In 1980, Sue Sharp made up her mind to leave her allegedly abusive husband.
She took her five children, whose ages ranged from five to 15, and moved them to the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The family made a new home in a wooden cabin in the resort town of Keddie.
The setting was idyllic. But just a few months later, Sue, her oldest son and her son’s friend would be found brutally murdered in their cabin, and Sue’s youngest daughter would have vanished.
It was April 11, 1981, and the Sharp kids had plans.
Fourteen-year-old Sheila was spending the night with the Seabolt family in the cabin next door.
John, 15, and his friend Dana Wingate had gone to the nearby town of Quincy to catch up with friends, but were planning to be home later that night.
Mum Sue was looking after Tina, 12, Rick, 10, Greg, five, and their friend Justin Eason, who was sleeping over.
At 7:45am the next day, Sheila arrived home from the Seabolts. She opened the front door of her family’s cabin to a scene of horror.
The bodies of her mother, John and Dana lay on the floor. They’d been attacked so brutally that the ceiling was spattered with blood. Rick, Greg and Justin were asleep in a bedroom. Tina was nowhere to be found.
Sheila ran back to the Seabolts’ cabin. The Seabolts helped the three boys out of the bedroom window so that they wouldn’t have to see the bodies. Police arrived soon afterwards.
All three victims had been bound, and Sue had been gagged with her own underpants.
They’d been hit on the head with a hammer, and they’d been stabbed. Sue and John’s throats had been cut and Sue had also been hit on the head by a rifle. Dana had been strangled.
The only items missing from the house were Tina’s shoes and jacket, and a box of tools.
The police were told that Tina was missing, but it was several hours they took this information seriously and began a search.
No trace of her could be found.
At first it was believed that the three young boys had slept through the whole thing, but then police found blood on the inside doorknob of the bedroom that they were sleeping in.