Leslie Neulander was found unconscious by her husband Dr. Robert Neulander on the morning of September 17, 2012. He screamed and told his daughter Jenna Neulander (23) that he’d found Leslie in the shower.
Distraught, Jenna Neulander (23) called 911 for help. When paramedics arrived, however, they didn’t find Leslie in the shower. She was in the bedroom. Was this a slip and fall accident? What really happened with Leslie Neulander?
Not only was Leslie Neulander, who had a large head wound, not in the shower, but the bedroom was covered in blood. Dr. Robert had an explanation for that: he said that he had carried his wife’s body into the bedroom so he could more easily perform CPR.
Instead of investigating or questioning any further, the medical examiner on the scene took Robert’s story as truth and ruled Leslie’s death an accident.
Leslie’s friends, however, didn’t buy it. They started to ring up retired medical examiner Mary Jumbelic, who was also friends with the Nuelanders. She heard rumors about the deteriorating state of the Neulanders’ relationships and financial trouble. In the end, she just wanted to find out what really happened to Leslie, so she offered to reexamine the case pro bono. “I speak for the dead person,” Mary says in a promo from tonight’s Dateline. “If it hurts the living, so be it.”
Mary noticed that Leslie’s head wound was consistent with more serious trauma than could be inflicted from a fall. Police went back to the scene and found more blood, including splatter around the headboard of the bed. In 2014, Dr. Neulander was charged with his wife’s murder.
Robert Neulander was found guilty in 2015, but the verdict was overturned because of juror misconduct. In 2018, he was released from prison while awaiting his second trial, which commenced in March 2022. During the trial, new evidence was presented, including a piece of Leslie’s brain tissue that was found on the headboard.
The new trial lasted several weeks, but it only took the jury a few hours to come back with a guilty verdict. Dr. Neulander is currently serving 20 years in prison.
Tonight’s Dateline explores the mystery surrounding Leslie’s death tonight at 9/8 c.