1996 North Myrtle Beach murder case is now closed

Grand Strand Crime

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Investigators have identified a suspect in a 1996 cold case of a woman murdered in North Myrtle Beach.

New DNA testing, which was not available in 1996, matched that of Ronald Lee Moore, a man wanted in a series of unsolved rapes, burglaries, and an additional homicide. Moore died in prison, however, and cannot be charged.

Shawn Marie Neal, 23, was found dead in a condo on South Ocean Boulevard in June of 1996. Her case went cold and remained unsolved. With a goal of bringing closure for Neal’s family and to serving justice, North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety investigators submitted DNA from the scene to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Forensic Lab for analysis in 2017.

The DNA profile was put through a national DNA database and matched that of Moore. A review of cases in which he was a suspect revealed striking similarities with the death of Neal, investigators said.

Moore had no discernible ties to North Myrtle Beach, either as a visitor or as a resident, investigators said.

However, detectives learned, “Moore had friends in Louisiana he would visit and it is possible that while traveling from Maryland to Louisiana, he passed through North Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand and committed the 1996 homicide.”

 The newly discovered DNA evidence, together with other evidence, led investigators to determine probable cause would exist to charge Moore with the homicide of Shawn Marie Neal. But public records show Moore died while jailed in Louisiana in 2008. 

Investigators said they will close Shawn Neal’s case, noting that the only known suspect has died.  They will continue to work on finding any other cases for which Moore could be a suspect.

In 2010, News13 spoke with Neal’s mother about her daughter’s murder.

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