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Family of slain Smoketown woman hopes her case doesn’t go cold

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 12:33 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With Louisville on pace to break a record for homicides, one of the all-too-many families struggling with loss continues to wait for justice.

Standing next to her 2-year-old child, a La’Deju Neal was shot and killed in Smoketown on May 30. Almost three months later, her family is still asking the same questions they did that night.

“You would never see La’Deju without a smile on her face,” her cousin, Tonisha Neal, told WAVE 3 News. “If you felt down and you get around La’Deju, she would make you feel totally different.”

32-year-old La’Deju Neal was better known as Pinky, described as the life of the party by those who knew her best. Her family says she was a bright young woman and loved being with her son more than anyone.

”Pinky never thought she was going to have her own family, and when she got her own family, that was all she was about,” her cousin said. “Grayson, he was her best friend.”

Tonisha Neal said Grayson was standing next to his mother when someone drove by and shot her twice in the head in the 700 block of South Clay Street. She died in the hospital on June 1.

”He’s young right now, but when he gets older he’s going to want to know, where is Pinky?” her sister, Ieisha Neal, said.

The Neals are inseparable and were celebrating graduations for some of their young family members when they got the call.

”We close our eyes and we re-live that night, going from having fun to something so devilish,” her cousin Danielle Neal said. “I know they’re still out there, and when you go to sleep at night, I know you see La’Deju.”

La’Deju Neal wasn’t the only person hit with gunfire that night, and her family says they know other people saw what happened, but no one has come forward.

They say it brings them so much pain to think Pinky has gotten lost in the recent onslaught of homicides. They think it partially may have fallen to the background because she was shot on one of the first nights of protests sparked after the death of Breonna Taylor.

”There was so much going on that night and she just got forgot about,” her cousin Takeyla Neal said.

“She got swept under the rug and we don’t want that,” Ieisha Neal said.

Even though two-thirds of this year’s murder cases are still unsolved, which is a much lower rate than normal, the Neals want to make sure Pinky doesn’t get lost in the numbers.

”I want justice for my sister, I want justice for my nephew,” her sister Mickeal Neal said. “She didn’t deserve that, she didn’t bother no one. She loved everyone who came around her.”

If anyone has information in connection to the death of La’Deju Neal, call the LMPD anonymous tip line at (502) 574-LMPD.

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