In July 2012, 16-year-old Rachel Shoaf conspired with her friend Shelia Eddy to murder Skylar Neese by literally stabbing her in the back.
From the outside, it seemed as though West Virginia teenagers Rachel Shoaf, Shelia Eddy, and Skylar Neese were best friends. But on July 6, 2012, Shoaf and Eddy lured an unsuspecting Neese into the woods of Pennsylvania, counted to three — and stabbed her to death.
For several months, the teenage killers kept their horrific crime a secret. Then, Shoaf finally broke under the pressure and confessed to the murder, leading the police to where they’d hidden Neese’s body. When asked why they killed her, Shoaf would say it was because “we just didn’t like her.”
This is the true story of Rachel Shoaf, the murderous teen who allegedly told her best friend “Die, b****!” as she stabbed her to death.
Who Is Rachel Shoaf?
Born on June 10, 1996, Rachel Shoaf seemed to have a lot of promise. Described by those who knew her as an adventurous and happy girl, Shoaf appeared to be thriving by the time she was attending high school in Morgantown, West Virginia. Shoaf had good grades, took singing and piano lessons, and was involved in theater. She also had two best friends: Shelia Eddy and Skylar Neese, and the girls did everything together.
“She loved life and there was no reason for her not to,” Kelly Kerns, Shoaf’s close family friend, told ABC News. “People around her loved her.”
Soon, however, Kerns noticed changes in Shoaf’s behavior. The teen started sneaking out, skipping classes, and regularly smoking marijuana.
Meanwhile, there appeared to be growing tension in her friendship group with Skylar Neese. In early July 2012, Neese’s posts on social media seemed to hint that she was feeling excluded by her friends.
“It really doesn’t take much to piss me off,” Neese wrote in one post on X (then known as Twitter). Soon after, she wrote, “Sick of being at f***ing home. thanks “friends”, love hanging out with you all too.” The next day, she wrote: “You doing s*** like that is why I will NEVER completely trust you.”
Chillingly, the following morning, Skylar Neese vanished.
The Murder Of Skylar Neese
Shortly after midnight on July 6, 2012, 16-year-old Skylar Neese snuck out of her home in Star City, West Virginia to meet up with Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy to smoke marijuana. Later, surveillance footage would show Skylar Neese entering Eddy’s vehicle at about 12:35 a.m., ABC News reports.
Neese was never seen alive again.
While Neese had apparently believed this would be a night out with friends like any other, Shoaf and Eddy had other plans. They had secretly brought along knives, which they’d hidden in their hoodies, as well as cleaning supplies, a shovel, and clean clothes to change into later.
The girls smoked weed and drove around, eventually stopping in a remote wooded area just over the state line in Pennsylvania. Once there, Neese turned around to go find a lighter in the car. Then, Shoaf and Eddy counted, “One, two, three…” and literally stabbed their friend in the back, attacking her until she was dead.
Afterward, the girls tried to bury her. When they found that the ground was too hard to dig into, they covered her body with branches and dirt instead. It would be six months before her remains were finally discovered.
Skylar Neese Is Reported “Missing”
Just hours after the murder, Skylar Neese’s parents realized she wasn’t in her room and reported her missing. At first, police assumed she had run away, and her friends went along with the news that she “disappeared.”
That morning, Shelia Eddy called Skylar Neese’s parents and explained that she and Rachel Shoaf had been with her the night before. She admitted that they had snuck out, picked Neese up around 11 p.m., and then drove around smoking marijuana for a bit before dropping Neese off near her house just before midnight. (Later, security footage would reveal that this timeline was off, as the girls didn’t even pick Neese up until well after midnight.)
Meanwhile, Rachel Shoaf had decided to go on a last-minute boat ride with her mom and her family friend, Kelly Kerns. When Rachel Shoaf’s mom, Patricia, brought up the news that Rachel’s friend Skylar Neese had been reported missing, Rachel’s behavior didn’t seem too unusual.
