Editor's Note: This is the second in a continuing series about missing persons in Horry County.
Although she wasn’t officially declared “missing,” police reports indicate that Lisa Myers Neugent’s family hasn’t seen her since Sept. 8, 1999.
On Sept. 17, 1999, the then 22-year-old woman’s mother, Brenda Kay Myers, told Patrolman David Worth Floyd that she was concerned about her daughter.
Neugent lived in Conway, on Flossie Road, with her boyfriend, Frank Isley, the report said. Her mother, who was 39, lived in Summerfield, N.C.
Myers told Floyd the only way she’d had to contact her daughter was through Isley’s beeper, according to the report.
But although she’d called the beeper several times in the previous week, neither her daughter, nor Isley called her back, the report continued.
Myers said she’d also called Isley’s mother and several of her daughter’s friends, but nobody could help her find her daughter.
In the initial report, taken over the phone at about 7 p.m. Sept. 17, Myers told Floyd she thought her daughter had been planning to break up with Isley, who Myers said had a drug problem.
The police report also said, “At this time, there is no information that determines the victim is missing.”
Isley was described in the initial report as a while male, between 28-32 years old, about 5-6 and about 140 pounds.
He was born Oct. 30, 1967, had brown hair and brown eyes.
The 1999 report said his occupation was doing odd jobs.
“There are a lot of missing person reports, and a lot of people come to Myrtle Beach to get away from something in their life,” Floyd, now one of the owners of The Gun Store & Indoor Shooting Range in Conway, said. “It’s not against the law to be missing.”
Floyd remembered there wasn’t a lot of information available to help find Neugent.
“She was an adult living a rough life, and running with a rough crowd,” he said. “The family didn’t speak to her for months, and then they wanted the police to look into it, but we couldn’t find any connection to anyone.”
Four months later
On Jan. 5, 2000, when the family still had not heard from or seen Neugent, Det. Robbie Maxwell filed a report saying he’d spoken with Neugent’s father and uncle.
According to the report, Neugent’s father said Isley had made threats on Neugent’s life, saying if she ever tried to leave him, he’d kill her.
According to that report, Isley forced Neugent to return to South Carolina from her home in North Carolina.
The report said the family had spoken with Neugent after that, on the phone.
The report also said that because of Isley’s history of threats and drug use, the victim may be in danger.
New evidence six years later
Det. T. Allen Large filed a third report about the Neugent case Feb. 6, 2006.
That report was filed “because of information provided to [the] department in reference to missing person Lisa Myers Neugent,” the report said.
“That information came through a person who knew Neugent and Isley, and got into trouble, and was provided through his attorney,” Large said.
The information “led us to believe the body was there,” he added, referring to the couples’ residence on Flossie Road in Conway.
According to that 2006 report, a search warrant was obtained for the Flossie Road house where Large said there was, as had been described to the police, a “cut like a doorway in the floor in the residence.”
The report said a cadaver dog was brought to the property, as were two Coastal Carolina University geology professors.
Specifically, the report said, “An effort was made to locate the victim’s body … but there was nothing further found to continue the search at that location.”
The report also said the equipment the geologists used was inconclusive in determining if there was a body buried on the premises.
Cadaver dogs, GPR
Explaining how cadaver dogs help, Det. Large said, “They are tools like anything else, and they work both on land and in the water.”
He said sometimes dogs need an item of clothing that belongs to the person to help find a body,
But other times, “they go for the bones or the smell of a decaying body,” Large said. “ “Trainers have enhanced the dogs’ ability to use their keen senses in locating the deceased.”
Unfortunately, however, because the Flossie Road house is on low-sitting property, water was retained under the house, and that complicated things.
“The water causes a different decomposition, and there was a lot of water up under the house,” Large remembered.
M. Scott Harris, Ph.D, was one of the geologists who helped police search the home in 2006.
Now a professor in the department of geology and environmental geosciences at the College of Charleston, Harris said he “vividly remembers” going to the Flossie Road site in 2006.
