Sheriff Chitwood: "He very easily is alive" - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Sheriff Chitwood: "He very easily is alive"

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Jessica Miller Neal and Sonny Neal Jessica Miller Neal and Sonny Neal
The Neal's home on Greensprings Road in the Dawnville community The Neal's home on Greensprings Road in the Dawnville community
Jessica Neal's salon in Dalton Jessica Neal's salon in Dalton

DAWNVILLE, WHITFIELD COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - A note on the door says Dazzle tanning salon will reopen soon.

For now the locks are changed. The only people coming and going are investigators.

"They had a warrant to come back today, which was issued by the GBI," said Susan Castle, who owns the building.

It's the second time agents have searched Jessica Neal's salon since she and her grandfather were violently murdered last week.

"They were specific about what they were looking for," Castle told Channel 3. "They didn't find anything, but primarily they were looking for Jessica's husband."

Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood says his focus is on finding Jessica's husband, Sonny Neal. He's been named the primary suspect in the case.

"He very easily is alive," Chitwood said, "we are following up and trying to track every move."

Chitwood wouldn't go into detail, but says his department is following up on transactions and anything traceable that may lead to Neal.

"He's unpredictable," said Chitwood. "We feel like the community itself is safe, but people who are closely associated, family members, they might want to be careful."

Deputies are staying close to Neal's family members, including Jessica Neal's daughter. The 9-year-old was the one to discover the two victims.

Investigators are offering a reward.

Tips are pouring in, but so far they have only lead to dead ends.

"We don't know what might be legitimate, so we are spending a lot of time on tips that do come in just to weed out the good from the bad," explained Chitwood.

Until there's a break in the case, the crime scene is being contained and guarded by deputies.

Today family members honored the lives of Jessica Neal and Donald Shedd.

"They all seem to be working together just to continue to do what Jessica wanted to do, and just move forward," said Castle.

Moving forward with caution, as the search for Sonny Neal continues.

"I can't imagine that he would come back here," said Castle, "I think that would be crazy to do that."

A reward amount has not been set. Sheriff Chitwood says it will depend on the value of the information provided.

The crime lab is still working to complete autopsies on Jessica Neal and Donald Shedd.

Chitwood will only say the manner of death was "violent".

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