Matthew Silliman, the Apex, North Carolina, teen who was found dead in an abandoned trailer on a horse farm eight years ago, is the next tale of murder that will debut on Murder Among Friends, a new show that is premiering on Investigation Discovery (ID) tonight. The episode titled "Murder Circle" is about a group of friends who tell a teen's fortune with tarot cards, convincing him that someone is out to kill him. As the search for the missing teen widens, detectives get a break that implicates a killer in the circle of friends. In the real case, four teens were charged in Matthew Silliman's death: 17-year-old Allegra Rose Dahlquist, 18-year-old Ryan Hare, 18-year-old Drew Shaw, and 17-year-old Aadil Shahid Khan.
Eighteen-year-old Matthew Josiah Silliman vanished in November 2008. He was last seen at a location near Oakgate Court in North Carolina. When he didn't return home, his worried parents contacted authorities, and a Silver Alert was issued in the missing teen's disappearance. His family did everything possible to find him, and a buzz was created on Facebook about the missing person's case. A few days later, police received a tip, leading them to an abandoned mobile home located at 4221 Olive Branch Lane, where they found the body of Matthew Silliman.
When the news first hit the local papers, it was speculated that the body found at the trailer home, which was classified as John Doe, was most likely Matthew Silliman. Later, the identification was made and a funeral was planned for the former Eagle Scout.
Matthew Silliman's death was a devastating for his family and local residents. No one had suspected that the young man had been killed. In fact, when he went missing, most people who knew him believed that he had runaway from home, since he had a history of depression and suicide attempts.
However, when an autopsy ruled his death a suicide, it sent everyone into a tizzy. The report confirmed that Matthew Silliman had died of suffocation and had alcohol and prescription drugs in his system. A plastic bag had been placed over his head, and his mouth was sealed with duck tape. It was a clear case of murder. Who had done this?
Drew Shaw, aka Drew Logan Shaw, confessed to knowledge about the murder of Matthew Silliman. According to him, his death was an elaborate plot to get rid of him because Ryan Hare was jealous that Silliman had a relationship with his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Allegra Rose Dahlquist.
The investigation revealed that the group of friends had dug a grave and tried to kill Silliman on a previous attempt by convincing Silliman that they needed to fake his death so that "Roger" wouldn't try to kill him. When the attempt to strangle him failed, they convinced him that he'd be safe on the horse farm. When he got there, he had walked into a death trap, one that ended with him being hit over the head with a hammer before he was suffocated, according to court records found at Case Law.
"[Ryan Hare] and the co-conspirators lured the unsuspecting victim into an automobile and drove him to a remote area where defendant was to use a Taser to incapacitate the victim while the others strangled him. Although the Taser failed to function and the attempt to kill Silliman was aborted mid-struggle, the victim remained with defendant and his other assailants because the victim still believed they were his friends. Defendant and the others convinced Silliman that a fictitious 'Roger' was hunting him and wanted to kill him. They then helped Silliman hide from 'Roger' by taking the victim to an abandoned house, where he stayed for the next five days."
The sad part of the story is that Matthew Silliman thought these people were his friends. He trusted them with everything he had. That's a fact that makes his loving family grieve for him even more. He had a hard time in the years prior to his death. According to Mcclatchy DC, he wanted to find his biological mother, and he was having problems with the girl he loved.
Today, Rose Dahlquist, Ryan Hare, and Aadil Shahid Khan are still serving out their long sentences. Drew Shaw was released from prison a few years back.
You'll want to see the episode based on Matthew Silliman's story tonight at 10/9 p.m. central on Investigation Discovery (ID).
[Image via North Carolina Dept. of Corrections]