THOMASVILLE -- A man who did not show up for court in Thomas County almost four years ago has been showing up in other locations nationwide.
A bench warrant was issued for Frank Lloyd Isley Jr.'s arrest in February 2000, when he did not appear in Thomas County Superior court on a charge of cocaine possession. Issuance of the warrant was the impetus for a trail cut by law enforcement agencies from here to New Mexico.
The case was the subject of an August 2002 episode of "Unsolved Mysteries." A show script provided the following information:
Isley, released on bond in Thomas County in 1999, made his way to Conway, S.C., and became friends with Lisa Ann Myers Neugent, who moved in with him. Neugent, citing Isley's involvement with drugs, returned to her parents' home in Greensboro, N.C.
Isley showed up the next day, convinced Neugent to go with him and took her back to Conway. Neugent telephoned her parents and said she would be home for good in two weeks. Brenda and Jerry Myers never heard from their daughter again.
The couple found Isley's 4911 Bishop Pine Road home in Conway ransacked and reported their daughter missing. While looking for their daughter, they saw Isley, who jumped in his truck and fled.
It was then Horry County (S.C.) police entered Isley's name in a national crime database and learned about the Thomas County warrant. Horry County detectives traveled to Thomas County and waited at the courthouse to question Isley about Neugent's disappearance, but the fugitive did not keep his court date.
Thomas County records show that in March 2003, New Mexico lawmen contacted Thomas authorities about Isley, who it appeared was using someone's else's name to apply for a New Mexico driver's license.
Isley was arrested again in August in New Mexico. The suspect's fingerprints did not match those on file in Georgia, and he was released.
"Because of a typo in an old fingerprint class on record for Isley, when he was printed in New Mexico, prints didn't match," said Vicki Scott, Thomas County head of warrants and extraditions. "So they let him go."
Isley was arrested again in New Mexico on Oct. 24 -- six days before his 34th birthday.
"We got a hit on him again," Scott said. "They were about to let him go again, because fingerprints didn't match."
Scars, physical description and tattoos all matched. "Everything matched but the fingerprints," Scott explained.
The correct fingerprints were sent from Thomas County to New Mexico, and authorities there were asked to check once more.
"They did," Scott said, "and it wound up being the right person, based on our fingerprints."
An agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division recently interviewed Isley in New Mexico. Information about the status of the case could not be obtained from the South Carolina agency.
"The investigation is continuing. She's still listed as missing," Nathan Johnson, a detective with the Horry County Police Department at Myrtle Beach, told the Times-Enterprise.
Johnson said police have no information that points to whether Neugent is dead or alive.
Scott, who has been at her job for more than a dozen years, thinks Isley probably has been laughing at Thomas County authorities because of the fingerprint mix-up.
"We might be small, but we have sophisticated fingerprint technology," she said.
When asked why she continued to pursue Isley for so long, Scott responded, "That's what I do."
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