HomeCrime BeatRemains of Maranda Merrell Neal positively identified by crime labRemains of Maranda Merrell Neal positively identified by crime labThu, May 25, 2023 by StaffSHARE NOW The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announces a significant development in the investigation into the disappearance of Maranda Neal. On May 5, 2023, during exhaustive grid searches over hundreds of acres of woods, human remains were discovered southeast of President’s Circle, in an area of dense vegetation. DNA testing performed by the Arkansas State Crime Lab has officially confirmed that the remains belong to Miranda Neal.The investigation into Ms. Neal’s disappearance began in May of 2022 when she was reported missing. After several area searches and all leads into her disappearance had ran out, a deer hunter discovered an ATV in a wooded area near Robinson Road in November of 2022. The ATV was later confirmed to match the description of the one that Ms. Neal was last seen riding before her disappearance. Following this discovery, another search was conducted in the vicinity to gather any evidence or indications related to the circumstances of Ms. Neal’s disappearance.To aid in the search efforts, the Quapaw Nation Office of Emergency Management collaborated with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Morgan Nick Foundation, and many other dedicated first responders to conduct searches on Friday, May 5, 2023 through Sunday, May 7, 2023. Multiple searches were carried out in the Watson Chapel area involving approximately forty (40) searchers. The operation involved the second deployment of K9 teams specially trained in Search in Rescue, along with the active participation of law enforcement officers.Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. expresses his deepest condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of Ms. Neal during this incredibly difficult time. “The loss of a loved one is an unimaginable tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends as they navigate through their grief. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to supporting them throughout this process”, said Sheriff Woods.We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Quapaw Nation Office of Emergency Management, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Morgan Nick Foundation, and all of the first responders who dedicated their time, expertise, and resources to assist in the search for Ms. Neal. The collaborative efforts demonstrated the true spirit of community and exemplifying the unwavering commitment to serving.The investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ms. Neal’s disappearance and discovery of her remains is ongoing. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work diligently to gather additional information and bring resolution to this case.Anyone with information related to this case is urged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 541-5351 or the non-emergency dispatch at (870) 541-5300. Tips can also be provided anonymously through [email protected].