This is the crime which the movie “The Strangers” is loosely based on, though this true story is much more terrifying than any movie could ever be. It is, without a doubt, the most terrifying case I’ve ever researched in my life, and the killers are still out there.
On April 11th of 1981 in Keddie, California, a newly single mother of 5 named Glenna “Sue” Sharp and children were attacked in the middle of the night.
It appears that Sue had been asleep in bed with her beautiful 12 year old daughter, Tina, when the attack began as her glasses were left on the bedside table; there were no signs of forced entry. Sue and Tina were forced out into the living room where the murders took place.
Sue’s oldest son, 15 year old John and his friend, 17 year old Dana Wingate were also attacked. The boys has been out that night, it is speculated they must’ve walked into the dark cabin during the attack. Sue’s 2 youngest boys, 5 year old Greg and 10 year old Rick, along with their 13 year old neighbor buddy, Justin Eason, who had been staying over for the night were all in a bedroom at the back of the cabin. It is believed that the boys, especially Justin, witnessed everything but were and still are too afraid to tell of what occurred that night. The Keddie police, at that time, were dirty. When the boys were found, they had barricaded themselves in the bedroom.
We know that it was a group of attackers, at least 3; police who are investigating the case today are saying they have evidence that 6 were involved. Sue, John, and Dana were each bound with tape and phone wire which the killers had taken from Sue’s bedroom.
The victims were beaten with 2 different sized hammers, and stabbed with a 7 inch butcher knife. The attack was so brutal, the knife blade was bent completely backwards.
We know that at some point Dana was able to break free. He ran for the back door but someone was waiting outside; this person or persons captured Dana and brought him back inside. Dana was not the target, he caught the least of the abuse; the oldest teen boy was bludgeoned and strangled manually. Sue and John were beaten, stabbed, and slashed. Sue was also beaten with the butt of a pellet rifle, and that rifle was fired at least once that night.
It’s believed that the attack began before midnight, and it lasted until nearly dawn. These people were absolutely tortured. There were knife holes in the living room walls, at about eye level. It’s speculated that the victims were stood against the wall and knives were thrown at them.
Sue’s neighbors lived in very close proximity, the cabins were not far apart at all yet nobody claimed to have heard a thing that night. However neighbors do remember that the lights in cabin 28 were off all night long. Let that sink in: a mother and her children were tortured and murdered for several hours in complete darkness.
Though neighbor Justin claimed to have seen nothing, there were bloody foot prints which belonged to him; it’s theorized that he, and possibly one or both of Sue’s younger boys, were forced to participate in the murder of their own family. I’ve often wondered if they were forced to throw knives at the victims, maybe Justin had to do more to save his own life. Think about it; if you make a person an accomplice, and that person knows the police are dirty, they are much more likely to keep their silence.
Tina was merely 12 years old; she is described as stunningly gorgeous, super sweet, and “slow”. Her trusting nature was definitely taken taken advantage of; Tina had been molested more than once, by more than one person. She was not murdered in the cabin that night, this beautiful girl was kidnapped. It’s rumored that Tina had recently come up pregnant, and maybe that’s why she was taken. While that is speculation, her kidnappers did allow her to bring along a school project in a shoe box which she’d be working on, and her red jacket. Tina was likely forced to witness the demise of her family. Mother Sue’s corpse had been covered, which very well may have been Tina’s doing; maybe the last thing the girl did before leaving the cabin with her captors.
Around 7:45 the next morning, Sue’s oldest daughter, 14 year old Sheila, came home. She’d stayed the night with a neighbor and was only planning to run in and grab some beauty items so she could accompany her neighbors to church. As soon as Sheila opened the front door she saw the grisly scene; the teen ran right back outside to call for help.
The neighbor Sheila had been staying with called police, but before they arrived Sheila discovered that her brother were alive. She helped Greg, Rick, and Justin escape through their bedroom window.
Originally, police believed the murdered victims to be Sue, John, and Tina; the bodies had been in such bad shape they couldn’t tell. Justin was the one who told police that Tina wasn’t dead, she was gone; Dana was the third victim. Had Justin not been a witness, how in the world would he know this?
Why take Tina? Had she fallen prey to a sex ring? Had someone been obsessed with her, maybe hoping to keep her? It’s also thought by some that Tina may have been planning to run away with her killers that night. Had she been waiting for someone, ready with her tennis shoes and red jacket on, her special shoe box project ready to go when she allowed them to come in? This is all speculation, but it would explain why there was no forced entry.