“I mean, she was texting all the time,” Kerns later remembered. “But you see so much of that, it didn’t really faze us.”
Then, the day after her best friend supposedly vanished without a trace, Rachel Shoaf left for a two-week-long church camp.
Rachel Shoaf Confesses To The Murder
As time went on, it eventually became clear that Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy knew something about Skylar Neese’s disappearance. The FBI even got involved, searching the girls’ lockers and confiscating their computers. Still, both Shoaf and Eddy stuck to their previous story to a T.
“Their stories were verbatim, the same. No one’s story is exactly the same unless it’s rehearsed,” one police officer said about the girls. “Everything in my gut was, ‘Shelia is acting wrong. Rachel is scared to death.'”
Then, in late December 2012, Rachel Shoaf suffered a nervous breakdown and was briefly admitted to a psychiatric hospital. When she was released in early January 2013, she finally decided to confess, telling police that she and Eddy had planned and executed the murder of Skylar Neese. When asked why they’d done it, she simply said, “We just didn’t like her.”
About six months after the disappearance of Skylar Neese, Rachel Shoaf led the police to the area where she and Eddy had hidden the body in Pennsylvania. Eventually, authorities were able to recover the remains. By May 2013, police had enough evidence to arrest both Shoaf and Eddy.
Those who knew Rachel Shoaf personally were stunned that she could have committed such a brutal murder. “There was never any sign. Not a mean kid, not a bully, didn’t torture animals,” Kelly Kerns said. “With all of the potential and morals, I don’t even get where this came from.”
The Sentencing Of Rachel Shoaf And Shelia Eddy
After securing a plea deal, Rachel Shoaf readily pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Skylar Neese. In February 2014, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 10 years.
Before her sentencing, she apologized to the Neese family.
“The person that did that was not the real me,” she said, according to CBS. “I became scared, caught up in something that I did not want to do.”
Neese’s father did not accept Shoaf’s apologies.
“Rachel Shoaf murdered my daughter in cold blood,” Dave Neese said in response. “She can take her apologies and sit on them.”
Shoaf served the first part of her sentence in a juvenile facility, and she was relocated to a state prison after her 18th birthday.
Shelia Eddy, meanwhile, was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, with the possibility of parole after 15 years.
Rachel Shoaf Reveals An Alleged Motive
While Rachel Shoaf initially claimed she and Shelia Eddy had murdered their friend because they “just didn’t like her,” not everyone was satisfied with that motive. In fact, some theorized that the pair may have had a secret sexual relationship, and that they killed Neese because she found out.
At her parole hearing in May 2023, 12 WBOY reports, Shoaf, then 26, confirmed this theory, claiming she and Eddy had been seeing one another and they were afraid of what would happen if Neese revealed their secret.
“After things became known with the relationship, there was tension between us,” she said. “It was hostile and violent, in our teenage minds we didn’t know how to handle the conflict and we just wanted it to stop.”
Skylar Neese’s family, however, insisted that she would never have outed her friends. She had other gay friends, they said, and wouldn’t have been bothered by their relationship. In a statement to the parole board, Neese’s father Dave Neese strongly recommended against granting Shoaf parole.
“This narcissistic, first-degree, cold-blooded killer is not sorry for the brutal murder of my only child,” he wrote in the statement. “The date of July 6, 2012 was chosen for a specific reason, you see — this beast wanted the killing out of the way before she left for church camp. Just another task to mark off of her list, like standing over my child saying, “Die, b****!” as my baby girl took her last breath, because the evil butcher didn’t want to be her friend.”
Rachel Shoaf was denied parole. She is projected to be released in 2028.
After reading about how Rachel Shoaf helped murder her best friend, learn about how teenager Rachel Barber was murdered by her jealous babysitter. Then, learn about the Slender Man stabbing, when two 12-year-olds tried to kill their friend to prove their allegiance to a creepy internet meme.