These Disturbing Murders In Northern California Are So Creepy They Inspired A Movie
The words “Based on a true story” at the beginning of a horror movie should always be taken with a grain of salt. Often times, the words are put there to make the story seem more credible, and therefore more horrific. However, every once in awhile a movie really is based off of factual events. In this case, the 2008 film
The Strangers is believed to have been inspired by the awful murders that took place right here in Northern California during the 80s. If you were living in the region during this time, it’s likely you know all about these disturbing murders. The event gained national attention at the time and public interest of the case has recently been renewed because of the admission of new evidence. These murders happened decades ago, but they are still just as mind-boggling as the day that they happened.
On the night of April 11, 1981, a horrific event would occur in the rural resort town of Keddie in the Sierra Nevada. Four victims were killed in cold blood and the case remains unsolved to this day. The murders are still considered one of the most terrible crimes to occur in Northern California, and the story is bound to chill you to the bone.
The murders tooks place in Cabin 28 of the Keddie Resort. There were four victims: Sue Sharp, her son John, her daughter Tina, and John's friend Dana. Tina was just 12 years old, John was 15, and Dana was 16.
Sue began renting out Cabin 28 at the Keddie Resort in 1980 when she relocated to Northern California after separating from her husband. She brought along John and Tina, as well as her two younger sons, Rick and Greg, and 14-year-old daughter Sheila. On the night of April 11, Sheila left the cabin to spend the night with the Seabolt family who lived in a cabin across from them. Sheila would be the one to discover the bodies of her mom, brother, and Dana when she returned the next morning around 7:00 am. The two younger boys, along with their friend Justin (age 12), were found safe in their bedroom.
The murders of Sue, John, and Dana were noted as especially vicious. Two bloody knives and one hammer were found at the scene.
It was later determined that all three died of blunt-force trauma and multiple knife wounds. All three of them had been bound with adhesive tape and wire, as well. Tina's body was missing from the scene. Her remains wouldn't be found until April 22, 1984 near Feather Falls in Butte County. By this time, it would be impossible to determine cause of death on her body. However, it's generally believed that she was murdered by the same individuals who killed Sue, John, and Dana. It's unknown why she was taken from the cabin.
The police never found who performed these heinous murders. However, there were two main suspects in the case: Martin Smartt (a neighbor) and his friend John "Bo" Boubede.
On the night of the murders, Martin's wife Marilyn awoke to the two men burning something in a wood stove. Additionally, Martin offered several "clues" to police officers that seemed to purposely throw suspicion away from him, like the fact that a claw-hammer had recently gone missing from his home.
Later, Justin (who happened to be Martin's step-son) would tell officers that he witnessed the murders taking place. According to him, he saw Sue in the living room with two men. John and Dana then entered the cabin and began arguing with the men, leading into violence. Tina entered the room during the altercation and was taken out of the cabin by one of the men. Justin described the appearances of the men but did not identify them.
Most recently, in 2016, a hammer matching Martin's description was found in a local pond.
In an article published by
The Sacramento Bee about the found hammer, it was also detailed how Martin left for Reno shortly after the murders. From there, he wrote a letter to his wife in which he stated "I have paid the price of your love and now I've bought it with four people's lives". The letter was never admitted as evidence.
Today, the horrific case of the Keddie murders remains unsolved. However, with the discovery of new evidence (the hammer) and renewed public interest thanks to several recent documentaries about the crime, it's possible we could see an official close to this case at some point. We can only hope that it will be soon.
Did you know the story behind these disturbing murders? This case has gone unsolved for way too long. Our state has definitely had its fair share of awful murders. Do you know the story behind
The Serial Killer Who Terrorized A Northern California City?
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