Facts Surrounding The Unsolved Keddie Cabin Murders
In 1981, a mother, two of her children, and a teen friend were strangled in the Sharp family home. The Keddie Cabin murders occurred in a remote, woodsy town in northern California. The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t know who committed the crimes or why, and the two main suspects in the case have since passed.
In 2013, the new county sheriff took a fresh look at the case. Cabin 28, where the killings took place, has since been torn down, but an old letter, a mysterious 911 call, and a found hammer keep the hope for justice alive in this highly publicized unsolved quadruple homicide.
Sue Sharp Had Just Moved To Keddie, California, With Her 5 Children
In late 1980, 36-year-old Sue Sharp moved with her five children - Johnny, 15; Shelia, 14; Tina, 12; Rick, 10; and Greg, 5 - to a 3-bedroom resort cabin in Keddie, California. Sue, a recent divorcée, was beginning to date again. The family was getting to know the neighbors and make friends in the rural Sierra Nevada community.
Even though they were scraping by on a small income, everything seemed to be going well for Sue and her children.
The Sharp Children Had Friends Over That Night, But Only One Lived
On April 11, 1981, the two youngest boys of the Sharp family, Greg and Rick, invited their neighborhood friend Justin Smartt, 12, over for a sleepover. Johnny, the eldest, had his friend, 17-year-old Dana Wingate, over as well. The youngest girl, Tina, had just come home from a playdate with friends.
Sheila spent the night at a sleepover with the Seabolts, the neighbors who lived next door in Cabin 27, and was not present when the unknown assailants entered her family’s cabin.
The Family's Surviving Daughter Found The Three Bodies
When 14-year-old Sheila Sharp came home from a sleepover on the morning of April 12th, she saw the scene from the front door: Sue, Johnny, and Dana were lying on the living room floor, dead. Shelia then raced back to her friend's cabin next door - where she spent the previous night - to find help.
The Seabolts went to the back of the cabin where the boys were sleeping. Greg, Rick, and Justin were unharmed, and the neighbors notified the police. Inside Cabin 28, blood covered the carpet and couch. The bodies had multiple wounds, and investigators determined the victims suffered blunt force trauma.
Sue was partially covered with a sheet, and the rest of the room was in a state of disarray, with cushions pulled from the couch and side tables knocked to the ground. There was no sign of Sue's daughter, Tina.
Based On The Crime Scene, Investigators Suspected Multiple Assailants
At Cabin 28, police noted that there was no sign of forced entry. Based on the scene of the crime, Plumas County investigators also determined that there was likely more than one assailant and that the crimes were committed over a period of time.
Sue was intricately bound by her legs, ankles, and wrists with medical tape and electrical cord, which was knotted so tightly she would have been unable to move. She was gagged with a bandana and her own underwear. Police also found Johnny and Dana with their ankles bound together.
Forensics showed that the killers used multiple weapons and at least two different hammers. The perpetrators hit Johnny with a rifle, which has yet to be recovered. Investigators recovered several knives from the scene, including a kitchen knife. While all the victims had lacerations, it appeared that the assailants only strangled the eldest male, Dana.
Tina Sharp Was Missing For Years
Hours after the three bodies were discovered inside the cabin, authorities realized that 12-year-old Tina Sharp was missing. Investigators believed that the assailants had taken Tina from the cabin still alive. The police, in conjunction with the FBI, conducted extensive searches for Tina, but there were no leads.
In 1984, on the third anniversary of the murders, a hunter uncovered fragments of a human skull approximately 30 miles from the Sharp’s cabin. An anonymous tip made to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office suggested investigators should check to see if the fragment belonged to Tina.
The call prompted a more thorough search of the area, and authorities found additional bone fragments. After they tested their findings, they confirmed that the skeleton belonged to Tina Sharp. The anonymous call was never documented, and in 2013, the old tape was recovered from evidence during a fresh look at the case.
The Three Youngest Boys Survived, Even Though They Were In The House
Sue, Johnny, Dana, and Tina were not alone in the house at the time of the intrusion. The two youngest boys, Greg and Rick, were sleeping in their bedroom through the entire ordeal with their neighborhood friend from Cabin 26, Justin Smartt.
Sheila and her friend's family discovered the boys in the morning. After Shelia returned to the Seabolts, the parents knocked on the boys' window, and the trio answered, completely unharmed.
The Seabolts then made the children climb out of the house through the bedroom window to spare them the horrifying sight in the living room, but the boys soon learned what happened. They reported that they hadn't been disturbed at all, except for Justin, who told investigators he had gotten up once in the night.