The Story Of Shelia Eddy, The 16-Year-Old Who Helped Stab Her Skylar Neese To Death In The Woods Of Pennsylvania

Published August 1, 2023
Updated August 21, 2023

In July 2012, teenagers Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf literally stabbed their best friend Skylar Neese in the back — and Shoaf later confessed that they killed her because they “just didn’t like her” anymore.

Shelia Eddy

FacebookFrom left to right, Rachel Shoaf, Shelia Eddy, and Skylar Neese.

When teenagers decide to oust a friend from their group, they can be cruel. For the shunned, it can feel like the end of the world. For Skylar Neese, it was the end of her life.

In the early morning hours of July 6, 2012, teenagers Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf lured their best friend, 16-year-old Skylar Neese, into the woods of Pennsylvania under the guise of smoking marijuana there. Instead, the girls counted to three — then stabbed Neese in the back, brutally murdering her.

This is the story of how Shelia Eddy helped Rachel Shoaf murder their best friend — then pretended to help Skylar Neese’s family look for her when she went “missing.”

The Strange Disappearance Of Skylar Neese

Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy, and Rachel Shoaf were best friends at their high school in Morgantown, West Virginia, and they were seemingly inseparable. They were always on social media, posting photos of themselves apparently having a great time together.

But a closer look at the posts reveals there may have been tension brewing between the girls. Angry, vague tweets Neese posted shortly before her death hinted she was growing frustrated with her friends, and that they may have been excluding her.

On July 4, 2012, she tweeted, “it really doesn’t take much to piss me off,” followed by, “sick of being at f—ing home. thanks ‘friends’, love hanging out with you all too.” The next day, she tweeted, “you doing shit like that is why I will NEVER completely trust you.”

Then, after midnight on July 6, Skylar Neese snuck out of her Star City home through her bedroom window. She left her cell phone charger at home and left the window open, as if she planned to return, WPXI reported. Her father, David Neese, later reported that the apartment complex’s surveillance footage showed Skylar entering a car around 12:35 a.m.

The next morning, Skylar’s parents discovered she was gone and reported her missing. But because she was a teenager and appeared to have left willingly, police quickly determined she was a runaway and not in danger. No Amber Alert was initially issued.

Six months later, police would find Skylar Neese’s body in the woods of Pennsylvania.

Rachel Shoaf Tells The Police What She And Shelia Eddy Did

As the police continued to search for Skylar Neese, her family distributed missing person flyers around the region. Shelia Eddy joined them. NY Daily News reports she went door-to-door handing out flyers, apparently trying to find her missing friend. She even comforted the distraught parents of the girl she helped murder.

Shelia Eddy Rachel Shoaf And Skylar Neese

TwitterFrom left: Shelia Eddy, Rachel Shoaf, and Skylar Neese.

Police eventually found that the car that had picked Neese up belonged to Eddy, so they interviewed her. Eddy claimed she had picked Neese up around 11 p.m. and that she, Neese, and Shoaf had driven around for about an hour getting high before they dropped Neese off near her home.

By September, the FBI had joined the case and began interviewing Skylar Neese’s friends. Authorities began to suspect that Shoaf and Eddy were hiding something.

Finally, Shoaf broke. In January 2013, she confessed to plotting with Shelia Eddy to kill Neese.

She said she and Eddy had picked Neese up that night and driven to Pennsylvania. They smoked some weed and drove around, before they finally stopped and walked into a wooded area. As Neese turned around to go find a lighter in the car, Shoaf and Eddy counted, “One, two, three …” and began to brutally stab Neese.

Later, it was reported that Shoaf said, “Die, b—-” as they murdered their friend.

Once it was over, the girls tried to bury the body, but the ground was too hard. Instead, they covered Neese’s body with branches and rocks and left it there, where it remained for six months.

When asked why they killed their friend, Shoaf admitted that they did it because they simply “didn’t want to be friends with her anymore.”

The Trials Of Shelia Eddy And Rachel Shoaf

After she confessed, Rachel Shoaf led police to where she and Shelia Eddy had hid Skylar Neese’s body in Brave, Pennsylvania, about 20 miles from Star City. In March 2013, police announced to the public that Neese had been found dead.

After the news broke, Shelia Eddy, who had yet to confess, continued to act as through everything was normal. She took to Twitter, writing, “Rest easy skylar, you’ll ALWAYS be my bestfriend. i miss you more than you could ever know.”

