Tonight’s 20/20 rerun revisits a chilling recent headline: the brutal murder of Skylar Neese by her two BFFs. Although the types of murders can lead to knee-jerk reactions of pearl clutching and wondering what’s happened to “kids these days,” these types of murders have happened before, and they are not any more common today. What is new is the impact of social media. After Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy ruthlessly murdered their friend Skylar Neese, their Twitter accounts offered a glimpse into their lives while they lived with the knowledge of what they had done.
In 2012 Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy stabbed their 16 year-old friend Skylar Neese to death in the woods because they no longer wanted to be friends with her, and feared she may spill their “secrets, the kinds of secrets perhaps that girls have, and other things,” prosecutor Marcia Ashdown said at the trial. These secrets are thought to be about a sexual relationship that Shelia and Rachel had, which Skylar wrote about in her diary. Right before she died, Skylar made some tweets threatening to reveal secrets.
The two girls had feigned searching for their friend after she disappeared, and told everyone that they had, indeed, snuck out with Skylar to get high and hang out, but said they dropped her off near her house. Eventually Rachel started acting out at home, possibly cracking under the pressure of friends, family, and strangers asking her via social media to tell what she knows, ended up in a mental hospital.
When Rachel checked out of the mental hospital she confessed and struck a deal to get a lessor sentence if she helped them catch Shelia. Authorities were shocked by what she had to tell them because by then they believed that Skylar had probably overdosed, and that her friends were trying to cover that up. When she immediately told them they had stabbed their friend, they were shaken up. When they asked her why they did that, she replied that they “didn’t like her.” Later that day, Rachel wore a wire to go hang out with Shelia, but didn’t get any good information. Although they didn’t get any information from the wire, cops did find Skylar’s blood in Shelia’s car.
Shelia balked that people could see her in the back of the patrol car when she was arrested at a Cracker Barrel after breakfast with her mother, and asked from something to tie her hair back with. She also told the cops to not put her “in there with any mean people.”
Both girls tweeted and posted to social media after the murder, but Rachel was much more quiet than Shelia. Rachel’s tweets have since been deleted, and someone is operating a Twitter account under her Twitter handle RTing headlines and tweets related to the case. Shelia and Skylar‘s accounts are abandoned, but eerily untouched (Shelia has deleted many of her tweets, but has left up quite a few.) One of Skylar’s last tweets before her friends ended her life was, “People can be so mean for absolutely no reason.”
Some disturbing highlights from 2013:
Shelia, January 7: walk straight through hell with a smile.
January 15: you don’t even know the amount of shit you have caused.
January 22: wonder if there’s a law and order svu where they DON’T figure it out.
March 13: the pain is real…. rest easy skylar, you’ll ALWAYS be my bestfriend. i miss you more than you could ever know.
March 31: we really did go on three.
April 23: if only you knew you’d shit right down your leg.
April 24: i hate when people blame their own actions and choices on others. deal with it.
April 27: ain’t no rest for the wicked.
April 28: i hate seeing or hearing things that remind me of you because you’re the last person i want to be reminded of.
April 30: i’ve closed enough windows to know you can never look back.
Rachel, January 28: there’s so much i regret but im on a new path and i seriously couldn’t be happier.
February 2: this b!tch is not gunna ruin my life all over again -___-.
March 8: my past is my past, move the f**k on.
April 21: (during a vacation with her mom) i need a mimosa…or ten.
According to Rachel’s account, Shelia’s tweet “we really did go on three,” is especially chilling. Rachel says the two girls decided to kill Skylar one day when they were complaining about her, and then plotted it out. On the night July 6, 2012, they carried out their plan, stabbing their friend on the count of three.
At her trial, Rachel apologized for what she did, and said it “wasn’t the real,” her, but Skyalr’s father was not moved and told Rachel she could take her apologies and “sit on them.” Shelia didn’t apologize at her trial, where she pled guilty, but Skylar’s mom feels that Shelia’s lack of apology is probably more honest than Rachel’s public performance.