Morgantown, WV – Two girls have been charged with the grisly death of an honor student, a classmate at University High School who was presumed missing until her body was found several months later in another state.
The community never truly believed 16-year-old Skylar Neese was a runaway. The straight-A student just disappeared one night last summer, on the eve of July 6, 2012, and wasn't seen again until her remains were recovered in Wayne Township, Pennsylvania, in January, about 40 miles from her family's home in Star City.
Surprising details emerged when one of Skylar's so-called friends later admitted to luring her from the apartment in the middle of the night, stabbing her to death, and disposing of her body under some branches in Pennsylvania with the aid of an accomplice.
A released transcript of a plea hearing revealed that 16-year-old Rachel Shoaf, a friend and fellow student of Skylar's, confessed that she and another girl carried out a plan to kill Skylar. On January 3, Shoaf told authorities where to find the body, but investigators did not officially confirm the id on the remains until March.
Surveillance captured Skylar getting into a vehicle at the end of her street the night she went missing. Authorities surmise the girl intended to return because she left willingly, without obvious signs of fear or physical persuasion, and with no money or her contact lenses. When Skylar didn't return, it was suggested she ran away – but again, it was odd that she left without taking anything significant.
That night the girls drove together to Wayne. The suspects pretended to socialize with the victim and carried out their plan – stabbing and leaving Skylar behind. Unable to bury her after, the perpetrators concealed the body with branches.
The calculated brutality of the plot shocked the community – as the girls who committed the slaying were garish enough to comfort Skylar's mother and aid in the search effort, according to the Huffington Post.
Shoaf pled guilty to second-degree murder as an adult in Monongalia County Circuit Court on May 1 and awaits sentencing. Her accomplice's identity has been concealed due to juvenile confidentiality.
It's unclear how long the three girls had been friends or just how close they were. There is also no clear explanation of a motive behind the murder. Prosecutors plan to recommend a 20-year prison sentence. But Shoaf could get as many as 40 years under the law.
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