The Tweets of a Girl who Murdered her BFF

girl using iphone 5sTwo Morgantown, West Virginia high school girls Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy murdered their best friend and classmate Skylar Neese on the night of July 5, 2012. They stabbed her to death in a remote area of Pennsylvania.

The murdered her, they said, because they didn’t want to be friends with her anymore. During the attack 16-year-old Skylar attempted to fight back. Finally, when she couldn’t fight anymore, she cried out “Why?” They stabbed her fifty times, with kitchen knives, and stood over her as she died. This is not a scene from a movie. This is real.

As Skylar’s parents searched for their only child, the Morgantown police listed her as “missing.” The killers feigned ignorance of her whereabouts and duplicitously participated in helping the Neese family search for Skylar.

Finally, five months after committing the murder 17-year-old Shoaf broke down under the pressure of repeated police questioning and was taken to a psychiatric hospital. That’s when she admitted to murdering Skylar and named Eddy as her accomplice. She led police to the location of Skylar’s body on Eddy’s Run Road, a road named for Shelia Eddy’s family, in Wayne Township in Pennsylvania.

I first heard about the murder of Skylar Neese in January when Shelia Eddy, 17-years-old, was sentenced in court to a life term in prison. I learned that the girls were on social networking sites and utilized Twitter almost daily. Shelia Eddy’s tweets (Rachel Shoaf’s Twitter account has been deleted) reminded me of a report issued by the Girls Scouts of America in 2011 about the positive and negative effects of reality TV shows on girls. Conclusions from the report were disturbing. Girls who watched reality TV expected bullying, “drama” and higher levels of aggression in their lives. They spent more time on their physical appearance than girls who didn’t watch reality TV shows and a majority of the girls studied felt that being mean to others enabled one to get what they wanted.

As I followed Shelia Eddy’s Twitter feed I saw that she watched and enjoyed two reality TV shows in particular, “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and “Jersey Shore.” Here is a sample of her tweets:

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 16 Sep 2012
kardashian marathon, love my life

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 16 Sep 2012
nobody is as excited as i am for jersey shore

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 28 Aug 2012
RT! “@_rachelicious: My obsession with the Kardashians is unhealthy at this point”

Shoaf, Eddy and Neese were friends with a deep bond. They were a triad of teenage power in the hallways of University High School. In happy times one can see the threesome goofing off in the numerous selfies they posted online. They have big smiles and perfect hair. Shoaf and Eddy clearly spent time on their physical appearance. Skylar, who lived in an apartment with both of her parents, wasn’t as thin as Shoaf and Eddy.

However, at one point in 2012 the threesome broke up into a twosome. Shoaf and Eddy, who both had divorced parents, became closer (some say an intimate moment was witnessed by Skylar) and Skylar was cast out of the clique. Eddy and Shoaf decided that Skylar, the straight A student who worked at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers and whose father worked at Walmart, had to die.

The day after they killed Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy’s posted a cryptic tweet to a Twitter follower:

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 7 Jul 2012
happpy birthdayy @young_muffintop!

Watching reality TV obviously doesn’t make you a murderer. However, Shelia Eddy’s tweets can be used as examples for the conclusions of the Girl Scouts report. A representative for Girl Scouts said that reality TV shows “more frequently portrays girls and women in competition with one another rather than in support or collaboration. This perpetuates a ‘mean-girl’ stereotype and normalizes this behavior among girls.”

Photo-1

Two days before her murder Skylar Neese posted a total of four tweets. Three of them show her confusion and anger at being rejected by her friends:

skylar neese @hiighasthe_sky 4 Jul 2012
sick of being at fucking home. thanks “friends”, love hanging out with you all too.

skylar neese @hiighasthe_sky 4 Jul 2012
stress will be the death of me.

Retweeted by skylar neese
Karagan Mulhall @couldntKAReless 9 Jun 2012
Sometimes I think HD tv is clearer than real life

By January of 2103 an emotionally wrecked Rachel Shoaf, confessed and led police to Skylar’s body which had decomposed and its parts were scattered by animals. Publicly it was reported that “human remains” were found in Pennsylvania. Shoaf’s confession was kept secret as she helped police try to get a confession on tape from Eddy.
Shelia Eddy’s line between reality and fiction was a blur. On January 18, not long after the human remains were found Eddy was tweeting about episodes of “Law and Order SVU” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians”:

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 18 Jan 2013
this is the most intense episode of law and order svu i have ever seen

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 22 Jan 2013
wonder if there’s a law and order svu where they DON’T figure it out

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 14 Feb 2013
let me look like kourtney kardashian and ill be happy with life forever

By March 13 the human remains were identified as Skylar’s and as the people of Morgantown grieved. Shelia Eddy weakly tweeted a few posts about Skylar’s death:

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 13 Mar 2013
the pain is real

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa 13 Mar 2013
rest easy skylar, you’ll ALWAYS be my bestfriend. i miss you more than you could ever know.

