Tracy Jo Shine was born on 12/7/62 and was murdered by her boyfriend, Michael Durwood Neal on or about August 8, 1987. He supposedly dismembered her and put her in a 55 gallon drum full of acid. He has been in prison since 1985 for another attempted murder and talked about Tracy's murder, but thought that since we didn't have a body, we couldn't do anything. 

However, the Harris County Sheriff's Department Cold Crime Squad finally was able to get some DNA results from a single hair found in the refrigerator that contained Tracy's body originally.  The grand jury finally indicted Neal in March of 2000.  The trial date was set for November 28, 2000, before Judge Joan Campbell, 248th Criminal District Court, Harris County, Texas.  In January 2001, Michael Neal, 44, already serving a life sentence for aggravated assault, pleaded guilty to the murder Tracy Jo Shine and got a 45-year sentence. 

Michael Neal has spent most of his life in prison and had only been released in January of 1985 when my daughter met him. By August of that year she was dead. 

Tracy loved unicorns and her favorite color was yellow. Tracy was involved in the Brownies and Junior Girl Scouts. Tracy took jazz dancing for many years as a child and went to the High School of Performing and Visual Arts in the 10th grade. She was very passionate about her dancing and loved dogs. 

Unfortunately, Tracy began taking drugs while attending HSPVA and from that point own had a very turbulent life. She was having a real problem with drugs when she was murdered but if Tracy's life was not taken, she might have had a chance to clean up her life and return to the sweet person she was before. Now she will never have the chance.

 

Sweet Angel of Compassion
You heard our heartfelt pleas
Asking for your presence
We're down on bended knees

Watching so much sorrow
Each day will just bring more
Hold us with your loving wings
Saddened hearts implore

Come and hold us closely
We need you by our side
Comfort and console us
With dawn each day we cry

We need your gentle softness
To help us all get through
Know you are a gift of God
His mission just for you

Overwhelmed with love now
You've come to us this day
Gentle soft sweet whispers
Your floral gift's sachet

Flowers in the breeze you bring
They fall from heaven's light
Gift of love you're sending now
Compassion through the night.

~ Francine Pucillo ~
Šused with permission
 

News Articles

3/10/88
Aryan group member gets life term in shooting case

An Aryan Brotherhood member suspected of dissolving a murdered woman's body in acid last year was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for shooting a man in the nose. Jurors in state District Judge Woody Densen's court sentenced two-time ex-convict Michael Durwood Neal, 32. Neal is also under a 20-year sentence in Brazoria County for delivery of drugs. Neal's latest sentence was for the unexplained shooting of David Kirkland, 41, in the nose Aug. 31 in a trailer off Hempstead Highway. Prosecutor Glenn Gotschall said Kirkland slipped just as Neal was firing the pistol, narrowly escaping a much more serious wound. Last Friday, Kirkland, an employee of Neal's brother-in-law, signed a document saying he wanted to drop attempted murder charges, but Gotschall went to trial anyway. Police said Neal is a prime suspect in the Aug. 15 murder and dismemberment of a woman identified only as Tracy Jo Shine , whose body was subsequently dissolved in acid from an illicit drug laboratory. Details about Shine 's death were not available.

10/16/99

Grand jury indicts inmate in'87 slaying of girlfriend

A Harris County man already serving a life sentence for aggravated assault was indicted Friday in the 1987 mutilation murder of his girlfriend.
New information from witnesses that matched old leads and possible DNA evidence links Michael Neal to the Aug. 12, 1987, death of Tracy Jo Shine, said Harris County Sheriff's Lt. Bert Diaz. Diaz and prosecutor Steve Baldassano said authorities believe Shine, 24, was killed - they are unsure how - in a house she shared with Neal in the 7900 block of Machala in northwest Harris County. Her body was put in a car and taken to a car lot at FM 1960 and Jones Road, investigators said. Neal , now 43, then went to a hardware store and bought saws and muriatic acid. The body was dismembered and the remains sealed in an acid-filled steel drum and disposed of in an unknown location, Diaz said. Diaz said detectives believe Neal , at the time a drug dealer, killed Shine because he believed, wrongly, that she was a police informant. Neal has denied involvement in Shine's death, Diaz said. Her remains have never been found. But in the past 10 months, the sheriff's "cold case squad" has found new leads indicating that Neal bragged about killing Shine, Diaz said. That information "enhanced" evidence gathered in 1987, when Neal was considered a suspect. It's also possible that DNA evidence left in a kitchen freezer can link Neal to the murder, Diaz said. Neal , who has an extensive criminal record, is eligible for parole in 2007 on the assault conviction, Diaz said.

01/09/01
Prisoner pleads guilty in girlfriend's '87 killing

A Harris County man pleaded guilty to murder Monday after leading authorities to a garbage receptacle where his girlfriend's body was disposed of in 1987. Michael Neal , 44, already serving a life sentence for aggravated assault, was sentenced to 45 years for the Aug. 12, 1987, murder of Tracy Jo Shine. The latest term is to be served concurrently with the life sentence, which means instead of being eligible for parole in 2007, Neal will have to serve a minimum of about another 10 years. In the last year, new leads developed in the case, including new methods of DNA testing that showed that a refrigerator confiscated from Neal 's home once contained Shine's body. Also, there were indications that Neal bragged about the killing. Prosecutor Steve Baldassano said Neal on Monday took them to a strip shopping center near Jones Road and FM 1960, where several trash-collection companies once had garbage bins. A check with one company revealed the body most likely was taken to a city landfill. The chances of recovery would be costly and not likely to yield anything because so much time has elapsed. Authorities believe Shine, 24, was killed - they are unsure how - in a house she shared with Neal in the 7900 block of Machala in northwest Harris County. Although Neal , who has a long criminal history, denied any involvement, Harris County "cold case" detectives believed Neal , at the time a drug dealer, killed Shine because he thought she was a police informant. The defense lawyer refused to comment on the case. 

 

 

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