by The Starks Shrink

Skylar Neese was just 16 years old when she climbed out of her bedroom window for the last time on July 5, 2012 at around midnight.  She was a bright teen, with a strong work ethic in both school and her part time job at Wendy’s.  But she had a taste for the party life, as many teens in small towns do.  This wasn’t her first time sneaking out of her home late at night, as was evident by the stool she’d left outside beneath her bedroom window to facilitate getting back into her room undetected by her parents. Mom and Dad were none the wiser.

When her father came home from working the night shift to drop off his car for Sklyar, she was nowhere to be found. Her mother wasn’t too disturbed – after all, Skylar was 16 and it was summer; she could be out with her friends shopping or swimming.  Dad called around to some of Skylar’s friends to see if they’d seen her, but came up empty. When the manager at Wendy’s called to ask if Skylar was coming to work, red flags went up for mom, since Skylar never missed work. The police were then called in. Weirdly, however, law enforcement presumed Skylar to be one of the many kids that run away from home each summer in a quest for independence and adventure. The Neese’s were not convinced of that and as the summer wore on turning to autumn, they became increasingly certain that this was not a choice that Skylar had made for herself.

sky6They were comforted and aided in their search for their daughter by one of her best friends — Shelia Eddy.  They’d known Shelia for years and thought of her as another daughter. In September, when school started, Skylar still hadn’t surfaced. Her bank accounts, social media accounts and cell phone had not been touched. Now, the climate began to change. The Neese family had a Facebook page that Mary (Skylar’s Mom) had set up to help people exchange information and hopefully help in the search for her daughter. Shelia Eddy was one of the posters on that page, posting about how she missed Skylar and hoped she’d come home.  Sadly, in reality, Shelia already knew all too well that Skylar would never be returning to her mother’s embrace.

sky9What is fascinating about the quest to find Skylar is how it played out on social media, particularly on Twitter. You see, Skylar had two best pals — Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf.  She’d known Shelia for many years while Rachel had only joined their little posse about a year or so before.  But of course, in high school, a year can be an eternity. But now it is September; all the kids except one are back in school and they are talking. And talking. And they do it on social media, unlike any generation before them. Many of the kids suspected Shelia and Rachel of doing something to Skylar, or at the very least, knowing something.  What was amazing was that many of the details of the actual events that some of these kids tweeted about turned out to be the truth. In October and November, Skylar’s body hadn’t yet been found but kids at the school were tweeting to Rachel and skyasking about the big cut on her leg that she’d had in the days just after Skylar’s disappearance.  They tweeted to Shelia but she was much more brazen and impervious to the harassment.  Much of this was done via ‘subtweets’, which don’t call out a particular person, but those who are close to the subjects are completely aware of the context. And then the sock puppet accounts showed up.  They were anonymous and were very blatant in their accusations. This was in December of 2012. The two suspect girls were called  “pretty little liars” based on the TV series about mean girls who murdered.

sky4It was in December that Rachel Shoaf cracked.  She’d had a blowout with her mother who decided that Rachel needed more help than she could provide and called police who hauled her off to a local mental hospital for several weeks.  I give credit to Rachel’s mother for having the courage to intervene like that.  It had to be hard for her but it turned out to be the thing that broke the case.

Rachel, apparently guilt-ridden, went to a lawyer after her stint in mental care and confessed all.  And I mean ALL. Her attorney worked out a deal with authorities and in January, Rachel led them to Skylar’s remains which had been concealed in a remote area of Pennsylvania since that fateful night she’d crawled out her bedroom window.

In the meantime, one could watch the breakdown of Rachel and Shelia’s trust on Twitter. Rachel had cooperated with police and FBI in order to get a plea deal and implicated Shelia in the process. Shelia was the ultimate mean girl.  Her hubris was evident from her demeanor on Twitter and she clearly thought that she was above punishment for killing her best friend. She even tweeted “Yes it’s true, we went on 3 – referring to the fact that Shelia and Rachel had planned the attack on Skylar and stabbed her to death on the count of three.

This year both girls were finally brought to justice, with Rachel getting 30 years for her plea to 2nd degree murder and Shelia getting 15 to life for her plea to Murder One.  The horrific details came out at Rachel’s sentencing when the prosecutor read from Rachel’s confession.  They had lured Skylar from her home sky8intending to kill her.  They had driven to a remote area in Pennsylvania, just over the border from West Virginia.  They got her behind the car and on the count of three they both stabbed her to death with kitchen knives.  They stood over Skylar until she stopped breathing and then concealed her body with leaves and brush. They cleaned up with the cleaning supplies that Rachel had brought along and changed their bloody clothing.  They then drove home and went to bed.  These were children. Teens. How do teens plan, perpetrate and conceal a crime such as this? Skylar was murdered in July, Rachel broke in late December and Shelia was arrested the following May. I believe that social media played a part in breaking Rachel and it certainly played a role in demonstrating how cold and callous two teenage girls could be.  Shelia and Skylar’s twitter accounts are still up, though Rachel locked hers during her breakdown.  It’s a forensic psychologist’s dream since you can watch the plot unravel over time.  No one really knows the why the “mean girls” ran amuck. Rachel’s confession states that they “just didn’t want to be friends with her anymore”. Can the motive for murder really be as mundane as that?


starkPlease click here to view The Starks Shrink’s Other Posts:

The Sad and Tragic Story of Jamarion “Please Kill Me” Lawhorn and His Victim Connor Verkerke

Charlie Bothuell V May Have a Very Sharp Axe to Grind

Two’s Company, Three’s a Deadly Crowd: The Cruel Killing of Martha Gail Fulton

The Overheating Death of Cooper Harris: Murder or Tragic Accident?

Why Beautiful Murderesses Inflame the Passions of the True Crime Fan

Going Postal Goes Fed-Ex!

How to Raise a Serial Killer in 10 Easy Steps

The Julie Schenecker Tragedy: Negligence, Finger-Pointing and the Death of Children

Luka Magnotta: Man, Boy or Beast?

The Disturbing Truth about Mothers Who Murder Their Children

Teleka Patrick Needed a Psychiatrist, Not a Pastor!

Rehabbing the Wounded Juvenile Will Save Their Souls (and Ours)


One Response to Skylar Neese and the Mean Girls Who Killed Her

  1. Jo-Anne says:

    Another very interesting post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.