One of my guilty pleasures is watching crime TV shows. I love a good episode of Dateline. A few months ago, I watched the Dateline episode on the disappearance and murder of Skylar Neese, a West Virginia teenager. Skylar was stabbed by her friends Shelia Eddy and Rachel Shoaf. The only thing more shocking than Shelia and Rachel’s ability to cover up the crime and carry on their lives for several months was that they (vaguely) tweeted about it. Shelia went so far as to post how much she missed her best friend, even though she was the one responsible! The tweets are still posted.
This month, Holly Millea took a deep dive into the case for Elle magazine in “Trial by Twitter,” attempting to decipher the cryptic tweets posted by the girls. One theory posed by Dateline but not by Millea was that Skylar discovered a lesbian relationship between Shelia and Rachel and threatened to out them. Unfortunately, we’ll never know the truth. There’s also a book out, Pretty Little Killers, about the case. (Fun fact: in the Pretty Little Liars books, a TV movie is made about the girls titled Pretty Little Killer.)
Another case that made the news a few months ago was that of Charity Johnson, a 34-year-old woman who was exposed after posing as a needy teenager and attending high school. I remember seeing a Law & Order episode very similar to this case in which a young woman who ages out of foster care is exposed for lying about her age. After reading the news stories as well as Buzzfeed’s lengthy piece on Charity, “Forever Young,” by Katie J.M. Baker, I’m equally sympathetic towards Charity and astonished that she was able to lie about her age for so long.
What longreads are on your radar this month?