Rachel Shoaf (16) fatally stabbed her best friend Skylar Neese (also 16) due to a loss of affection. Thereafter she hid her body for several months.
Wherein she admitted premeditatedly carry out a stabbing last summer. It has profoundly shaken a closely knit community in West Virginia.
On May 1, 2013, Rachel Shoaf from Morgantown pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Skylar Neese. She is currently waiting for sentence in a juvenile center. Another unnamed girl also faces charges in connection with the crime.
A newly release transcript from a confidential plea hearing discloses that Shoaf and the second girl executed a planned scheme to take Neese’s life. Court documents provide no insights into the motive behind this heinous act. On May 1, Skylar’s father in his only statement expressed that he simply did not have affections for her anymore.
According to WDTV, Dave Neese stated, “He no longer have any affection for her. That is the only response I received.”
He further say to Rachel Shoaf, “I empathise with your parents, but I hope you face the consequences of your actions.”
The victim last sighted on surveillance footage. She left her house and entered a car on July 6, 2012.
Initially, authorities considered her a runaway. But her parents soon suspected that she had been abducted.
Despite pursuing numerous leads, the police were unsuccessful until Shoaf confessed to plotting Neese’s murder. It was shocking for even the investigators of the case.
Skylar Neese disappeared in July 2012. Initially it presumed to be a runaway until her parents began to suspect she had fallen victim to an abduction.
As per court documents, the two girls were charged with luring Neese. Shoaf was a straight-A student at University High School. She carried the premeditated stabbing from her apartment. Subsequently hid her body under branches in a Pennsylvania township which was approximately 30 miles away from her home.
After committing the murder, the pair spent time with Neese’s mother. They even assisted her in the searching for her daughter.
The calculated and brutal nature of this plan sent shockwaves through a community. People were already angry with the slow progress and lack of transparency. Since the announcement of charges, investigators have refrained from disclosing significant information.
The people fixed their gazes upon Neese’s photograph on a bulletin board. They ponder how young individuals could conspire to murder a fellow classmate and friend.
Barber BJ McClead expressed, “They appear as ordinary as any other young individuals you might encounter. They are not the kind of kids one would associate with such a grave incident.”
The identity of the other girl remains concealed within the confidentiality of the juvenile court system.
Although McClead mentioned that most residents in town have deduced her identity. It remains unclear how long the three girls had been friends or the depth of their relationship.
Moreover, it remains uncertain whether prosecutors will seek to charge the second suspect as an adult.
“People are perplexed. They wonder, ‘What is causing the delay?” Said McClead, whose daughter Hayden had friends with Neese since junior high school.
“It’s absurd. Who is safeguarding these girls?” lamented the barber. He continuously distributes red-and-yellow bracelets bearing the victim’s name.
“Three families’ lives have been shattered due to the abominable crime committed by these girls.”
Repeated calls to Monongalia County Prosecutor Marcia Ashdown seeking comment have been left unanswered.
The mystery began unfolding in July when Neese vanished after climbing out of her bedroom window.
Surveillance footage captured her getting into a car at the end of her street in a tranquil residential neighbourhood near West Virginia University.
She appeared unfazed, without money or contact lenses. It suggested she intended to return.
Dave and Mary Neese initially feared their daughter had run away. But their parental instincts told them otherwise. They tirelessly distributed Neese’s photo on Crawford Street and posted flyers everywhere.
“You couldn’t walk five feet without seeing her,” recalled 24-year-old Brittany Crouse. She moved to the area around the time of the disappearance. “Everyone desperately wanted her safe return.”
For months, the police pursued various leads to no avail. However, the breakthrough came on January 3, 2013. Suddenly Shoaf finally revealed the truth to investigators and disclosed the location of the body.
Confirmation came in march that the victim was indeed Neese. It followed by an extended period of silence leading up to the plea hearing.
On that day, Ashdown informed Judge Russell Clawges, “I believe the police officers and subsequent investigators were astounded by Rachel Shoaf’s admission.
“She confessed the conspiracy of Skylar Neese’s murder in collaboration with another minor. Their plan was executed.”
The trio drove to Wayne Township, Pennsylvania. Then they disembarked from the vehicle and seemingly engaged in ordinary interaction.
“At a predetermined and agreed-upon moment,” Ashdown revealed, “the girls launched a brutal and fatal assault on Skylar. They stabbed her to death, and left her lifeless body behind.”
The defendants tried to bury Neese. But ultimately they had to resorted to hide her body under the branches.
According to the five-page court document on Shoaf, prosecutors intend to recommend a 20-year prison sentence. However, under the law, she could face a maximum of 40 years in confinement.
Shoaf’s family has issued a public apology through their lawyer. But they refrained from making any further statements.
“We cannot tell the pain we too are experiencing,” they expressed.
“We wholeheartedly apologise for the anguish she has caused the Neese family. Also We acknowledge the unforgivable and inexcusable nature of her actions.”
“Our daughter has accepted responsibility. She will face the consequences of her deeds.
“Our hearts ache for your loss.” They conveyed to the Neese family. “We are still struggling to come to terms with this tragic event.”
Mary Neese refused interview requests. Nonetheless, the family has spare others from similar agony, for the passage of “Skylar’s Law” earlier this year.
This legislation expands the scope of Amber Alerts in West Virginia beyond just kidnapping cases. Even when authorities suspect a child may be a runaway, immediately inform Amber Alert officials.
The transcript of Shoaf’s hearing reveals that other students also harboured suspicions. All social media is discussing the three girls.
A few individuals overheard a conversation between the defendants about the plot but delayed reporting it.
“The youngsters initially dismissed it as a joke.” Ashdown informed the judge, “But later they convinced that it real and shocking.”
McClead marvels at how two teenage girls managed to sustain their deception from July to January, “Some of the criminals sentence to lifelong imprisonment are not as resilient.”
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