Crime Stoppers tip leads to arrest in 2017 double homicide

21Alive News at 5
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 11:15 AM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A tip from Crime Stoppers helped lead police to an arrest in the 2017 killings of 25-year-old Noele Trice and 29-year-old Bryan Lash.

The man who contacted Crime Stoppers and talked with Fort Wayne Police about his knowledge of the crime, spoke exclusively with 21Alive News.

Dustin M. Neal, 35, is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, and two counts of Robbery.

Trice and Lash were both stabbed to death in their home located at 4811 Weisser Park Avenue on June 10, 2017. Their bodies were found just before 10 a.m.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by 21Alive’s Digging Deeper team, Fort Wayne Police were called to the Weisser Park home for an “unknown problem.” When they arrived, they found Trice and Lash dead inside. Officers found a large amount of what appeared to be blood throughout the home, court documents say.

21Alive’s Angelica Pickens spoke with a man named Tyler, who says someone he was associated with admitted to having knowledge of the killings.

“I just felt like I had to do the right thing,” he said.

Tyler pinned a letter to the 21Alive News Team in October. He was concerned that no arrest had been made after he talked with police and Crime Stoppers in July.

“When I went home that day, I couldn’t sleep that night,” he said. “That’s why I wrote out all the things that will be used as evidence.”

An autopsy later determined that the two were stabbed to death and that Trice had, “significant defensive wounds to her hands, arms, legs and feet.”

In July 2022, Tyler told police he had information on the double homicide. He told police that someone related to the Neal was bragging about the killing and told him that Neal and others climbed into the window for a burglary, according to court documents. Lash woke up and that’s when Neal allegedly stabbed him.

“They slowly killed his girlfriend after killing Bryan in his own house,” Tyler said. “He did tell me that they buried all the bloody clothes in his backyard.”

The witness told police that Trice was tortured, and her eyes were cut out during the stabbing. The alleged perpetrators later burned the clothing they were wearing and buried them in a backyard.

Police talked to several witnesses who said the couple had friends over to watch a basketball game. The next morning, one witness told police that she went to go check on Trice and Lash because they were not answering their phones.

That witness found them dead inside the house and called police.

The witness told police that Neal was among the people at the party that night and that a TV and VCR was missing from the home. A partial print found on Trice’s cell phone also led investigators to Neal.

Another witness told police that Neal called the morning of the homicide and was frantic. The witness told police that he “ripped” a couple of people off for marijuana.

During an interview with police, Neal said he knew Trice for about 20 years and that he spent time at her home almost daily. He told police he went there to buy marijuana.

“There’s a lot of people that aren’t going to think what I did... they’re going to use words like snitch and things like that,” said Tyler. “Even my safety takes second hand to things these families have gone through.”

The Fort Wayne Police Department’s Homicide Division, and Cold case Unit, and Crime scene unit worked with the FBI, and Allen County Prosecutors to make this arrest.

Anyone with information about this case please call Detective Brian Martin at 260-427-1369, or call crime stoppers 436-STOP, or email the P3 Tip line.