Update: Augusta woman arrested for part in 1986 murder of her husband

By: Lynnsey Gardner Email
By: Lynnsey Gardner Email

May 22, 208

AUGUSTA, Ga -- An Augusta woman is arrested and charged with soliciting the 1986 murder of her husband in North Carolina.

76-year-old Betty Neumar, of 633 Cambridge Court in Augusta, was arrested yesterday by Richmond County deputies and the Stanly County Sheriff's office, North Carolina, around 5:40 p.m.

She is currently in the Richmond County jail charged with solicitation to commit murder stemming from the death of her husband, Thomas Harold Gentry back in July 1986. Mr. Gentry was 48-years-old when he was found shot several times inside his Norwood, North Carolina home.

At the time, Ms. Neumar was known as Betty Gentry. The couple lived together, but at the time of Mr. Gentry's murder, local media reports cite Lt. Roger Lowder saying Betty was out of town at the time of the murder.

In September 1986, a $5,000 reward was offered by North Carolina Governor Jim Martin for information leading to the arrest and convictions fo those responsible for Mr. Gentry's murder. His murder would remain unsolved for the next 22 years.

Stanly County Sheriff Rick Burris says the cold case was reopened around the first of this year after new information was obtained from a tip. Sheriff Burris says his investigators have been following up on leads and interviewing several people, culminating in the arrest of Ms. Neumar yesterday.

Representatives from the Stanly County District Attorney's Office, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations, and a Stanly County Sheriff's Office investigator all made the trip to Augusta to aid in Ms. Neumar's arrest.

Sheriff Burris says there is a possibility that more charges may be filed against Ms. Neumar.

In a phone interview with News 12, Betty and Harold Gentry's only child, Kellie Gentry Bulcak, says "I know my mother is innocent." Bulcak says her mother was interviewed by Stanly County Sheriff's Office this week and she claims her mother has "been more than willing to cooperate, she has not hid anything."

Bulcak says she first learned of her mother's arrest Wednesday night when her mother called her as deputies were placing her under arrest.

Bulcak says there have never been any suspects in her father's murder. She says she and her mother were here in Augusta visiting family friends at the time of her father's death. Bulcak says her father was supposed to come with the family but could not get off work.

Ms. Neumar later moved to Augusta and married a third husband, John E. Neumar. Mr. Neumar died in Ocotober of 2007. The couple had lived in Augusta at least 10 years and were interviewed by the Augusta Chronicle in March 1997.

In the article, titled 'Couple to help flood victims' Ms. Neumar and her husband told the Augusta Chronicle about wanting to help flood victims in Falmouth, Kentucky, especially the three barbershops and one beauty shop destroyed. Ms. Neumar told the Augusta Chronicle she wanted to help in part because she used to cut hair for a living in North Augusta.

In the article, Ms. Neumar tells the Augusta Chronicle, "I not only feel their pain. I know their pain." She also reflects on previous disasters in her life.

Betty Neumar is currently awaiting an extradition hearing back to Albemarle, North Carolina which should take place sometime Friday morning.


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