The reason for her wicked slaying? ?We didn?t like her anymore.?
Skylar Neese was a sixteen-year-old girl who lived in Star City, a sleepy town in West Virginia. Skylar was the only child of parents David and Mary, so was often described as ?spoilt rotten.? In terms of academia, Skylar was a high achiever, excelling in almost every subject, including those she disliked.
Since being a toddler, Skylar?s best friend was a girl named Morgan Lawrence. The two were inseparable for most of Skylar?s early life, and the two families were extremely close as a result. Though the two slowly drifted apart as Skylar made new friends, Morgan insists to this day that the two would have always been ?sisters.?
Skylar?s other best friend, Sheila Eddy, was also an only child, and the two entered freshman year together. It was around this time that a new girl named Rachael Shoaf joined the school, and the three became joined at the hip, often referred to as ?The Three Musketeers?.
The trio gained a ?rowdy? reputation; they often snuck out after curfew, went to parties, drank, and did drugs. Their friendship was extensively documented on social media, mostly Twitter, on which the three girls were extremely active.
On July 6th, 2012, Skylar arrived home from a late shift at Wendy?s and retired to her bedroom. Little did her parents know, this would be the last time they saw their daughter.
The following afternoon, David Neese knocked on Skylar?s door to lend her the family car. There was no answer, and David noticed the door had been locked. Neese was able to pick the lock using a coat hanger but entered the room to see it had not been slept in.
Neese rang his wife, however, Mary was not surprised by Skylar?s disappearance, and assumed she was likely at a party or shopping with friends.
Childhood friend Morgan mentioned later in an interview that Skylar had previously snuck out in the middle of the night, so it was not unlikely that this was the case once again.
While smoking in the garden a short while later, David Neese noticed that Skylar?s bedroom window was wide open, and there was a small footstool underneath it. Neese concluded that she had snuck out; and was intending on returning home, using the footstool as a boost back into her room.
He rang Mary again to voice his concerns but Mary reassured him that she would likely be home later, as she had a shift to work that night.
Six hours later, at around 4pm, the family got a call from Skylar?s employer, asking if she was due to work that day, as she had not turned up yet. Known never to miss a shift, this instantly alerted the parents, who then decided to call the police.
Star City units were assigned to the case and searched her bedroom for clues of her whereabouts. The first thing police noticed was the abundance of personal items left in the room by Skylar, which added to the theory that she was planning on returning home. Her phone charger, contact lenses, and toothbrush were still in her bedroom, and it appeared as though the teenager had not taken a change of clothes.
It was around this time that the family receive a call from Sheila Eddy, Skylar?s best friend. Sobbing, she admitted that Skylar had snuck out with her and Rachael last night. She told the parents that Skylar had demanded to be dropped off at the street corner rather than outside her house, to not wake up her parents.
This was said to be around 11:45pm, and neither Sheila nor Rachael had heard from Skylar in the eighteen hours since then. This led the already panic-stricken parents to believe the most likely scenario was that somebody had kidnapped the girl.
Later that day, Sheila arrived at the Neese household, anxious to comfort them and provide any help she could.
Police, Sheila, and the family reviewed CCTV footage that had been retrieved from the parking lot behind the house. At 00:26am, a pale, three-door car pulled up behind the building, and Skylar was seen running towards it and getting in the back seat before it took off again.
Sheila denied it being her car and suggested the driver may be a secret boyfriend. With only a grainy picture of the vehicle to go off, police were unable to trace it, and could only conclude that it belonged to somebody Skylar knew, as she was seen willingly running towards it and getting in.
As a result of this finding, the police refused to issue an amber alert for the missing teen. In Star City at the time, these alerts were not used for missing children thought to be ?runaways?, or those who generally left out of their own accord.
Skylar?s parents, however, were still extremely concerned for their daughter?s whereabouts and felt as though the police were not doing enough to find her. Their only source of comfort was Sheila, who spent near enough every day at the Neese household, reassuring the family that Skylar would return home soon enough.
Rachael was said to be away at a Church camp miles away, and Sheila?s loneliness and concern for her best friend led her to have a breakdown in Skylar?s room.
On July 11th, local news reported about Skylar, thanks to David and Mary attempting to spread the word.
A woman in North Carolina called to say she saw a girl who looked like Skylar with a red-haired girl. The description of the other girl appeared to match Rachael, so some assumed that Rachael had skipped camp and ran away with Skylar.
Sadly, as Mary and David were about to leave for North Carolina, the two girls were identified as runaways from another state.
