Best Friend Killers: What Happened to Skylar Neese?

July 30, 2014
On July 6, 2012, 16-year-old Skylar Neese was stabbed to death by her two best friends, Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf. Six months later, Rachel confessed to police and led them to Skylar’s remains. Sheilia continued to plead not guilty — until January 2014, when she finally admitted her part in the brutal murder. Both teens claimed they killed Skylar because they “didn’t want to be friends with her anymore” — but was that their real motive? And, who was the mastermind behind the plot? Dr. Phil sits down with Sklylar’s parents, Dave and Mary, who say they’re struggling to comprehend what happened to their little girl. How can they heal after such a horrific tragedy? And, how could Shelia — who had been friends with Skylar since she was 8 — and Rachel commit such a heinous crime? Hear from Shelia’s cousin, who says Shelia isn’t the monster that people say she is. And, friends of Rachel’s family weigh in. Were there any red flags they say they missed? Then, a close friend of Shelia and Skylar claims she knows the real reason behind the murder. Does Skylar’s journal entry confirm her suspicions?

More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Fortunately, you can help. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. And, help Dr. Phil raise enough money for 10 million meals. Donate today!

Skylar Neese, Shelia Eddy and Rachel ShoafMary, Skylar's motherDave, Skylar's fatherCrissy, Shelia's cousinShania, Shelia and Skylar's friendKim and Kelly, friends of Rachel's familyCole Bartiromo, news bloggerDaleen Berry, co-author of The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese

A Chilling Murder

Skylar Neese, 16, disappeared from her Sky City, West Virginia, home in July 2012. Security cameras captured her getting into a car near her bedroom window. Skylar’s friend, Shelia Eddy, 16, claimed that she and Rachel Shoaf picked Skylar up, and they went for a drive but brought her back an hour later. Six months passed before there was a major break in the case: Rachel Shoaf, 16, confessed that she and Shelia drove Skylar to a remote location and stabbed her to death. Unable to dig a hole to bury the body, Rachel told police they covered Skylar's body with branches.
Rachel pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in 10 years. Shelia continued to plead not guilty until January 2014, when she finally pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Skylar’s parents, Dave and Mary, are still struggling to understand how this tragedy happened — especially at the hands of her two friends. “Shelia was her best friend,” Dave says. “Skylar first met Shelia when both of them were about 8 years old.”

“They called each other sisters, always saying, ‘We’re sisters forever,’” Mary says. “You could hardly get them apart. They were in school all day together, talked on the phone all night.”

“We started having weird feelings about Shelia from the time she moved here,” Dave says. “Shelia felt like she was the center of universe. If it didn’t involve her, she didn’t care about it.”

“Of course, you can’t pick your child’s friends, so we just tried to accept her,” Mary says. “Shelia more or less controlled every move Skylar made. I did not know Rachel near as well as Shelia. Rachel just came to their school and into their lives. Seemed like an all-around happy teenager to me.”

“They were always together. I never even vaguely thought Skylar would’ve ever been in danger,” Dave says.

Dave and Mary recall the moment they realized their daughter was missing and how they learned who was responsible.

Skylar's parents recall details of Rachel’s confession that still haunt them.

Shelia’s Cousin Speaks Out

Shelia’s cousin, Crissy, speaks out about who she believes masterminded the crime. “She isn’t a psycho.”

Dr. Phil reviews a tweet that Shelia posted a month before she was arrested — a year and a half after the murder. It reads, “We really did go on three.” Dr. Phil notes that the police report detailed that they had signals for when to start stabbing, and they allegedly counted to three.

On Facebook, Shelia posted messages like “Want my best friend back” and “All I want is for my best friend to come home. I wish I knew something to give the police a lead or so she can come home but I don’t know anything. I’d do anything to have her home right now, and I wish I knew something like everybody thinks I do. Come home Skylar, it’s been five weeks too long. I miss and love you.”

Dr. Phil says, “If you want to look up the definition of what’s now called the anti-social personality, which was historically called psychopath and sociopath, this kind of manipulation, this lack of empathy, this lack of consciousness, this lack of remorse is right down the pike.”

