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Youth Being Sought in Family’s Death

February 4, 1992 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Fifteen-year-old Michael Neugebauer is a mystery - to his neighbors, his relatives and to the law enforcement authorities searching for him for the deaths of his family.

Authorities believe Michael shot and killed his parents, Ronald Neugebauer, 44, and Maureen, 40, his sister Michelle, 16; and his brother Ryan, 12, on their farm on Jan. 26 or 27.

He then apparently left town with his girlfriend in his parents’ car.

The Neugebauers lived just north of Menoken, a small farming community 10 miles east of Bismarck that didn’t show up in the 1990 Census. Ronald Neugebauer raised cattle and grain and was president of the elementary school board. His wife worked in Bismarck as a secretary at the University of Mary.

Authorities on Tuesday offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to Neugebauer’s arrest.

″We don’t know for sure where they’re at - whether they’re in state or out of state. We haven’t the foggiest idea,″ said Burleigh County Sheriff Bob Harvey.

Michael’s relatives described him as a smart kid who liked to hunt.

″He was always good,″ said his grandmother, Gladys Sherman. ″He was very responsible, just a super kid.″

But there also were reports of problems at home. About two weeks before the shootings, Michael had tried to elope with his girlfriend, 16-year-old Jackie Hieb, said Jackie’s stepfather, Larry Heinle. His parents found out, and his sister and a friend found Michael and Jackie and stopped them, he said.

Jackie’s sister, Angie Hieb, said her sister met Michael in October, but their relationship was strained.

″He looked so nice and so innocent, my first impression was so good,″ she said. But later, she said: ″Every time I saw her or talked to her, she was crying. This is the only guy she’s gone out with that I really didn’t like.

″Jackie just said he had a lot of problems. Every time she talked about him, I wouldn’t listen. I just told her, ‘Jackie, you know what to do. Just break up with him. He’s no good for you.’

″I usually stayed out of her business, but I was just afraid she was going to get hurt.″

Authorities believe Michael picked up Jackie at school on the morning of Jan. 27.

Her mother, Eileen Heinle, said her daughter called a friend the next day saying she and Michael were still in Bismarck. Jackie also told her friend she had just found out about the shootings and was scared - then said she had to hang up, according to Mrs. Heinle.

Relatives said they don’t know where Michael and Jackie might be, though his grandmother suspects they may be headed for Texas, where Jackie’s father, Orville Hieb, lives - or even to Mexico.

Neighbors describe Neugebauers as a friendly family, but private.

Mrs. Neugebauer got an apartment in Bismarck several months ago, Mrs. Sherman said. Ronald Neugebauer’s brother, Robert, said his brother had a temper. But the family was back living together in Menoken after Christmas with no apparent problems, he said.