The year was 1981 when a crime nobody thought anyone could commit shocked America. In a small place with a population of less than a hundred, four people were brutally murdered.
The 1981 Keddie Cabin Murders
Thirty-six-year-old Glenna Sue Sharp decided to leave an abusive marriage and moved to Keddie, Plumas County, California, with her children. They traveled across the country, seeking help from friends and neighbors, before deciding to settle in Keddie, where they lived in relative poverty. Sue was often described as a quiet woman who loved her kids.
On the night of April 11, 1981, the Sharp family, who lived in cabin 28 in Keddie Resort Lodge, went to sleep in peace. One of the children, Sheila Sharp, slept at a different cabin, with a friend who lived just next door.
The following morning, the young lady went to their cabin—only to find the dead bodies of her mother, brother, and her brother’s friend. The victims were mother Sue, fifteen-year-old Johnny Sharp, and his 17-year-old friend Dana Wingate.
All three victims were bound by an electrical wiring. Found in the scene were a bent steak knife, a butcher knife with blood all over it, and a clawhammer.
The fourth victim was Sheila’s twelve-year-old sister, Tina, whose remains were missing from cabin 28 and were found in a different county, 50 miles from the scene of the crime—three years later.
Scroll down for the video
What makes the Keddie cabin murders notorious is the fact that it has always been shrouded in mystery and secrecy. One of the inexplicable pieces of the story is that the morning the bodies were found, Sheila discovered that her younger brothers, five-year-old Greg and ten-year-old Rick, as well as their friend Justin Smartt were actually in the same cabin, asleep and safe. How the three kids slept through the whole event, which would have created all kinds of sound, nobody knows.
At the time of the murder, the police named two suspects: Marty Smartt, the father of Justin, and his roommate, Bo Boubede. Bo was believed to have moved in with Marty Smartt shortly before the murders.
Marty was reportedly an abusive husband to his wife, Marilyn. And Sue, a mother and abused wife herself, would often counsel Marilyn on her marriage. When Marty found out about this, he went ballistic. This, many would believe, was the reason he took the lives of the Sharps and Wingate.
Authorities believed the murders couldn’t be done by one person, so Marty’s roommate, Bo, was thrown into the case as an accomplice.
Strangely enough, the investigation suddenly stopped. Plumas County sheriff Doug Thomas, who led the investigation, changed jobs and has since retired.
It’s the quadruple murder that shook the country in 1981, but thirty-seven years later, it remains unsolved. Five years ago, the case of the Keddie cabin murders was reopened by current Plumas county sheriff Greg Hagwood and investigator Mike Gamberg. But the pieces of evidence they found, although strong, only gave birth to more questions than answers. Hagwood believes that there are at least six people who know more about the case than what they’ve only said about it, all of whom are alive but chose to remain silent.
What exactly happened that night, why they were murdered, why Tina’s body was found only three years later, why the three boys who were sleeping in the same cabin were spared—these are only four of the countless questions that are yet to be answered.
For now, the Keddie cabin murders will stay as a piece of history we could only hope will never be repeated.