Man charged with murder in 47-year-old case back in NC, faces judge
A man charged with killing a Benson woman 47 years ago appeared before a judge Monday.
The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said Larry Joe Scott, 65, had waived extradition from Florida, where he had been living and was arrested, and was returned to North Carolina on Sunday.
Scott had a brief court hearing Monday on charges of felony murder and first-degree kidnapping in the December 1972 death of Bonnie Neighbors.
Neighbors’ family members wept in the courtroom, having thought for so many years that no one would ever be charged in her death.
“I lost and then I gained my hope again,” Rachel Wheeler, Neighbors’ younger sister, said after the hearing. “I thought, ‘It’s got to be. It’s got to be,’ and, of course, prayer, prayer, prayer. All my friends that knew me in Florida are praying. All my nieces and nephews are praying. Yes, there were times I thought, ‘It’s not going to be,’ but I couldn’t lose the hope. I just could not lose the hope.”
Neighbors, 33, disappeared while on her way to pick up her older son from school. After an extensive search, she was found slain in an abandoned migrant worker housing unit. Her infant son was found huddled next to her body unharmed.
That baby, Glenn Neighbors, is now 47. He was in the courtroom Monday but declined to comment after the hearing.
An arrest in the case long eluded investigators, and it wasn’t until recent advances in DNA technology that authorities were able to break the case, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
“For almost 47 years, people thought this day would never come,” Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle said in announcing the charges against Scott. “But this day has come.”