In 1984 police received an anonymous tip telling them where to look for Tina’s remains; a few pieces of her skull were found near a place called Feather Falls approximately 60 miles away from Keddie. There was no way to tell how the girl had passed, or even know for sure how long she’d been dead. Many believe that she was kept alive for several months, possibly longer, before she was murdered.
It is believed that the ringleaders were Sue’s neighbors, Martin Smartt and his known mafia hitman buddy, Bo Boubede. Marty’s wife, Marilyn, is also believed to have been involved. Marilyn and Sue were acquaintances, and on the night of the murders these 3 stopped by to ask Sue to come drinking with them. Sue turned them down, she stayed home with her babies instead. It’s thought that Marty had eyes for Sue and Marilyn was jealous; this may have been why she was killed.
Keddie’s then sheriff, Doug Thomas, was great pals with Marty. This explains why the case was never solved, it certainly was not due to lack of evidence. Marty practically confessed on tape yet nothing was ever done to him; the case was terribly mishandled, seemingly on purpose.
You may have already wondered why the killers would have left 3 boys alive who could easily identify them, especially since these murders prove that they had no problem with hurting children. There’s a very good reason for this: Justin was Marilyn’s son, Marty’s step son. Was Justin forced to open the door for his parents that night? Was he planted there? We will likely never know.
As far as Justin today, he has moved away and lives a very quiet life. He was determined to write a tell-all book a few years back, but has since changed his mind; he remains tight lipped, and it seems he is too frightened to tell what happened. But he’s not alone; it appears that much of the town knew what happened, but no one is saying a word. Sue’s three surviving children seem to be doing well. The 2 boys claim not to remember anything, maybe they’ve blocked it all out.
There is now a new sheriff in town, and the police dept is actively working on this case, after all these years. Though the Cabin has been torn down, there have been new discoveries. Recently one of the missing murder weapons has been found, a hammer. Law enforcement is claiming they have 6 suspects, and they working on arrests.
Sadly, many of the suspected killers are long gone: Marty, John “Bo” Boubede, and Marilyn have all passed away. The police have stated that there were 6 involved, so there is still a chance for justice. It also means that people capable of something this heinous are still free.
Now, we must talk a bit about Sue’s character. She’d left an abusive marriage with 5 children, and moved to a new area all on her own. That must’ve been difficult. The mother was financially broke, and she had been in desperate need of help; Sue had been on food stamps, she received money from the government every month, and was going back to school in order to make a better life for her kids. Nothing shameful there, not in my eyes, but people in her neighborhood definitely begged to differ. She was not home all the time and she didn’t have anyone to physically help her; Sue’s children were often on their own and many of the women, including the one who Sheila had stayed with that night, though very poorly of the single mother. She was also considered a great beauty, which was another strike against her. There are rumors that she was dealing drugs and all sorts of crazy things, which is all just character assassination as there’s zero proof that any of it is true. It is truly shameful that something so outrageously horrific can occur and people talk smack about the innocent victim this way. But maybe that’s how the townspeople justified keeping this horrible secret? She was not born and raised in the small town of Keddie; Sue had been an outsider, a leech, a bad mother so she and her babies deserved what they got?
One more scary fact before I call it quits. For reasons unknown, on the evening of the murders Sue had gone door to door throughout the neighborhood trying to find random children to have a slumber party at her house. It’s said that she’d seemed anxious, desperate. This was out of character for her, but it would be out of the ordinary for anyone, wouldn’t it? Had she known that something was wrong? Did she have a bad feeling in her gut? Had she believed that having a houseful of neighborhood children would save her life?
This article is by no means all inclusive, so very much has been left out. We could sit here for days going over details, but this is the gist of it. Its one of those rabbit hole cases in which you could get lost for weeks; there are so many more details, so many more suspects. Keddie is, without a doubt, my favorite to research and I am very interested in discussing it. If you care to learn more, this site has the most information:
There is a 2 part documentary on this case, it is on YouTube. Unless you are very familiar with this case, the docs will be confusing. Trust me on this, you’re gonna wanna watch part 2 first, then watch part one.
Part 2 (WATCH FIRST)
Part 1(WATCH SECOND)