Neill is presumed dead, officials said Tuesday. It answers one big question. Yet his family still has so many others.
His mother Jenny Neill believes someone harmed her son.
“We are no closer to finding what happened to him,” she said Tuesday. “We have had a lot of leads that are just rumors. We feel that someone is responsible for this, and we need help finding whoever did this.”
If you recognize Antonio Neill, it might be because his face overlooked 128th Street from a billboard on the outskirts of city limits. He was a graduate of ACES High School.
He’d been staying in his car or on couches in 2016. Around the time he went missing, his car was stolen.
He’d spent a month in jail, and in those weeks, he’d gone through a breakup and his uncle died. Once he got out, he showed up at his mother’s front door.
That day, he seemed to be in good spirits. His mom ordered a new phone for him, but he never picked it up. He went to a friend’s house. His mom believes he relapsed on drugs there.
He was last seen alive in Everett on a frigid night Dec. 12, 2016, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He left his coats and blankets at the house in the 2400 block of Cedar Street.
A few possible sightings — in a grocery store parking lot, or a homeless camp — gave his family hope that he was still alive.
His family shared missing person posters that described his appearance: black Timberland boots, gauged ears and a tattoo that reads, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.”
On the afternoon of New Year’s Day, beachcombers found a foot in a boot. It washed ashore onto the south end of Jetty Island. It’s not clear how long the remains were in the mud.
DNA tests came back as a match to Antonio Neill, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
No other remains were found.
“It’s so scary, not having all of him, and — just not knowing, not knowing what’s going on,” Jenny Neill said.
Antonio was 22 when he went missing. His mother has seen no evidence confirming he was alive after December 2016.
The cause and manner of death are under investigation. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives are still piecing together the circumstances of Neill’s disappearance.
For two years, his mother hasn’t held memorial services, because she didn’t know if Neill was alive. She plans to put him to rest at a cemetery in Edmonds, with other relatives.
Plans for the service are in the works.
“Now I’d like to say that I’ve found a little peace, from finally getting it confirmed,” Jenny Neill said. “But it’s hard to have peace when his killer’s still out there.”
Tips can be directed to the sheriff’s office at 425-388-3845.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.