Case # 19HF0192
Neal was charged in murder of 11-year-old Linda O’Keefe after being identified as suspect in 46-year-old cold case through investigative genetic genealogy
SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis issued the following statements regarding the death of inmate James Alan Neal who was charged in the 1973 sexual assault and murder of 11-year-old Linda O’Keefe in Newport Beach. It wasn’t until 2019 following a relentless 46-year investigation by law enforcement that investigative genetic genealogy identified Neal as the suspect in Linda’s murder, and he was arrested.
“The pursuit of justice is never-ending, and in this case the hunt for a child rapist and murderer lasted more than 46 years and transcended generations of law enforcement officers,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “It was not if, but when we would find the killer of 11-year-old Linda O’Keefe, and when that day finally came in 2019 as a result of advances in investigative genetic genealogy, we thought we were one step closer to justice for Linda and her family. The death of James Neal prior to putting him on trial for Linda’s rape and murder robs the O’Keefe family of the justice they so deserve and deprives the law enforcement officers of the satisfaction that they finally got their culprit.”
“It was our intention to see James Alan Neal stand trial and answer for the murder of Linda Ann O’Keefe. Linda’s story deeply touched the hearts of our community,” said Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis. “Through the tireless efforts of generations of our investigators, we hope we have been able to bring a measure of closure to Linda’s family, friends, and loved ones.”