Devastated, and convinced police were still not doing enough to secure their daughter?s whereabouts, David and Mary took matters into their own hands and attempted to make Skylar?s story viral.
It was around this time that Rachael returned home from church camp, so she was interviewed. She was said to be extremely nervous but denied being at the party with Skylar.
In an attempt to narrow down their search, police insisted Sheila take them on a drive through the route they took the night of Skylar?s disappearance. Sheila navigates them through side streets and quiet areas until they eventually arrived back at Skylar?s street.
When asked for the same information, however, Rachael told an entirely different story. In her version of events, the girls supposedly drove the opposite way and took the main road out of Star City.
Police put pressure on Rachael, telling her that her story could easily be checked against CCTV cameras from the road in question, to which she responded: ?Well, I was really high, so maybe not??
Believing that the two girls may know more than they were letting on, Police reviewed the security footage before Skylar?s disappearance, to see if Sheila?s car ever arrived at the property to pick Skylar up.
Four hours of footage only showed Skylar leaving the house once, and that was to run to the unknown vehicle. This led investigators to doubt the story of the girls sneaking out and put pressure on Rachael.
Though Sheila?s car was strikingly similar to that in the CCTV footage, she denied it was hers, so Police did not have enough to be able to charge her with anything.
Mobile Analysts found that both girls were incredibly active in Blacksville at around 4am.
In an interview, Rachael claimed that the three drove to Blacksville to smoke marijuana. At one point, Skylar wanted to go to her friend?s house to get more drugs, and Rachael and Sheila agreed to drop her off.
Immediately after this interview, the police interviewed Sheila. She revealed a similar story but said that Skylar left on her own to the friend?s house and that the two could not find her.
The next day, Sheila retracted her statement and said that the two DID drop her off at a friend?s house. This suggested to police that the two were attempting to write a cover-up story together, however, there was not sufficient evidence to make charges.
Five months after Skylar?s disappearance, Rachael?s mental health suddenly declined. She became violent towards friends and family and was admitted into a psychiatric unit due to fears over her behaviour.
Rachael was discharged after six days and immediately went to the police. In the following interview, the first words out of her mouth were ?we stabbed her?.
Shocked; the police pushed her to tell her story from the beginning. Rachael recalled filling up Sheila?s car with shovels, cleaning supplies, and a change of clothes. They hid knives in their hoodies and called Skylar to say they were on their way to pick her up for a joyride.
The three drove out to Greene County, Pennsylvania, and pulled over in a rural area. The friends walked away into the woodland, and on Rachael?s count of three, the two girls viciously attacked Skylar.
In self-defence, Skylar grabbed one of the knives from Rachael and stabbed her in the ankle, at which point she retreated. Sheila, however, carried on, stabbing Skylar over fifty times as she screamed ?why??
The pair attempted to bury her but eventually settled for hiding the body under branches and leaves. They walked back to the car, changed their clothes, and drove away.
When prompted for a reason for the murder, Rachael simply responded ?We just didn?t like her anymore.?
Skylar?s body was officially found on January 16th, 2013. Though Sheila knew the body had been located, she still attempted to keep up appearances on social media.
On the day in question, Sheila uploaded a picture of the three friends, with the caption: ?Rest easy Skylar, you?ll ALWAYS be my best friend.?
In addition to this, just a month before her eventual arrest in April, Sheila tweeted an ominous ?we really did go on three? ? possibly a sadistic nod towards the couple killing Skylar on the count of three.
Motives for the crime remain unknown today, though many speculate that Rachael and Sheila were sexually active with each other and killed Skylar in an attempt to hide this. Entries in her diary and tweets sent out by the teen just days before her death suggested she knew ?secrets? that she was willing to expose about her friends, and as a result, it is thought to be the reason for her death.
Sheila pleaded not guilty to 1st-degree murder, however, was found to be guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. Rachael?s confession and plea of guilty allowed her a reduced sentence of 30 years.
The two remain in prison to this day. Rachael is allegedly ?married? to another prisoner within the women-only facility, which gives credibility to the argument that the two killed Skylar over fears of their relationship being exposed.
Following Skylar?s death, David and Mary Neese initiated ?Skylar?s law?, which amended the amber alert procedure for missing children. The modification meant that an amber alert is to be sent out for any missing child, regardless of whether or not they appear to have vanished by choice. The couple believes that had this modification been in place when Skylar initially disappeared, she may have been found much sooner.