Tracy Neef
#1
Tracy Neef: How did 7-year-old Tracy Marie Neef vanish from her elementary school and end up dead a quarter-mile west of Barker Dam near Nederland? It's a homicide that has puzzled investigators since the morning of March 16, 1984.
That's when Tracy's mother dropped her first-grader off at Bertha Heid Elementary School in Thornton. But school officials reported that Tracy never attended school that day. Her body was found around 5 p.m. about 30 feet from a road off Boulder County 119.

Next to Tracy's body were her school supplies. Her mother didn't realize her daughter hadn't made it into the school building until she went to pick up Tracy from school.

Authorities ruled that the girl died between 10 a.m. and noon. The official cause of death was asphyxiation.


Several suspects mentioned in the Ramsey investigation are also mentioned as persons of interest in the Neef case.    This was a concern to Lou Smit as were a couple other crimes against children.  I have letters from Lou to Law Enforcement where he complains that these good leads, some with suspect names attached, were given to the police and disappeared into what Lou described as a "black hole".
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#2
Serial killer Scott Kimball details innocence in cold cases
Lafayette native says in a nine-page letter that he was nowhere near murder scenes
By John Aguilar Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 11/04/2010 07:57:10 PM MDT




Scott Kimball, seen as he was charged at the Boulder County Justice Center in October 2009. ( MARK LEFFINGWELL )
Free to Kill
See the Camera's 15-part series on Scott Kimball at scottleekimball.com.
Convicted serial killer Scott Kimball, serving 70 years in prison for killing three Colorado women and his uncle while acting as an FBI informant, explained in detail to the Camera how he wasn't involved in at least four other cold-case homicides.
In a nine-page letter received by the newspaper Thursday, Kimball wrote that he couldn't have killed a 7-year-old girl in 1984, two women in 1987 and 2004, and a federal prosecutor in 2001 because he was nowhere near the locations their bodies were found.
Various media outlets have reported that the FBI or other agencies are eyeing Kimball, 44, in the deaths of Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Wales in Seattle; 7-year-old Tracy Neef in Nederland; 26-year-old Catrina Powell in Westminster; and 37-year-old Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins.
The FBI declined Thursday to comment on or confirm any investigations.
Four murders, four denials
Kimball wrote that he was arrested in Montana on Feb. 14, 1987 -- three days after Hettrick's body was found in a field in Fort Collins -- and thus couldn't have been involved in her death. But he didn't provide an alibi in his letter for where he was on Feb. 11, 1987.