Harris explained that he and another geology professor used ground penetrating radar [GPR], a devise that sends a radar pulse, at the site.
The equipment is similar to what’s used at airports, but this was a much smaller version.
“It has very low energy which shoots a radar signal into the ground, and just like you can tell how far a plane is from the airport, you can tell how far different sedimentary layers, or geologic layers, are from the surface,” he said.
Ideal conditions are clean and dry, he said, but unfortunately, that was not to be the case on Flossie Road.
Because the foundation of the house was in very bad shape, and unsafe, firemen, accustomed to hazard exposure, and trained for those conditions, were brought in to put reinforcements under the building.
The firemen wore environmental suits similar to what a diver would wear, Harris explained.
“We had a couple things against us, including that the septic system had been leaking under the house. The firemen were crawling through sewage, and pushing the equipment through.”
Because of the extreme moisture under and around the house, the chemistry in the ground absorbed the radar signals, and they did not penetrate well.
“There may have been some evidence, but we were unable to distinguish if it was a grave shaft,” Harris said.
“It was unfortunate. Ground conditions were so poor, we couldn’t make a definitive assessment within our professional judgment.
“That really bummed me out, because everything pointed to something being buried there.”
A person of interest
Large said Isley became a “person of interest” because he never reported Neugent missing.
“They were cohabitating together and Lisa disappeared…and it was [Neugent’s mother] Brenda Kay Myers in Summerfield that reported her missing.”
“The CSI stuff looks good on TV, but usually the last person who saw that person can provide a lot of information, and if that person is not cooperative, it raises suspicion.
“It was suspicious that they lived together and [Isley] did not report her missing.”
The detective said it wasn’t against the law for Isley not to report Neugent missing, but it did “raise some questions.”
Isley was questioned, but never charged with a crime involving Neugent.
Then and now
DNA, fingerprinting and ballistics are methods of obtaining information that weren’t available when Myers filed a report that her daughter was missing in 1999.
Floyd said that back then, the only tools a patrolman had at his disposal were a pad and a radio, and those weren’t especially helpful.
“We tried to follow up, but there wasn’t much to go on,” he said.
Floyd said he thinks he heard at some point that Neugent and Isley had moved to Georgia.
“Technology is changing,” Large said. “That’s part of what brought back interest to Flossie Road, and technology may allow us to go back again and revisit that.”
Social media is also a new tool to help solve crimes, Large said.
“Tweeting, Facebook, Instagram, that all helps because it’s a different society.”
As an example of that, Large said he recently was able to text with a young woman whose family was concerned about her, and via texting, he convinced her to go back home.
There’s still one more tool Large said police depend on when it comes to cases that have been administratively closed because there’s no new evidence.
“Sometimes,” he said, “People get a conscience, and that changes a cold case and makes it active again.
“We haven’t forgotten her,” he said about Neugent, and added, “There might still be some answers on Flossie Road.
“We’d like to give the family some closure, and if she died of foul play, bring charges against the person or persons who did the crime.
“If things change, and they lead us back down there, we’ll go. We’ll go wherever the information leads us.”
Large said the environment where the house sits hasn’t changed, and neither has the structure of the house changed.
“The house would have to be removed for us to get into the ground,” he said.
Attempts by Waccamaw Publishing to reach Brenda Kay Myers have been unsuccessful.
Isley also couldn’t be reached because his contact information was not available.
How to help
Lisa Myers Neugent, a white female, was born July 13, 1977.
When she disappeared, she was 5-5 and about 160 pounds. She had brown, medium-length hair. She was tan and had brown eyes.
She has a tattoo of a wizard with brightly-colored shooting stars on her upper right upper arm.
With information about Lisa Myers Neugent, call the Horry County Police Department at 248-1521.
Neugent's profile can also be found on the CUE Center for Missing Persons website.
Here's a link to our previous story from our continuing series about missing persons: