Man Arrested in Nine Year Old Murder Mystery

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

Dandridge, Jefferson County (WVLT) - A huge break in a mysterious murder case in Jefferson County.

A man is under arrest for the murder of a woman nine years ago.

Perseverance, that's all investigators will say led to the arrest of 49 year old David Samuel Smith. As far as any other details, they're keeping tight lipped.

Smith was arrested Thursday and charged with first degree murder in the strangling death of 25 year old Donna Sue Neal.

Her body was found on November 13th 1998 along highway 11-E just 500 yards from the Jefferson County line.

Investigators with the TBI, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office have been investigating the case.

Smith has been interviewed before, but recently he became a suspect.

Officers say he is a transient, and listed his address as 3400 Chapman Highway which is an Executive Inn.

They say the two knew each other but would not go into detail about their relationship.

Investigators say the case is not closed because they still have more people they want to talk to who may have known about Neal's death.

Family members did not want to go on camera, but told WVLT over the phone they are relieved there is finally closure in the case.

Investigators say they review cold cases frequently which leads to breaks like this one.

"It gives people or other family members of other victims in the community that they understand that we don't quit on these homicide cases,” says Bob Denny from the TBI.

Smith's bond is set at $100,000.

Officers say more details about the case and what led to Smith's arrest will come out during the preliminary hearing set for July 20th.

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 8486532 -
Gray Television, Inc.