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A law enforcement source told a Fort Collins newspaper last month that DNA found on Hettrick's clothing didn't match Kimball's DNA.
With regard to the murder of Powell, who was found dead behind a Westminster strip mall on Oct. 25, 2004, Kimball insists he was 1,000 miles away in California's Coachella Valley at the time.
"I was at my brother's house in La Quinta. I watched the World Series at 'Neil's Lounge' in Indio, Calif.," he wrote. "Boston vs. St. Louis (it was a big deal because Boston had not won a World Series in many, many years)."
His credit card records, he wrote, would show that he wasn't in Colorado at the time Powell's body was discovered.
The Camera wasn't able to independently obtain Kimball's financial and personal records Thursday.
Both Powell and Hettrick suffered eerily similar wounds, including cuts to the breast and groin area. According to an interview a former cellmate of Kimball's gave to the FBI in 2009, Kimball claimed to have picked up a "hooker" on Colfax Avenue, used acid on her and strangled her.
The fact that Powell, a transient who was last seen on Colfax Avenue in Denver, had been strangled and had chemical burns on her head and torso didn't become public until two months ago.
Kimball wrote that he is "95 percent sure" he was in Alaska on Oct. 11, 2001, the day Wales was fatally shot in his house in Seattle, working on a fishing boat.
"I was hurt on the job and they had to pay my hospital/doctor/clinic visits," Kimball wrote.
But in the yet-to-be released book "SLK: Serial Killer" -- written by Kimball's cousin -- Kimball's mother tells the author that she traveled to Seattle in the fall of 2001 and spent time with her son there while he recuperated from his injury.
Kimball's letter also included a denial that he had anything to do with the March 16, 1984, murder of Neef, a first-grader who was snatched outside a school in Thornton, killed and dumped in Nederland.
His high school records would show that he was in class in Hamilton, Mont., the day Neef was killed, Kimball wrote.
"I was 17 years (old) at the time," he wrote.
Kimball, who spends 23 1/2 hours a day locked up in his cell at Sterling Correctional Institute, pointed a finger in his letter at the man who molested him when he was young -- Ted Peyton -- saying he should be looked at "very hard."
Peyton, 76, was convicted in 1991 of sex assault on a child after repeatedly abusing Kimball in the 1970s and 1980s.
Kimball wrote that Peyton owns a cabin in Nederland, close to where Neef's body was found.
Thornton police Detective Doug Parker, the lead investigator on the Neef murder case, said he hadn't interviewed Peyton or Kimball.
"Nothing leads us to believe he is involved," he said Thursday when asked separately about Kimball and Peyton.
Kimball rakes DA Garnett
Kimball also used part of his letter to criticize Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, whom he accused of politicizing his case by making it an issue in his unsuccessful race against Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.
During the campaign, Garnett lambasted the former U.S. Attorney for Colorado for not keeping a tight enough leash on Kimball after Suthers' deputies pushed for his release from prison as an FBI informant in December 2002. Kimball went on his killing spree over the next 20 months.
"Now Boulder DA Stan Garnett is exploiting the deaths of others for his own gain," Kimball wrote.
He said he felt especially bad for the family of 19-year-old Kaysi McLeod, whom Kimball killed in August 2003, because they live in Colorado and had to watch political ads on TV with his face in them.
Garnett scoffed at Kimball's accusation Thursday.
"It's nice to see that he is so concerned about the McLeod family after murdering their daughter," he said.
Garnett said that whatever Kimball claims about his innocence in other unsolved homicides, investigators will proceed in a methodical way based on the evidence.
"He's pleaded guilty to four murders that we prosecuted him for, and the FBI and other competent authorities will investigate where it's appropriate and make a determination on whether to connect the murders to Mr. Kimball or not," he said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer John Aguilar at 303-473-1389 or aguilarj@dailycamera.com.
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#3
First-grader vanishes after mom drops her off at school

Names: Tracy Marie Neef, 7
Location kidnapped: Bertha Heid Elementary School in Thornton
Agency: Thornton Police Department
Date disappeared: March 16, 1984
Cause of Deathasphyxiation
Suspect: None identified

Seven-year-old Tracy Marie Neef was wearing a t-shirt that said “I don’t look for trouble” when she ran through a gate at Bertha Heid Elementary School on March 16, 1984 and vanished.
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The mystery of who intercepted her that day has troubled Thornton homicide detectives, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and FBI agents and Boulder County sheriff’s investigators for 24 years.

Tracy’s body was found in a small grassy area between rocks a quarter-mile west of Barker Dam near Nederland, between a dirt road and the reservoir.

Since her death, the circumstances leading to Tracy’s murder have been scrutinized by more than 100 local, county, state and federal investigators.

Detectives looked at every known sex offender in Colorado.

But key evidence that might have led to the killer was either destroyed or lost, Thornton Crimes Against Persons Det. Doug Parker said.

“Many circumstances worked against the investigation from the beginning,” he said.

On the day she disappeared, Tracy watched cartoons in her home, which was about six blocks from school. She went with her mom as Susan Neef delivered newspapers to neighbors.

At 8:16 a.m. Susan Neef drove her daughter to school. Because she was 10 minutes late, there were no other kids outside on the north side of Bertha Heid, Parker said.
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Also because she was late, the door on the north end of the school was locked, Parker said.

Susan watched Tracy run to an opening in the chain-link fence surrounding the school, carrying a red school bag with her Pacman lunch box inside

Susan Neef watched her daughter walk through the gate to the front entrance on the south side of the school.

Watch video: Aerials of Bertha Heid Elementary

She never entered the school. Tracy likely met her killer while trying to find a way into the school, Parker said.

“There is nothing to indicate that anyone from the school had anything to do with it,” he said.

Poze Boulevard is a heavily traveled street that curves around the school. In all likelihood, someone who knew her called the girl to a car or a stranger grabbed her and forced her into their car, Parker said.

Tracy’s father, Gary Neef, of Commerce City, a carpenter who remodels homes, said it is possible that someone who knew Tracy met her there.

“Tracy wasn’t the type who would go to somebody she didn’t know,” he said.

A few weeks earlier, she had called him when his wife was late picking her up, Neef said. When he got to school Tracy was standing next to her teacher, sobbing.

At 1:30 p.m. the day Tracy disappeared, a man found her red school bag next to a dirt road at Barker Reservoir in Boulder County.

