This website is about the murder of Neal and Brendan Abernathy on February 19, 1997.
Neal was a friend of mine. Not a huge friend. Not a passing acquaintance kind a friend. You know - just a friend, the kind most people have a bunch of. He and Susan had the nicest house in the circle of friends we shared, in the little local branch of a historical "living history" club we all belonged to - so we often met at their place. Meetings, pot-lucks, fun-stuff in the back yard when the weather was nice - a lot of that happened at Neal and Susan's.
Neal and Susan had a great kid named Brendan. I met him when he was 5 or 6 - and even at that age he was a great kid. A few years after I met the Abernathys, Neal started his own business - something he had been working towards for a long time. It was one of those tune-up and brake-work franchise garages. He gave the folks in our chapter of the middle ages history club a discount. He occasionally employed friends who had lost their jobs in the silicon valley lay- offs of the late 80's and early 90's. That was the kind of guy Neal was - he looked out for people. He was an open-handed and generous kind of guy - a genuinely nice person.
I'd gone off to grad school outside of the Bay Area, so I didn't see much of Neal and Susan after that, but I still tried to keep tabs on folks, talking with mutual friends about what everyone was up to. I was woken up one morning by a phone call from a friend with disturbing news. The day before, Neal had taken the day off with plans to spend it with his son. Brendan, now 12. Neal made the rounds of various appointments during the morning - if I'm not mistaken, one of those appointments was with Brendan's orthodontist. Susan had talked to Neal on the phone in the middle of the day and things appeared perfectly normal at that point. But when Susan came home from work, she found the door into the house ajar, and Neal and Brendan murdered execution-style in the living room.
This murder has never made any sense to any of Neal's or Brendan's friends. The Abernathy family was well adjusted, functional and happy - there was little wrong at the Abernathy house. They were nice people living in a nice neighborhood in a nice town. The style of murder of Neal and Brendan is highly suggestive of execution killings related to the world of illegal drugs - but even entertaining the thought that any of the Abernathys were involved in illicit drugs is so absurd that it is almost surreal!
Before you move on to other parts of this website, let's talk about murder cases gone cold. It's been more than 11 years since Neal and Brendan were murdered even though it seems like their funeral was just yesterday. In general, though, cases that aren't cracked within a magic 48 hour period are often never solved. The cases that are eventually solved usually have one advantage over those that are not and that advantage boils down to the fact that someone refused to let the memory of a case be forgotten. That's why it's important to "keep the memory green" about the murder of Neal and Brendan Abernathy. Even if you never knew Neal or Brendan, someday you might stumble on something relevant to their murder - and that something might be the magic piece that breaks the case wide open for the police. So thank you for visiting this web site and thank you also for remembering the Abernathys. Keep their memory green.
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