The victims of the brutal murder were her mother Glenny, brother John and his friend from high school, Dana Wingate. All three were bound with electrical tape, brutally stabbed and either strangled or beaten to death. But there was one more person missing – Sheila’s twelve-year-old sister Tina, who was nowhere to be found. And that wasn’t all. Her two younger siblings Rickey and Greg were sleeping in the bedroom along with their friend Justin. Uninjured. They obviously slept through the whole incident.
The family moved into the cabin permanently a year before the tragedy. Sue had just divorced her husband, so she issued from Connecticut to Keddie in Northern Californiawhere she tried to start over. The whole family soon made friends there. They were all very sociable, so they didn’t have the slightest problem with getting to know each other.
As mentioned above, Sheila spent the night away from home. When she found that they were almost all dead, she ran back to her friend whose the father preferred to pull the boys out of the bedroom through the window so they wouldn’t have to see the bloody scene. Investigators arrived at the scene an hour later. Deputy Sheriff Hank Klement was the first to witness this carnage with his own eyes, who later commented that blood spatter was literally everywhere. Sheila’s brother John had his throat cut. His high school classmate was beaten with a blunt object. The mother was naked from the waist down and also with her throat slit.
When Tina’s body is found missing from the crime scene, she became involved in an FBI investigation. Then-Sheriff Doug Thomas was at a loss. He had no motive, therefore no suspect. He just kept going around in circles asking himself why. No one entered the cabin by force. He just hung up the phone, turned off all the lights and closed the curtains. What about the three boys who slept undisturbed in the next room? At first they claimed that they did not hear or see anything. Then two of them remembered that they saw the mother with two strange men. One had long hair and a moustache, the other a short haircut and a clean-shaven face. However, both should have had glasses. One of them was also said to be holding a hammer.
Subsequently, an argument and a fight should have taken place. The two men were to take Tina somewhere away. Although there was supposed to be enough evidence collected at the crime scene, it was more or less useless without DNA tests. Anyway, Rickey and Greg’s friend’s father and Sharp’s neighbors ended up among the accused. He was one of them an ex-convict with a strikingly similar hammer, which was stolen from him just before the murder. A little later, a knife believed to be connected to the murder was found in a rubbish bin outside a local shop. And three years later they found Tina. She was dead. At once it became a quadruple murder and a reason to sheriff’s resignation.
What really happened then? It seems the most logical the explanation is a love triangle between Sue and Justin’s friend’s parents. Justin’s father, Martin, was supposed to be having an affair with Sue. She is said to have advised his wife Marilyn to leave him when he allegedly abuses her. When Martin was supposed to find out, he called in one friend from the mafia, an enforcer, who helped him get rid of Sue. Therefore, the boys were also spared. His son was there with them. But new DNA evidence points to other possible perpetrators. How will it all turn out in the end?
Sources of information:
Wikipedia.org: Keddie Murders
Allthatsinteresting.com: The Keddie Cabin Murders – Inside The Grisly Quadruple Homicide That Still Haunts California
Queen of Czech detective stories Michaela Klevisová: I started writing at the age of 4 under the pressure of my parents