In the midst the Neese family’s emotional devastation Shelia Eddy’s difficult decision wasn’t confessing to murder, it was buying thongs:

shelia eddy @_sheliiaa Apr 24
I think one of the hardest decisions a girl has to make is what thongs to get at victorias secret when you can only get 5 for $26

Eddy was finally arrested in early May of 2013 after Skylar’s DNA was discovered in her car, but she didn’t confess to murdering Skylar Neese until January 24, 2014. Eddy received a life sentence and Shoaf received thirty years. They were sentenced as adults.

Skylar Neese, who wanted to grow up and become a lawyer, posted her last tweet on the night of her death. It was a retweet:

Retweeted by skylar neese
jillian molnar @jillo_shots 5 Jul 2012

All I do is hope.

Jennifer Lee is a filmmaker who lives in Los Angeles. She has spent many years working on Hollywood films and used her free time (when she had it!) making her own films. Her latest film, “Feminist: Stories from Women’s Liberation” is being screened in numerous public libraries across the nation during Women’s History Month. Jennifer was recently named Global Ambassador for the Global Media Monitoring Project.

Image via iStockphoto/Mingman Srilakorn

  • Thia

    These girls should be put down like rabid dogs. Their parents should pay somehow too. I think parents teach children to be predators or prey defenders. There may be the odd bad seed but that’s very rare IMO. Girls can and should be taught to protect the weak and turn it back on the predators. Maybe we should talk a little more about this kind of substantive problem and a little less about which words to ban this week. Great article!

    • NCBrian

      if you’re advocating treating them like adults (trying and sentencing) then how can you blame the parents also? Which is it? Maybe the parents are awful people a well, but for all we know they’re victims also.

  • Sheila Eddy and Rachel Shoaf we’re not being fair to Skylar by not including her by inviting her over to their houses instead of becoming good friends with Skylar they decided to kill her at the age of 16. My heart and prayers goes out to Skylar’s parents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins… Skylar Neese will be missed…. RIP.

  • Lisa Solod

    Fascinating. I have followed this story and this adds to my knowledge. Thank you.

  • Yvonne

    I disagree with how these 2 girls parents are seen. At what point does a person gain a sense of self and take responsibility for their actions. To these 2 sets of parents and their families. I am sorry for your loss. Your daughters should be ashamed of themselves and should spend the rest of their lives in jail. The killed a young girl and are responsible for her family and friends loss and pain as well as yours. Please hold your heads up not because you need to defy and stay strong but because you are people whom did not raise murderers, you raised daughters whom chose to be murderers. They chose this, not you! Your loss is not greater nor less than the victim’s family. It is different in many ways. I hope one day people will see parents of children who’ve done wrong as victims too because you simply are. or it would be you whom would have committed the act/acts that put them in jail and you would be there instead of them.

    • NCBrian

      I agree in general, but their loss is most certainly less than that of the family.

  • Harmony Jones

    Terrible. Just sick. Who in their right mind would kill their so-called “BFF” and then pretend to help the parents of the victim find the victim? These girls are lucky that they weren’t sentenced to death!

    • Cowpow

      I’m pretty sure that in all states, even if a minor is “tried as an adult”, they cannot receive the death sentence. In most states I don’t think they can even be sentenced to life with no chance of parole. Helping the parents was just a play at making them look innocent.

Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Nancy Reagan dies, Just Say No, Ronald Reagan
A Not-So-Positive Ode to Nancy Reagan’s Frothy “Just Say No” Campaign
I Married for Health Insurance
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Trump Reality Check, Now with Actual Facts!
Fascism Facts
I Married for Health Insurance
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Women’s Elections Rights in Saudi Arabia: A Token Drop in an Abysmal Bucket & the Plight of Women Under Sharia Law
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread