What happens when your closest friends, the people you probably trust the most, turn on you? A West Virginia teen named Skylar Neese found it out by losing her life in July 2012. The investigators were only able to find her body after getting one of the perpetrators to confess to the crime. Lifetime’s ‘Sleeping With a Killer: Fatal Friendship’ follows the case minutely, laying down the facts of the incident, the ensuing investigation, and the aftermath in a straightforward manner. If you wish to know more about the case, as well as the identity and the current whereabouts of the perpetrators, you’re at the right place. Let’s dive in!
How Did Skylar Neese Die?
Skylar Annette Neese was born on February 10, 1996, in Morgantown, Monongalia County, West Virginia, to Mary and David “Dave” Neese. Apart from being an honors student at University High School, the 16-year-old teen worked part-time at an outlet of Wendy’s and aspired to become a criminal defense lawyer. Being the only child, her parents’ world revolved around Skylar. Dave reminisced, “Every night when she went to bed she’d
go, ‘Love you, Mom! Love you, Dad.” Hence, it came as a shock when she disappeared in the early hours of July 6, 2012, from her family’s Star City, West Virginia apartment.
Skylar had returned home after working her shift on July 5, and the family had retired to their apartment after dinner. Her father found the window of her room open and her cell phone charger in the room. A panicked Dave informed the police, wanting to file a missing person report. Officers from the Star City Police Department came over to check the surveillance video of the Neese apartment complex and found Skylar sneaking out through her bedroom window and getting into a sedan on July 6, 2012, at around 12:30 am. They deduced that it was not a case of disappearance but that Skylar had run away.
As a result, the authorities did not take further steps, including not issuing an Amber Alert and not acting on an early tip that mentioned spotting Skylar in North Carolina. However, Dave continued to claim that her daughter had not run away but was a victim of some mishap, citing that she had even left behind her mobile phone charger. Her cousin stated, “She (Skylar) has a lot of friends and is big into social networks but has not been online since she disappeared. There has been no bank activity, and her cell phone has not been turned on.”
Skylar’s family and friends printed missing posters, spread them all over the neighborhood, and even opened a Facebook page dedicated to finding their girl. However, all their worst nightmare came through when the investigators found the body of a teenager in Wayne Township, just across the West Virginia-Pennsylvania line in Greene County, about 30 miles from Skylar’s home, on January 16, 2013. Her body was riddled with stab wounds and hidden under rocks, dirt, and twigs. On March 13, 2013, the officials announced that the body belonged to Skylar Neese.
Who Killed Skylar Neese?
In September 2012, the West Virginia State Police and the FBI joined the search for Skylar. The investigators determined the car Skylar was last seen boarding belonged to one of her friends, Shelia Rae Eddy, and questioned her. While she acknowledged picking up the 16-year-old that night, Shelia claimed that she had dropped her down the street from her home about an hour later. The law enforcement officials began to interview and look into friends’ circles of Skylar.
The case cracked open in January 2013, when one of Skylar’s closest friends, Rachel Shoaf, broke down and admitted to murdering her along with their other friend, Shelia. All the 3 of them attended University High School together, and relatives said they shared a tight bond. Skylar and Shelia had been friends since they were 8-years-old and had been acquainted with Rachel in their freshman year. However, there was an underlying tension present in their equations which ultimately manifested into them killing Skylar together.
Rachel confessed that she and Shelia had allegedly planned the murder for months and picked Skylar on July 6, 2012, intending to kill her. They had gone to their usual socializing spot at the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border and stabbed Skylar according to their plan. She added that they tried to bury the body, but with the soil being too hard, they just covered the body with dirt and twigs. Rachel even took the investigators to the spot where they had buried Skylar, leading to the police discovering her body over 6 months after her disappearance.
Where are Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf Today?
On May 1, 2013, Rachel Shoaf pleaded guilty to second-degree murder by “unlawfully, feloniously, willfully, maliciously and intentionally causing the death of Skylar Neese by stabbing her and causing fatal injuries.” Both she and her family expressed remorse and a public apology post her confession. In February 2014, Rachel was sentenced to 30 years in prison. According to official court records, she, now 25, is currently held at the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County, West Virginia, with a projected release date of April 30, 2028.
In September 2013, Shelia was identified as the second perpetrator of the crime and was tried as an adult and indicted on one count each of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. Though initially pleading not guilty, she changed her plea to guilty of first-degree murder before her trial in January 2014. She was sentenced to life with mercy and is presently incarcerated in a cell at the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County, West Virginia. Her inmate records state that the parole eligibility date for the 26-year-old is May 1, 2028.
While the officials have not released any motive behind the crime, it is alleged that Skylar had come to know of the purported sexual relationship between Shelia and Rachel. It was further claimed that the girls were afraid she might go public with their alleged secret. Skylar’s parents didn’t buy that, with Mary saying, “She (Skylar) had a lot of gay and lesbian friends. It didn’t bother her.” Some of the officers involved in the case think the duo allegedly carried out the crime “for the thrill of it.” However, in an interview, Rachel stated they committed the heinous crime because they didn’t like Skylar.