48 Hours on CBS will profile the murder of Leslie Neulander on Saturday. Her husband, Dr. Robert Neulander, was charged and convicted in her death.
The episode, entitled “The Doctor’s Daughter,” will take a close look at the events that led to the killing. In 2012, 911 dispatchers received a call from a frantic young girl who claimed to be the daughter of the victim. She told operators that her mother was found inside the shower and that she didn’t believe that she was breathing. When the daughter, who was identified as Jenna, told the dispatcher that she needed to go over to see if her mother was okay, the woman asked Jenna how she knew that her mother was in the shower. Jenna Neulander indicated that her father was in the bathroom with the victim. At a later point in the 911 call, the daughter’s gut-wrenching screams could be heard on the 911 tape.
When officers arrived, they found the body of a white female on the bedroom floor. The victim was identified as Leslie Neulander, the wife of Dr. Neulander. Neulander told detectives that he found his wife in the shower and then moved the body to the bedroom floor in order to revive her.
Though it could have been an accidental fall, which an autopsy report later confirmed, detectives immediately sensed that something was off about the whole scene. For one thing, there was blood spatter on the walls and on the ceiling. And when Dr. Neulander was asked how the blood got on the walls and other floor, he had no answer for them.
A blood spatter analyst determined that something was impacted on or near the south side of the bed, meaning that the victim was struck. As a result, blood spattered. The police didn’t know what happened at the beginning of the investigation, but they were certain that it didn’t happen the way Dr. Neulander had indicated. They spent the next year and a half trying to put the case together. The only other person who was in the home at the time was the daughter, Jenna. Her testimony and the 911 call were key in the case.
Everyone knew Leslie Neulander since she was heavily involved in charity work. Known for her big smile, community members were shocked and devastated by news of her death. Dr. Neulander, an OBGYN physician, was also well known since he had delivered thousands of babies in the local area.
Robert and Leslie Neulander married in 1983, but by 2012, the couple was sleeping in separate bedrooms and discussing a trial separation, according to Robert Neulander. In an interview with police, Neulander told officers that the day began as usual for the couple. At around 6:30 a.m., he went for a run and returned to the home about 45 minutes later. After arriving at his home, he picked up the newspaper and got a hot cup of coffee. Then, he went to Leslie Neulander’s master bedroom to give her a cup of coffee. Seeing the bathroom door closed, Neulander stated that he decided to leave the coffee on the stand. When he went to check on his wife a short time later, he found her lying unresponsive inside the shower.
Robert Neulander was eventually arrested and charged with the murder of his wife. At trial, prosecutors stated that Neulander was under a lot of pressure, stemming from the loss of much of his business because he had been caught overcharging an insurance provider. The insurance provider immediately terminated the contract with him. Dr. Neulander’s wife had also recently changed her will. The truth is no one will ever know exactly what happened to cause the violent confrontation that day in the bedroom, but a jury did find the doctor guilty of murder and sentenced him to 20 years in prison, where he remains today, according to Syracuse.com.
At the time of his conviction in 2015, his daughter, Jenna, continued to support him. The verdict caused mixed emotions regarding his guilt. Many say that Robert Neulander was an upstanding man in the community who has been falsely accused. The prosecutor in the case stated that he knew a lot about Dr. Neulander that the community and the jury knew nothing about, and that there was a reason the defense didn’t contact any character witnesses. The Neulander case was the subject of a Dateline NBC episode in June of this year, according to a previous article by the Inquisitr.
“CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod explains the science of blood spatter and how it may decide a man’s fate. For more, watch ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ Saturday, Oct. 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on “48 Hours.”
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