protection order. He is being held on $150,000 bond. He is allowed no contact with his ex-girlfriend.
November 11th, 2009 03:35 AM
November 11th, 2009 03:35 AM
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November 17th, 2009 06:22 PM
DesertDeltaDawn Omahan 'of interest' in slaying

By Jason Kuiper

November 17, 2009

An Omaha man facing several domestic violence charges also is considered a “person of interest” in the unsolved 2005 slaying of Sarah Neal, a 16-year-old Omaha North student.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said police continue to investigate what role the man, 32-year-old Cletus J. Alford, might have played in the death of Neal. Alford and Neal had dated.

Alford has not been arrested or charged in Neal's slaying, and he declined to be interviewed for this story.

Neal's father found her body in the family's home at 4612 N. 54th Circle on June 21, 2005. She had been shot. Neal would have been a senior that fall at North, where she participated in softball, basketball and track.

Kleine said he has talked to his department's domestic violence unit about Alford's current case and past cases.

“He has an obvious pattern of domestic abuse, domestic violence,” Kleine said.

But, Kleine said, the man's pattern of domestic violence isn't enough to charge him in Neal's death.

“He has been looked at and continues to be looked at in regard to her death,” Kleine said.

Alford's attorney, Steve Lefler, said he had not heard anything about the Neal slaying in regard to his client. He said he couldn't comment on the domestic violence charges Alford is facing because he had not yet reviewed the case.

Alford is being held in the Douglas County Jail on misdemeanor charges stemming from allegations made by a former girlfriend, now 18. He has been charged with violating a protection order, obstructing police and disturbing the peace. He is being held on $155,000 bail and has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. Alford is set to go to trial in that case next month.

In that case, the former girlfriend reported that tires on her car were slashed, the windshield smashed, the interior upholstery shredded and the levers on the steering column broken off.

Alford was arrested when he was found hiding outside the apartment of the former girlfriend's grandmother. He ran from police but was caught a short time later.

The former girlfriend had requested a protection order against Alford last month after she said he threw a brick through her grandmother's apartment window and was spotted peering through the window.

A police report was filed in that incident but no arrests were made.

The former girlfriend, a college student, asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation by Alford or his family. She said she has been living in fear since about six months after she started dating him about four years ago. She was 15 at the time.

She said Alford occasionally talked about Neal. She said he told her he had been arrested for videotaping Neal but said she had lied about what happened and lied about her age. Alford was ordered to stand trial on charges of manufacturing child pornography for videotaping Neal. The charges later were dismissed.

The former girlfriend said she learned just last year that Neal had been slain.

Neal's mother, Nan Neal, said that Alford made threats against her daughter and that the family suspected him of slashing her tires on several occasions and of stalking her.

Alford served eight months in jail in 2004 for felony terroristic threats. In that case, he was arrested by Douglas County sheriff's deputies in December 2003 for attacking and threatening another girlfriend in front of her 11-year-old son.

Douglas County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Marty Bilek said Alford pushed and choked the woman and said “No one will ever see you again.” The woman asked him if he was going to kill her and he said he would, Bilek said.

The 18-year-old woman in the current case against Alford said she knew him from her neighborhood and became involved with him in late 2005. She said he told her he was 19, though she later learned he was about 28.

She also learned later that the start of their romance came just months after Neal was shot to death.

She said that she broke up with Alford in May and that he started stalking her soon after.

She started seeing a therapist late last week, she said, to deal with recurring nightmares and other problems resulting from the relationship.

Anyone with information on Neal's death should call the homicide unit at 444-5656 or Crime Stoppers at 444-STOP (7867). Tips also may be texted to OPD at CRIMES (274637) or submitted online at
November 24th, 2009 04:57 PM
Magpie Man accused of using teen for porn

By Jason Kuiper

November 24, 2009

Charges of manufacturing child pornography have been refiled against a 32-year-old Omaha man in connection with a videotape of a 16-year-old girl who later was shot to death.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said he has refiled the child porn charge against Cletus J. Alford for allegedly videotaping Sarah Neal stripping.

Neal was shot to death in June of 2005 and no arrests have been made in the case. Kleine has called Alford a person of interest in that case. Alford and Neal had dated.

Alford, 4118 Grant St., also is facing domestic abuse charges in connection with another teenage girl. The former girlfriend reported that tires on her car were slashed, the windshield smashed, the interior upholstery shredded and the levers on the steering column broken off.

Alford is set to go to trial next month in that case on several misdemeanor charges, including violating a protection order, obstructing police and disturbing the peace. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

His attorney Steve Lefler, said he had not yet reviewed the police reports relating to Alford's new charge.

Alford was ordered to stand trial in the child porn case several years ago but the charges were dismissed.

Kleine said the charges were dismissed at the request of the police department because of concerns that the case could interfere with the investigation into Neal's death. Kleine would only say authorities no longer have those concerns.