But two weeks later, she tweeted, “We really did go on three,” seemingly corroborating her friend Rachel Shoaf’s confession that they had stabbed Neese to death after counting to three.

On May 1, 2013, police finally arrested Shelia Eddy. That same day, Shoaf had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and was eligible for parole after 10 years.

Shelia Eddy was charged as an adult and sentenced to life. Before her trial, she pleaded guilty to first-degree murder with mercy, which means she will be eligible for parole after 15 years.

“​​She came and acted as if she knew nothing,” Skylar Neese’s aunt Carol Michaud said at Eddy’s sentencing. “She pretended and stayed with us and comforted us and swore she had no idea what was going on. To come to this day and admit she did just shows how evil she can be.”

Possible Motives For The Murder

While Rachel Shoaf originally said the motive for killing Neese was just that they “just didn’t like her,” some have speculated that Eddy and Shoaf were having a sexual relationship that they didn’t want leaked. But Neese’s family insists that Skylar would never have outed them because she had other gay and lesbian friends and had no issue with it.

Police Chief Jessica Colebank, who was a detective on the case, has said she believes the girls did it for the thrill of it.

Shelia Eddy has publicly shown no remorse and remained mum about why she killed Neese. At her sentencing, her attorney, Michael Benninger, gave a statement on behalf of Eddy and her family.

“Shelia Eddy and her family recognize the Neese family is in a constant state of despair, loneliness and sadness,” Benninger said, according to MetroNews. “For that, Shelia Eddy and her family are, and will be eternally sorry. … We hope all families … tragically affected can move forward in a more peaceful and hopeful way.”

Skylar Neese And Shelia Eddy

TwitterShelia Eddy pretended to search for Skylar Neese after she went missing.

Rachel Shoaf Faces The Parole Board

In May 2023, Rachel Shoaf was eligible for her first parole board hearing. At the hearing, she said that she and Shelia Eddy had been in a relationship, and that they’d killed Skylar Neese to keep it a secret.

“After things became known with the relationship, there was tension between us,” she said, according to WBOY News. “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.”

David Neese read a statement to the parole board offering no mercy for Shoaf:

“This narcissistic, first degree, cold-blooded killer is not sorry for the brutal murder of my only child. It’s my belief that she is proud she murdered my daughter in cold blood… I wasn’t there to defend my baby girl from this diabolical killer on July 6, 2012, but I’m here today to do everything within my power to make sure she stays behind bars.”

Shoaf And Eddy

Lakin Correctional FacilityRachel Shoaf, left, and Shelia Eddy in prison.

He got his wish: Shoaf was denied parole. She and Eddy are now housed in the Lakin Correctional Center in Mason County, West Virginia and will be eligible for parole in 2028. It will be Eddy’s first chance at parole.

The Aftermath Of Skylar Neese’s Murder

Since Skylar Neese’s death, her parents David and Mary Neese helped pass “Skylar’s Law,” which requires Amber Alerts to be released for all missing children in West Virginia, even if they aren’t believed to have been kidnapped. The bill passed unanimously in the West Virginia House of Delegates and the state’s Senate.

The Neeses also created a memorial in the wooded area where Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf hid Skylar Neese’s body.

“Something horrible happened here,” David Neese told 20/20. “But I wanted to take the horrible thing that happened here and try to turn it into something good — a place that people can come and remember Skylar and remember the good little girl that she was, and not the little beast that they treated her like.”


After reading about Shelia Eddy, read about Alyssa Bustamante, the 15-year-old who murdered her nine-year-old neighbor for the thrill of it. Then, learn about teenage best friends Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who brutally murdered Parker’s mother because they feared she’d keep them apart.

author
Lisa Hornung
author
Lisa Hornung is a freelance writer and editor based in Louisville, Ky., with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!) and a master's degree in history from Eastern Kentucky University (go Colonels!).
editor
Maggie Donahue
editor
Maggie Donahue is an assistant editor at All That's Interesting. She has a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a Bachelor's degree in creative writing and film studies from Johns Hopkins University. Before landing at ATI, she covered arts and culture at The A.V. Club and Colorado Public Radio and also wrote for Longreads. She is interested in stories about scientific discoveries, pop culture, the weird corners of history, unexplained phenomena, nature, and the outdoors.
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Hornung, Lisa. "The Story Of Shelia Eddy, The 16-Year-Old Who Helped Stab Her Skylar Neese To Death In The Woods Of Pennsylvania." AllThatsInteresting.com, August 1, 2023, https://allthatsinteresting.com/shelia-eddy. Accessed June 19, 2024.