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Friends cry foul over advertisement posted next to missing person billboard

By Jerry Olenyn, jolenyn@krcrtv.com
Published On: Jul 19 2013 01:35:12 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 19 2013 01:43:08 PM CDT
(img1)Oroville Billboards VID

OROVILLE, Calif. -

A controversy in Oroville involves two billboards, one regarding a missing person and the billboard that went up right next to it.

The two billboards were separated by inches at the roundabout on Montgomery Street.  The billboard on top asked for the public's help in finding Neal King, a Chico man missing since March.  He was last seen in the Oroville area.

The bottom billboard was an advertisement for Amazon Garden Supply.  Investigators said the owner of Amazon, Donald Cheatham, is a person of interest in King's disappearance.

King has not been seen since March 26th after he and Cheatham met at Cheatham's house in Oroville

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said "the two men went on a ride, we believe, to Berry Creek and that's were Mr. King disappeared."

Relatives and friends of Neal King screamed "foul" on Facebook when the two billboards popped up side by side.  Some Facebook posts talked about wanting to destroy the Amazon billboard.

Fortunately, no one carried out that threat.  If they had, they would have been caught on camera.

Oroville Police Department has a hidden camera on a light post nearby.  It was installed more than a year ago and monitors the busy Montgomery Street roundabout 24-7.  Oroville Police Sgt. Allen Byers said the camera records all the activity there.

"We have cameras at that intersection that would help us identify anyone who was causing criminal activity there," said Byers.  "They're very high-definition cameras that allow us to zoom up and get a clear picture of the person and the vehicle if they had one at that time."

KRCR News Channel 7 spoke with the wife of Donald Cheatham who helps run the Amazon Garden Supply business.   Jennifer Cheatham said Amazon has done business with the billboard company for years and that it was pure coincidence that her billboard was put up below King's.

Recently the Amazon billboard was replaced.  The whereabouts of Neal King remains unknown.

Donald Cheatham remains in Butte County Jail on $500,000 bail charged on felony counts of cultivating marijuana and possessing it for sale.  He has not been charged in connection with King's disappearance.

A $20,000 reward is offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for King's disappearance.

He is described as 5' 11'' and weighs 130 pounds. He has red hair/fair skin and is very tall and thin. He was last seen in a light green long sleeve t-shirt, jeans and hiking shoes.

If found or you have a tip, call Oroville Police Department at 530-538-2448.