Chester Allan Poage, the Spearfish, South Dakota, teen who was tortured and killed by a group of friends and left in an icy creek 16 years ago, will have his devastating story told on Investigation Discovery’s Murder Among Friends. The episode featuring Chester Poage and his friends, Briley Piper, Darrell Hoadley, and Elijah Page, is titled, ‘Best Friends For Never.’ Viewers will hear how a teen is accepted among a group of friends, then lured to a snow-covered wooded area, where he is tortured for hours and left to die in the frigid cold waters.
Reading about the tragic case of 19-year-old Chester Allan Poage is enough to make any mother’s stomach turn. The sheer depravity of the crime and the bitter betrayal by so-called friends is something that most people just cannot comprehend. Without a doubt, had Chester Poage never met Darrell Hoadley, 20, Briley Piper, 20, and Elijah Page, 18, he would be alive today. Unfortunately when he met them and began hanging out with them, he had no way to know that he would die a senseless and brutal death. Before it happened, his mother, Dottie Poage, tried to advise him about true friends, according to Clark Prosecutor.
“I told him a friend, a real friend, you have to earn through time and to have trust. He supposedly came across three guys that he wanted to make a friendship with… Who would ever do something like this to a friend? I never dreamt that I would be dealing with what I’ve dealt with this last seven years.”
Missing Spearfish, South Dakota, March 2000: Where’s Chester Allan Poage?
The case began as a missing person’s case in March, 2000. Dottie Poage filed the report with the local police because her son, Chester Allan Poage was not at home, and her car was also missing. She also reported that various items had been stolen from her home.
The teen’s body was found a month later after a landowner located it in a creek on her property in Higgins Gulch in the Black Hills. When detectives came to the scene, they found a white male wearing only a t-shirt shoes, and socks. The coroner determined that the victim, identified as Chester Poage, had been stabbed, beaten, and his skull was crushed with a blunt object. It appeared that he may have also drowned. The injuries inflicted upon him were administered over the course of several hours before he finally took his last breath.
Higgins gulch now open. Still large rocks in road but it's passable. pic.twitter.com/QEbMoeKBK6
— Black Hills NF (@BlackHillsNF) May 23, 2014
They Tricked Him And Lured Him
Police investigators immediately zeroed in on Briley Piper, who was back in Alaska. He told detectives that he and two other friends, Darrell Hoadley and Elijah Page, met up with Chester Poage at his home, where they played video games. At some point during the game play, they decided to leave the home and tricked Chester into leaving with them and driving his car back to where they were staying.
Court records show that when they arrived, he was held at gunpoint and told to get down onto the floor, where he was kicked in the head and left unconscious. When Chester Allan Poage woke up, he found himself seated in a chair with a cord wrapped around him. Briley Piper, Darrell Hoadley, and Elijah Page made him drink a poisonous mixture made with pills, beer, and acid.
As he begged for his life and asked why they were doing this to him, Poage was repeated struck and taunted. The trio of killers then drove Chester Poage to the woods in Higgins Gulch, near Spearfish, where they made him strip down to his undershirt, socks, and shoes. Standing in 12 inches of snow in the heavily wooded area, they beat him and laughed at him for hours. Then, they attempted to drown Poage several times. At one point, he tried to escape but was unsuccessful.
The torture didn’t stop there. Chester Allan Poage was so desperate for warmth that he begged the deadly trio to let him get in his car, where he could turn on the heat. Instead, they dropped huge rocks on top of his head and left him in the icy creek, where he stayed until he finally died.
After leaving the crime scene, court records state what Darrell Hoadley, Briley Piper, and Elijah Page did next.
“They went to Poage’s house and stole numerous items. The group then drove to Hannibal, Missouri, together. There, they visited Piper’s sister, but upon her refusal to let them stay, they headed back to South Dakota. The group returned to Rapid City, South Dakota, using Poage’s ATM card for cash and pawning some of Poage’s property throughout the trip.3 Eventually, the three went their own ways.”
For their crimes, the former group of friends received the following punishments.
- Darrell Hoadley was sentenced to life in prison.
- Elijah Page was sentenced to death row and executed in 2007.
- Briley Piper was also sentenced to death row, where he is currently awaiting execution.
Before his execution, 25-year-old Elijah Page became so depressed that he decided to discontinue his appeals. Here are the details of his last meal.
- Steak with A-1 sauce
- Jalapeno poppers with cream sauce
- Onion rings
- Salad with cherry tomatoes, ham chunks, shredded cheese, bacon bits, and blue cheese and ranch dressing.
- Lemon iced tea and coffee
- Ice cream for dessert
You can watch the story unfold on Murder Among Friends tonight at 10/9 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery (ID). To get an idea of what the victim last saw and how isolated the place is, check out these two videos about the Black Hills of South Dakota. In a previous article regarding the case of Brittany Kilgore, we discussed some tips to help a person not to be lured by someone they know.
*Crime stats were provided by FBI.GOV.
[Photo by Rapid City Journal, Seth A. McConnell/AP]