The Real Motive?

Shania, a close friend of Shelia and Skylar, explains her theory on why they killed Skylar.

Mary explains that she read an entry in Skylar’s journal that confirms Shania’s theory — that Skylar witnessed something sexual between Shelia and Rachel.
“It’s a possible motive as to why they killed her,” Shania says.

Dr. Phil explains that producers reached out to Shelia’s attorney, and their calls and emails have not been returned. He reiterates that Shania’s claims are allegations.

Friends of Rachel’s Family

Kelly says she's known Rachel since the day she was born and watched her grow up. She says Rachel was a happy child and a delight to be around, but she changed when she became a teenager. “I met Shelia and Skylar once, for Rachel’s 15th birthday. These girls were delightful, but that’s the night I later learned they sneaked out, and I think Shelia and Skylar were used to sneaking out, and Rachel never got to do anything like that, so now all of a sudden, that became a cool thing to do. She was a handful for a single mother. I know they got into arguments. She pushed every limit that teenagers do. I realized that Rachel was going to be trouble.”

Kelly says the day Skylar was reported missing, Rachel and her mother joined her on a boat on the lake. “Rachel didn’t act any different. She just was glued to her phone all day. I guess she was texting Shelia, trying to find out what was going on.” Kelly says she questioned Rachel repeatedly about Skylar’s disappearance, and Rachel denied having anything to do with it. Kelly says she was shocked when she opened up a newspaper and saw the headline with the word “guilty” and Rachel’s picture. “I don’t get where Rachel ever thought it was OK to kill someone. How in the world did the devil get a hold of Rachel? God bless her. God bless them both, having to live with that,” she says.

Kim says she lived next door to Rachel and considers herself to be a second mom to the teen. She says she witnessed Rachel's mental breakdown that led to her confession. Kim says there was a physical altercation, and Rachel tried hitting her mother with a lit candelabra. “She locked herself in her bedroom, pushed her dresser up against the door, and started screaming that she wanted to die,” she remembers.

“So, at this point, she was showing very violent behavior,” Dr. Phil says.

“Scary violent,” Kim says.

“She showed extreme violent tendencies after the fact,” Kelly says.

Dr. Phil shows a photo of Kelly and Rachel on the lake, the day after Skylar's murder. “She’s just all smiles on the lake,” he says.

“She didn’t act any different,” Kelly says.

Kim says investigators found Rachel’s diary, and there was an entry the day after the murder that said something like, “God, help me. What happened that night is between you and I. Please forgive me for all these lies.”

Digging Deeper

News blogger Cole Bartiromo says he was determined to get answers. “Nobody believed that Rachel and Shelia killed Skylar because they didn’t want to be friends with her. The fact that the whole town seemed to know who the killers were, and they were still roaming free — that was diabolical to me,” he says. “We exposed Shelia Eddy long before anyone else was willing to. Shelia and Rachel, we started looking deep into their social media, and there just seemed to be an excessive amount of sexually suggestive pictures and innuendos that there was something going on between Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy. I don’t think justice has been served.”

What happened to the murder weapons? And, was there a sex tape with Rachel and Shelia? Hear audio recordings left by an anonymous informant, reportedly related to one of the killers. And, Dave and Mary react.

Skylar’s parents share memories of their daughter. And, how do they move on from such a tragic loss?

Dr. Phil asks Skylar’s parents, “If Shelia and Rachel are watching this show, what do want to say to those two?”

“You’re both very sick. You are both where you need to be, and I hope you both get help, because you sure need it,” Dave says.

“I would just like to ask them why,” Mary says.
“Everybody grieves in a different way. Please love and support each other through this,” Dr. Phil tells them. He explains that there may be days when one of them is struggling more than the other, and it’s important to accept each other’s place in their grief and help them get through it. “Never think that the length and breadth of your grief reflects the depth and breadth of your love. Because people who grieve for a year don’t love more than people who grieve for six months, or love less than people who grieve for two years. It’s different for everybody.”

Dayleen Berry is the co-author of The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese: The Truth Behind the Headlines. She says she believes this story should serve as a warning for parents to know who their children’s friends are.