Parents of murdered teen call off protest
STAR CITY, W.Va. — The parents of a 16-year-old West Virginia girl who authorities say was stabbed to death nearly a year ago by her best friends canceled plans to protest on Monday outside the office of a Pennsylvania coroner after receiving assurances they will be able to see her body in about a week.
Dave Neese said the Monongalia County prosecutor's office called him and persuaded him to call off the protest. Neese said his daughter Skylar will be returned to West Virginia when all the paperwork and formalities are completed. West Virginia State Police will then arrange for him and his wife, Mary, to see her body.
“I'm kind of nervous,” he said, sighing deeply as he thought about what it will mean to see the girl who slipped quietly out the window of her ground-floor bedroom last July 6 and never came home. “It's going to be very emotional, for sure ... I have no words to describe how it feels. It's just horrible.”
The Neeses were frustrated and confused about why Greene County Coroner Gregory Rohanna wouldn't give them access to their daughter's body. Skylar's remains had been in the custody of the FBI at Quantico, Va., from the time they were found in January until about a week ago, when the couple says they were returned to the county coroner with jurisdiction over the case.
Dave Neese said he heard several different reasons why Rohanna could not release the body or let him see it. “We were told whatever was released back to them isn't evidence anyway,” he said, “so what's the problem?”
Neese said he accepts — for now — the prosecutor's explanation that releasing the body takes time and paperwork.
Sixteen-year-old Rachel Shoaf has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, telling a judge she stabbed the victim in a remote part of Wayne Township.
Shoaf admitted planning the murder with another friend whose case remains in juvenile court. Skylar Neese was an honors student at University High School, and her father said the three girls were close.
But Shoaf, police and prosecutors have all refused to offer a motive for the attack.