The murder of Skylar Neese

Shelia Eddy (left), Rachel Shoaf (middle) and Skylar Neese (right)

This is the murder case that got me into True crime in the first place, the brutality, lack of empathy and the shock that these teenage murderers could be your next door neighbor, is what drew me to this case.

It all began in Star City, West Virginia. The year was 2012, at 16, Skyler Neese was thriving, according to her parents. Neese had a 4.0 grade point average, a part-time job at a fast food restaurant and an active social life.

Skylar Neese met her best friend Shelia Eddy at age 8.

“She was like a part of our family. She really was,” Dave Neese said. “I mean, just like one of our kids.”

While entering her freshman year in high school in September 2010, Eddy met Rachel Shoaf. The next month Eddy transferred to the same high school as Skylar Neese, and Shoaf also soon became friends with Skylar Neese.

The disappearance and murder

On July 5, 2012, Skylar Neese went home after finishing a shift at work. The next morning, her dad said he discovered that she didn’t sleep in her bed. He later found her window screen in her closet and a hidden bench that she could use to climb in and out of her window. That same day, after Skylar Neese missed work for the first time ever, her parents called police to report her missing. Star City, West Virginia, police officer Bob McCauley responded to the 911 call and began investigating Skylar Neese’s disappearance.

Later that day, Sheila Eddy called Skylar Neese’s parents to tell them what had happened the night before. She told them that they had been driving around Star City and were getting high. Eddy said she and Rachel Shoaf had picked up Skylar Neese at around 11 P.M. and dropped her back off at home before midnight.

“I was scared to death. I mean I didn’t know where my baby was. It was horrible,” said Dave Neese.

Soon, the public learned that Skylar Neese was missing through television, radio and internet coverage. As weeks passed, the investigation into Skylar Neese’s disappearance continued. Police believed the most likely scenario was that Skylar went to a house party and overdosed.

The real story was that Shelia and Rachel had convinced Skylar to sneek out from her bedroom around midnight, to drive around and get high with them. Shoaf and Eddy had been planning Neese’s murder for months. They left Eddy’s house prepared to carry out the assault on Neese, bringing with them kitchen knives, paper towels, bleach, cleaning cloths, clean clothes, and a shovel. They concealed the knives on their persons, and hid the remaining items in the trunk of Eddy’s vehicle.

They drove to a secluded spot near the Pennsylvania state border, where they planned to smoke marijuana and get high. Once they stepped out of the car, Eddy and Shoaf said that they had forgotten their lighter. When Skylar turned her back to go get her own lighter, the girls counted to three – and on three – the girls began stabbing Skylar.

Skyler fought hard to defend herself and on one point got a hold of Rachel`s knife and stabbed her in the leg. Rachel then stopped stabbing her, but Shelia continued until, according to Rachel: “Skylars neck stopped making gurgling sounds”. It has later been confirmed that Skylar was stabbed over 50 times.

Afterwards Shoaf and Eddy attempted to bury the body, first dragging Neese to the side of the road which would not work because the road ran along a creek and the soil there was too hard and rocky to dig a hole, which had been their original plan. They instead covered Skylar’s body with rocks, fallen branches, and dirt. Shoaf and Eddy then returned to the car to clean themselves and the murder scene. Upon completing the murder and cleaning up, Shoaf and Eddy left the scene, disposed of their blood-soaked clothing and returned to their homes.

The confessions

On Dec. 28, 2012, Rachel Shoaf had a nervous breakdown and was committed to a local psychiatric hospital, where she had no contact with Shelia Eddy. After being discharged from the hospital on Jan. 3, 2013, Shoaf confessed to her attorney and police that she and Eddy stabbed Skylar Neese to death.

Rachel Shoaf turned herself into authorities at the Monongalia County Circuit Court on May 1, 2013. Shoaf, now 18, was transferred to criminal court in closed hearing and was charged as an adult. She pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is incarcerated at the Northern Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Wheeling, West Virginia.

While Rachel Shoaf had confessed to the murder, Shelia Eddy didn`t want to confess just yet. The first attempt was that Rachel talked with Shelia while wearing a microphone, but she didn`t get Shelia to confess. But on May 1, Shelia Eddy, now 18, was arrested in a restaurant parking lot.


Rachel Shoaf in 2017, 5 years after the murder
Shelia Eddy in 2017, 5 years after the murder.

On May 1 2013, Rachel Shoaf, now 18, was transferred to criminal court in closed hearing and was charged as an adult. During the trial she stood up and apologized to the Neese family, Shoaf’s family also issued a public apology for her actions through their lawyer. Rachel pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years, with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

On September 4, 2013, West Virginia prosecutors publicly identified Shelia Eddy as the second alleged perpetrator of the murder of Skylar Neese and announced that she would be tried as an adult. Shelia Eddy pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, and was sentenced to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

Both Rachel and Shelia are incarcerated at the Lakin correctional Center in Mason County.

“We asked Rachel, ‘Why did you guys kill Skylar?’ And her only answer to that was, ‘We just didn’t like her,’” State Police Corp. Ronnie Gaskin said.

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