NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (CNN) – A recently closed cold case murder in South Carolina has a link to events documented in the popular podcast, “Serial”.
Shawn Marie Neal was 23 years old, working as an escort in North Myrtle Beach when she was killed in June of 1996.
“She was strangled with an object, and then hung with that same object,” Detective Mike Swarthout of the Myrtle Beach Police said.
For years, Neal’s case went unsolved, one of the lone cold case murders in the city’s history. Now, police have a suspect. North Myrtle Beach police say they now have DNA evidence that connects Ronald Lee Moore, of Maryland, to the murder.
In November 2017, Swarthout and his team reopened the case and found fluid on a mattress cover that hadn’t been tested. Back in 1996, detectives did not have the DNA testing technology needed to trace the fluid to a person.
Swarthout says Moore is the person who killed Neal.
“We hope that our efforts here have brought them some amount of closure,” Swarthout said.
Questions still remain because Moore died in police custody in 2008. He was convicted of Serial Burglar and then later connected through DNA to another murder in 1999 in Maryland. Police believe he may have been passing through Myrtle Beach in hiding at the time of Neal’s murder.
Moore was also a suspect in other burglaries and sexual assaults.
“Serial” discusses him in season one as a suspect in the murder of Hae Min Lee. Lee’s ex-boyfriend is spending life in prison for her murder, and the podcast calls into question whether his conviction was beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Serial” has a 4.5 stars and nearly 60,000 ratings on Apple Podcasts.