Many murders have served as the inspiration for movies, but few crimes are as brutal and inexplicable as the 1981 murder that inspired the film, The Strangers. The Keddie Cabin murders occurred in a remote, woodsy town in California. A mother, two of her children, and a family friend were tortured and strangled in their home. Keddie police never discovered who committed the murders or why; however, the grisly scene of the crime tells a long and horrifying story with a gruesome ending.
Perhaps the most unnerving part of this 1981 slaying is that investigators never identified any suspects or possible provocation for the killing. The murder was intricate, detailed, and exacting. It took the lives of four people and is still being investigated to this day. The cabin where the killings took place has since been torn down, but an old letter, a mysterious 911 call, and a found hammer keep the intrigue and hope for justice in this horrible homicide alive.
The Family's Surviving Daughter Found The Three Dead Bodies
When 14-year-old Sheila Sharp came home from a sleepover on the morning of April 12th, she immediately ran screaming from her house. She raced back to her friend's cabin where she spent the previous night to find help. The group found the bodies of Sue, Johnny, and Dana lying on the living room floor.
Blood covered the carpet and couch, and the neighbors quickly called police. The bodies had multiple stab wounds, and their heads had been bludgeoned. 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.
Some Of The Family Members Were Bound And Tortured
At the scene of the crime, police noted that the killers took their time carrying out the murders. 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. Johnny and Dana were found with their ankles bound together.
The killers used multiple weapons; the murderers bludgeoned Johnny with a rifle, which has yet to be recovered. They also stabbed Johnny in the neck and hit him with multiple hammers. Forensics showed that the killers used at least two different hammers on the bodies. Investigators recovered several knives from the scene, including a kitchen knife that was used to stab the victims with so much force that it bent. The victims were also manually strangled, meaning that their cause of death was not the savage beatings they endured.
Tina Sharp Was Missing For Years
Shortly after the three bodies were discovered inside the cabin, authorities realized that Tina Sharp was missing. At only 12 years old, she was the youngest daughter in the family. The police began to search for Tina, but as the case dragged on, and no one was arrested, the hunt halted.
Then, in 1984, the fragment of a human skull was discovered nearly 30 miles from the Keddie cabin where the Sharps were killed. On the third anniversary of the murder, police received a mysterious call suggesting that they 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 Two 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 homicide. The two youngest boys, Greg and Rick, were sleeping peacefully in their bedroom with their friend Justin through the entire murder. Sheila and her friend's family discovered the boys in the morning. They knocked on the boys' window, and they answered, completely unharmed.
Sheila made the children climb out of the house through the bedroom window to spare them the horrifying sight of the bloody murders, but the boys soon learned what happened. They reported that they hadn't been disturbed at all that night, except for Justin who had apparently gotten up once although it is unclear based on his testimony if he witnessed the murder or blurred the events into a dream. The three boys were only in the five to 12-year-old age range, but it does seem shocking that they slept so soundly while a horrifying murder happened just one room over.