Mur der of Skylar Neese

Skylar Neese, born on February 10, 1996, in Star City, West Virginia, vanished from her residence around midnight on July 5, 2012. Tragically, her life came to a grim end when her remains were discovered in Wayne Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, in January 2013.

What makes this case even more heartbreaking is that Skylar Neese was betrayed and m*rdered by two individuals who were once her closest friends during her high school years, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf. In December 2012, Rachel Shoaf admitted to authorities that she and Shelia Eddy had meticulously planned and executed the m*rder of Skylar Neese. This admission led to Shoaf pleading guilty to second-degree m*rder on May 1, 2013, resulting in a 30-year prison sentence with a chance for parole after 10 years.

Shelia Eddy, on the other hand, pled guilty to first-degree m*rder on January 24, 2014, and was handed a life sentence in prison, with the possibility of parole after serving 15 years. Skylar Neese’s disappearance had a profound impact on the community, prompting changes to West Virginia’s AMBER Alert system to enhance the response to missing child cases.


On July 5, 2012, after completing her shift at Wendy’s, Neese went back to her family’s residence in Star City, West Virginia. Surveillance footage from her apartment complex reveals that at 12:30 a.m. on July 6, she exited her apartment through her bedroom window and entered a sedan occupied by Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy. Notably, Neese’s father mentioned that she left without her cell phone charger, left her window open, and had intentions of returning home.


Initially, Neese was deemed a runaway by law enforcement, and there was no immediate issuance of an AMBER Alert regarding her disappearance. An early tip suggested Neese had been sighted in North Carolina, but the Star City Police Department concluded that the individual observed was not Neese. Her parents distributed missing person flyers in the Monongalia County area. Police determined that Eddy, the owner of the unidentified sedan in which Neese was last seen, had picked her up but claimed to have dropped her off an hour later. The FBI and West Virginia State Police joined the search for Neese on September 10, 2012, initiating interviews with her school friends.

The case took a turn when Shoaf admitted to conspiring with Eddy to murder Neese. Shoaf’s motive for the m*rder was their dislike for Neese and their desire to end their friendship with her. David Neese, Neese’s father, revealed that these two girls were considered some of his daughter’s closest friends, with Eddy even assisting the family by distributing missing-person flyers. Following her confession, Shoaf led investigators to Neese’s remains.

On March 13, 2013, U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, issued a press release announcing the identification of a body discovered in Wayne Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, on January 16, 2013, as Neese’s. Remarkably, Neese’s body was found within 30 miles of her home.

Criminal charges

On May 1, 2013, Shoaf entered a guilty plea for second-degree m*rder. According to the court transcript, Shoaf and Eddy picked up Neese in Eddy’s car, drove to Pennsylvania, and then, as premeditated, brutally sta*bed Skylar to d*ath. They attempted to bury her body but were unsuccessful, ultimately covering it with branches. There were witnesses who overheard conversations between Shoaf and Eddy about their mu*derous plan but failed to report it, thinking it was a joke. Shoaf’s plea agreement stated she pleaded guilty to second-degree m*rder for causing Skylar Neese’s d*ath by sta*bing her intentionally and maliciously.

West Virginia recommended a 20-year sentence in the plea agreement. During her sentencing, Rachel Shoaf expressed remorse, apologizing to the Neeses, her own family, and God. In her May 2023 parole hearing, Shoaf revealed the motive for the crime: she and Eddy had been in a romantic relationship, causing tension between them and Neese. Her parole was denied, and she remains incarcerated. Shoaf’s family issued a public apology for her actions through their lawyer.

On September 4, 2013, West Virginia prosecutors publicly named Eddy as the second alleged perpetrator in Neese’s m*rder and stated she would be tried as an adult. Eddy was indicted by a grand jury on September 6, 2013, on charges of kidnapping, first-degree m*rder, and conspiracy to commit m*rder. She pleaded not guilty. Initially set for January 28, 2014, the trial date changed. Fearing additional charges from Pennsylvania authorities, Eddy pleaded guilty to first-degree m*rder. She showed no remorse but received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 15 years under West Virginia law. Pennsylvania authorities did not file charges as part of the plea deal.

After her guilty plea on May 1, 2013, Shoaf received a 30-year prison sentence on February 25, 2014, with eligibility for parole after 10 years.

Following her arrest, Eddy was initially held in a juvenile facility. Both women, now in their twenties, are currently incarcerated at the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County.

Skylar’s Law

An AMBER Alert was not issued in Neese’s disappearance because it did not meet all four criteria for such an alert to be activated:

(1) There was no belief that a child had been ab*ucted;

(2) Skylar Neese was under 18 years old;

(3) There was no immediate indication that she might be in danger of d*ath or serious injury;

(4) The available information did not provide sufficient grounds to justify the use of an AMBER.

Additionally, there was a mandatory 48-hour waiting period before a missing teenager could be officially classified as missing.

In response to this case, a West Virginia state legislator from Neese’s home district introduced a bill known as Skylar’s Law, aimed at amending West Virginia’s AMBER Alert protocol. The proposed modification sought to enable the immediate issuance of public announcements whenever any child was reported missing and potentially in danger, regardless of whether they were believed to have been kidn*pped.This initiative garnered support through opinion columns in both West Virginia and national media, advocating for Skylar’s Law, while also acknowledging criticisms and potential drawbacks associated with the legislation.

On March 27, 2013, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of Skylar’s Law with a 98-0 vote. Subsequently, on April 12, 2013, the West Virginia Senate unanimously passed the legislation, albeit with minor technical adjustments to the bill. The House of Delegates accepted these changes on the same day. Finally, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed Skylar’s Law into effect in May 2013

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Murder of Skylar Neese, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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