Dark truth behind snaps of smiling teenage friends – which left one dead

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    A group of 16-year-old girls who were always snapped smiling together held a terrifying secret – which left one dead.

    Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shloaf had been inseparable High School friends, with Skylar often described as the stable, supportive member of the trio.

    But beneath the surface of their smiley photos shared online, a deadly Mean Girls-style feud was bubbling. Shelia and Rachel had started edging Skylar out of the group – relegating her to the back of their incessant selfies and even turning up to school in matching clothes without calling their friend to tell her about the plan.

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    It reached a boiling point one summers afternoon on July 6, 2012, when Skylar had left home to meet up with her friends to smoke marijuana. Without telling her parents, she snuck out of her home and was driven 45 minutes from her home in Star City, West Virginia by Shelia and Rachel. She never returned.

    On arrival at the lonely spot over the Pennsylvania, the trio sat on an open patch of grass ready to light up. But Shelia and Rachel had purposely left the only lighter in the car.

    After tricking her into turning her back, by telling her they’d left the cigarette lighter in the car and asking her to retrieve it, Shelia and Rachel stood up, and on the count of three simultaneously plunged knives into the teenage girl’s back.

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    As Skylar lay on the ground, bleeding from the horrific wounds, her two one-time friends took turns to stab her repeatedly in the chest and neck. Skylar’s last words were “why are you doing this to me?”

    The two girls had prepared for the murder, with a “kill kit” of shovels, bin bags and bleach in the boot of the car. But the ground was too hard for them to dig the shallow grave they had planned, and instead they dragged her into some woodland and threw large stones and branches on top of her body.

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    Mr Ballen continued: “They don't know if she's still alive at this point, so they’re potentially dealing the fatal blow with these rocks and logs.”

    The murder went unsolved for months, and the case of Skylar’s disappearance looked set to remain unsolved. Then, in late December, Rachel’s mother called police to say that the young girl seemed to be in the grip of a full-on mental breakdown.

    She told the 911 operator: “I have an issue with a 16-year-old daughter of mine. I can’t control her anymore. She’s hitting us, she’s screaming, she’s running through the neighbourhood.”

    After finally calming down, Rachel told police she had something to tell them. In an interview room, she calmly confessed to Skylar’s murder. “We stabbed her,” she said, and when asked why, she added: “We didn’t like her.”

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    The sick scheme had been months in the planning, she admitted. Rachel took police to the scrap of desolate woodland where the grisly deed had taken place, but it wasn’t until March the following year that Skylar’s almost-unrecognisable body was discovered.

    At Rachel and Shelia's trial it emerged that fellow-students at University High School had overheard conversations between about the murder plot between the two girls, but failed to report it, assuming that it was just some sort of sick joke.

    Rachel received a sentence of 30 years in prison, with eligibility for parole after 10 years, while Shelia was sentenced to life in prison and would be eligible for parole after 15 years.

    David Neese, Skylar’s dad said the sentences couldn’t be long enough. He continued: “They’re both sickos, and they’re both exactly where they need to be: away from civilisation, locked up like animals. Because that’s what they are, they’re animals.”

    • Murder

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