At 2:45 p.m., Susan Neef drove to school to pick her daughter up. She waited for a few minutes then drove home to see if her daughter had walked home. Then she drove back to the school and spoke with her daughter’s teacher, who said Tracy had never come to school.

Gary Neef’s boss paged him and he called his wife, who was crying. Together they drove around the neighborhood until 4 p.m., and then called 911, Gary Neef said.

The investigation of Tracy’s disappearance started after all the teachers and students had gone home for the day, Parker said. It wouldn’t be until Monday that police were able to question them about anything they may have seen. Nobody had seen Tracy disappear, Parker said.

A couple discovered Tracy’s body at 4:45 p.m.

Tracy was found lying sideways with her knees bent together and her hands lying palm down on her belly. Her school supplies were scattered around her body.

“It appeared like she was placed there and not thrown there,” Parker said.

Tracy had a scratch on her right cheek and one above her left eye that appeared to be caused by a fingernail. The marks may have been caused as the kidnapper tried to control Tracy after pulling her into his car.

Tracy had ligature marks on both wrists indicating she had been tied with a rope or cord, Parker said. Some rapists and killers carry abduction tools like rope with them in their cars, he said.

She waswearing her jeans and t-shirt.

It was a key piece of evidence along with other signs that Tracy may have died before the kidnapper could sexually assault her, Parker said.

A ligature mark on her right chin that may have been caused by a coat strap is another clue. While trying to silence Tracy, the killer may have tied her coat so tightly above her mouth that she could not breathe, he said. While her kidnapper may have intended to kill Tracy from the moment he saw her, killing her may have been an act of desparation or a mistake, Parker said.

Tracy’s autopsy later showed that she died of asphyxiation, Parker said.

Tracy was found lying sideways with her knees bent together and her hands lying palm down on her belly. Her school supplies were scattered around her body.
“It appeared like she was placed there and not thrown there,” Parker said.
Tracy had a scratch on her right cheek and one above her left eye that appeared to be caused by a fingernail. The marks may have been caused as the kidnapper tried to control Tracy after pulling her into his car.
Tracy had ligature marks on both wrists indicating she had been tied with a rope or cord, Parker said. Some rapists and killers carry abduction tools like rope with them in their cars, he said.
She waswearing her jeans and t-shirt.
It was a key piece of evidence along with other signs that Tracy may have died before the kidnapper could sexually assault her, Parker said.
A ligature mark on her right chin that may have been caused by a coat strap is another clue. While trying to silence Tracy, the killer may have tied her coat so tightly above her mouth that she could not breathe, he said. While her kidnapper may have intended to kill Tracy from the moment he saw her, killing her may have been an act of desparation or a mistake, Parker said.
Tracy’s autopsy later showed that she died of asphyxiation, Parker said.
Although there were signs that Tracy was molested, the attacker did not remove her clothes or rape her, indications the kidnapper may have changed his plans after killing the girl prematurely, Parker said.
The fact that Tracy’s body was left so close to a well-traveled road, Highway 119, may indicate the killer panicked and quickly disposed of the body.

Tracy’s school bag was found about 100 feet from her body. It may have been thrown out the window of a car as the killer was driving away and realized he still had it with him, Parker said.

Homicide detectives estimated Tracy took her last breath between 10:30 a.m. and noon based on accounts of people who drove on the dirt road that day and when her school bag was seen.

A coroner discovered two hairs that could have belonged to the killer during an autopsy.

One found on Tracy’s shoe was lost while it was handled over the years by Thornton detectives, FBI experts and Denver crime laboratory investigators, Parker said.

Another found near Tracy’s pubic area, was contaminated during DNA testing in 1998. The testing only proved useful in 2006 when a Denver University DNA expert was able to exclude two longstanding suspects, he said.

There are no other suspects, Parker said.

Gary Neef said investigators never told him about the hairs.

“That’s all the evidence they had,” Gary Neef said. “Now with no DNA we’ll never know who did it unless the killer confesses.”

Over the years, he said he coped by telling himself that the killer likely committed more terrible crimes, got caught and is rotting in prison.

Tracy’s death led a year later to her parents’ divorce, Gary Neef said.

“We kind of blamed each other and grew apart,” he said.

He said his wife Susan left the state with his 6-year-old son and he didn’t hear from them for 10 years.

Parker said police have not received any new leads in the case in many years.
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