Body found in trailer identified

Jun. 05, 2014 @ 04:50 PM

Lenoir police have identified the body found in an abandoned mobile home Tuesday off Meadowlane Drive as a man who lived nearby.

Foul play is not suspected in the death of Neal Joshua King, 36, of 1026 Perkins Place NW, but his death is being treated as “suspicious” because police do not think he died of natural causes. The body has been sent to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center for an autopsy.

King had a history of brushes with the law and with his neighbors.

“He was a trouble-maker,” said Tony Dula, who lives just below the Perkins Place mobile home where King lived.

Dula, 55, tried to befriend King and his father, Danny, when both lived in that mobile home, which has no electricity. Danny King used to shoot pool with Dula, who let the Kings snake an extension cord through the yard in the winter so they could run a heater.

But Dula, who is African-American, said he did not always get along well with Neal King, who was white and made racial comments to him. But Dula said King’s attitude had mellowed since his release from prison in February after serving eight months for a May 2013 conviction for felony breaking and entering. King had previous convictions for setting a woodland fire, simple assault and numerous breaking, entering and larcenies.

“Before, he wouldn’t speak to me, but in the past few days of his life he apologized for saying racial things to me,” Dula said. “I guess he felt bad about what he did.”

King’s body was found about 9 a.m. Tuesday by Brooke Beach, 30, after she decided to investigate the foul odor that she said had been coming for days from an abandoned trailer on Meadowlane Drive, on a steep, overgrown lot a stone’s throw from King’s mobile home. She found King’s body face-down with what appeared to be a belt that had one end around his neck and the other tied to a closet door.

Police do not yet know how long ago King died, but neighbor Jan Main had noticed his absence.

“I began to wonder about him after last week,” Main said. “I realized it had been two weeks since I’d seen him.”

Main said she often saw King, who did not own a car, walking down the gravel drive that ran beside and behind her home on Perkins Place, a short dead-end road that splits from Meadowlane Drive just past where King’s body was found.

Main said investigators knocked on her door Tuesday afternoon looking for clues to the identity of the body found in the mobile home. After hearing Wednesday that it was Neal King, she looked sad.

“He grew up in this area, his family lived up there,” she said. “Poor Neal was just a wasted life.”