On Thursday, March 31, 1983, at 1:30 p.m., Pamela Neal left her job at the bank to take her lunch break. About five months prior, the 22-year-old started working as a teller at Key Savings & Loan in Englewood, Colorado. Her regular shift was from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. She could walk to work every morning because the bank was located directly across the street from her apartment.
That Thursday, Pam took her paycheck with her when she went to lunch, and she cashed it at a different bank two blocks away. She got a few hundred dollars in cash, which she tucked into the pocket of her coat made of tan leather. After that, she strolled over to a nearby Safeway supermarket and placed an order for some macaroni and cheese and fried chicken from the deli counter. After paying for her lunch, she walked the short distance back to her apartment to eat, stopping along the way to buy a pack of Winston cigarettes and a scratch-off lottery ticket.
Darlene Heintz, Pam’s flatmate, was at work at the bank on that particular day. She watched Pam walk into their apartment building across the street from her teller window. She thought she would see Pam back at the bank soon, but she never showed. By 2:30 pm, Darlene figured Pam had just lost her sense of time and wasn’t coming back. Reminding her flatmate that her lunch break was about to end, she called the apartment but got no response.
After waiting for a short while, Darlene gave the flat another call. Her call was not answered again. Darlene told the bank manager she was going to run across the street to check on Pam because she thought she might have become ill. The door to the third-floor flat was slightly ajar when she hurried up to it, but Pam was nowhere to be seen.
Darlene ran back to the bank, not knowing what was going on, and informed the manager that Pam wasn’t in the flat. The manager made the decision to report Pam missing to the Englewood Police Department after discovering that the apartment’s door had been left open.
Where Pam worked, Key Savings & Loan (picture credit: denverpost.com)
A few minutes later, the first police officers showed up at the flat building. There were numerous indications that Pam had returned to the flat that afternoon, but they couldn’t find any information about her whereabouts. Her lunch was sitting, unopened, on the coffee table in a brown paper bag. It appeared as though Pam had kicked off her high heels when she sat down to eat because they were hidden underneath the table.
Pam’s handbag lay on the ground close to the table. Officers discovered the scratch-off lottery ticket she had just bought inside her wallet. There was an opened pack of cigarettes in her purse along with the ones she had purchased. Normally, as soon as she walked inside, she would toss her flat keys onto a chair, but instead she found them on the floor next to it, as if she had thrown them but missed.
Normally, Pam would watch her favourite soap opera or listen to her stereo while eating her lunch, but there was silence in the apartment. It seemed that she hadn’t stayed inside long enough to switch on the TV or stereo that day.
Pam wasn’t the kind of person who would just up and leave her life behind, even though nothing in the flat seemed out of place and there were no indications of a struggle. People who knew her were worried that she had suffered a terrible accident. After Darlene confirmed that none of Pam’s shoes were missing from their flat, their fears increased. Pam wore no shoes at all, wherever she was.
After being called to the flat, detectives promptly cordoned it off as a crime scene. Later, Englewood Police Sgt. George Egri told reporters that they had completely dismantled the flat in an attempt to find any clues as to Pam’s whereabouts. In an attempt to locate hair or fibres that might lead them to the kidnapper, they vacuumed the floor and the furniture. Unfortunately, they found nothing in their search.
As investigators went door-to-door in the apartment complex, they questioned every occupant about anything strange they had heard or seen that day. Nobody did. The building’s first floor housed shops. One of the shops’ cabinetmakers remembered seeing Pam come in with her lunch in a brown paper bag, but he hadn’t seen her go.
The apartment block was situated on a busy street, particularly in the afternoon. Investigators observed that Pam would have been highly visible on the city street if she had been barefoot, but nobody remembered seeing her that day, nor did anyone witness someone being pushed into a car. The investigators could not figure out how Pam had been removed from the building without anyone noticing.
An extensive search for Pam was undertaken by detectives from the Englewood Police Department and investigators from the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office. In an attempt to get a bus or taxi driver to remember seeing Pam after she left her apartment, they handed out flyers featuring her photo all over the city, but they were unsuccessful. To find out if any salespeople in the vicinity remembered waiting on the barefoot woman, they even contacted every shoe store in the neighbourhood. Not a single one had.
Detectives thought Pam had been murdered because, despite their thorough investigation, they were unable to locate any indication of her whereabouts. In due course, they reclassified the missing person case as a homicide, despite the lack of conclusive evidence of foul play.
Pam seemed, to those who knew her, to be an unlikely victim of homicide. She was a 1978 graduate of Cherry Creek High School, and she had grown up in the Denver metropolitan area. She continued her education at Western State College in Gunnison, where she worked as a nature photographer for a while before returning to the continental United States in 1982.
In late 1982, Pam returned to Colorado and started working as a bank teller at Key Savings & Loan. She had been overjoyed to find a flat so close to her workplace because she didn’t own a car. Her coworkers characterised her as a pleasant and amiable young lady who was very dependable and laid back, and she loved her job.
At the time of Pam’s disappearance, Barney and Pat Neal, her parents, were residents of Maryland. Due to the distance between their residences, Pam didn’t see them very often, but she spoke with them on the phone once a week. Pam had been talking for some time about buying a car, and her father had finally agreed to give her the money she needed. Before she could acquire the car of her dreams, she disappeared.
Pam’s mother said that she was a happy person who always had a positive attitude and a talent for making other people feel good. She cherished being outside, especially when camping, and she delighted in beadwork and plant maintenance.
Pam led a relatively low-risk lifestyle, according to the investigators; she didn’t have many friends and spent most of her evenings watching television with her flatmate. She hadn’t gotten into any arguments or disagreements with anyone, nor did she often visit bars or nightclubs.
Pam had a reliable boyfriend, but at the time of her disappearance, he was working in Longmont, Colorado, about an hour away. The investigators seemed to rule him out pretty quickly. He was never charged in relation to the crime, despite the fact that many expressed doubts about his innocence and there was no evidence pointing to his involvement.
After a short while, the investigation into Pam’s disappearance stalled and eventually ended. Barney found himself hoping that his daughter had disappeared willingly, even though he knew that would never have happened. He told a reporter he hoped Pam had just become overwhelmed and needed a break from everything, but that the publicity surrounding her disappearance had made her feel too ashamed to return.
In due course, Pam’s parents accepted that their daughter was probably dead. “It would be painful if they found her body, but the uncertainty of what happened just amplifies the pain,” Barney said in an admission. All they wanted to know was what had become of her.
Pam vanished, and her whereabouts is still as mysterious as it was the day she went missing. Although the exact circumstances surrounding her disappearance remain unknown to the detectives, they surmise that she most likely left her flat door unlocked and was followed inside. Her coat and the money she had put in her pocket were missing from the apartment, so it’s possible that someone decided to rob her after witnessing her cash her cheque at the bank.
When Pamela Neal vanished in 1983, she was only 22 years old. She was a kind and content individual who most likely fell victim to blackmail. She had no reason to end her life. Pam had brown hair and eyes, and she weighed 110 pounds and stood 5 feet 3 inches tall at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen sporting a tan leather jacket, a light green dress with white lace, a turquoise bracelet, and a turquoise ring. Please call 303-762-2438 to report any information you may have about Pam to the Englewood Police Department.