In November 2016, the true crime show People Magazine Investigates released an episode dedicated to reexamining the Keddie murders. Several new pieces of evidence and information came to light, which may, in time, help to finally crack this enduring cold case.
First, though the primary suspects in the slayings, Marty Smarrt and Bo Boubede, are now deceased, new details continue to emerge that suggest their culpability. Apparently, Smartt was angry that Sue Sharp had been interfering in his marriage. After the murders, he wrote a letter to his wife Marilyn, which was only discovered after the case was reopened in 2013:
“I’ve paid the price of your love & now that I’ve bought it with four peoples lives, you tell me we are through … Great! What else do you want?”
Though Marilyn claims she never received the letter, and was only made aware of it by the authorities, she confirmed Smartt’s handwriting.
Even more potentially incriminating is a therapist in Reno, Nevada, to whom Smartt allegedly confessed to the killings. This confession was never used by investigators in trying to bring charges against Smartt.
The final bizarre piece of information neglected by the authorities at the time of the crime? A recording of the 911 call placed by the anonymous caller who alerted authorities to the location of Tina’s remains. Shockingly, the record shows that the caller knew the remains belonged to Tina before the police confirmed it with dental records.
Though the investigation of the crime at the time it was committed was—suspiciously—shoddy, there is new hope that the current authorities may be able to grant the Sharps justice once and for all.
The Full Story Of The Massacre In The Cabin 28
On the night of April 11, 1981, three victims—a mother, her adolescent son, and the son’s friend—were bludgeoned to death in a California cabin while children slept soundly in an adjacent room. A fourth victim—the mother’s 12-year-old daughter—vanished in the night, her remains found years later and many miles away.
The slayings are chilling enough, and are made all the more unsettling by the fact that they remain unsolved, leading some to suspect a police cover-up.
Glenna Sharp—who went by the name Sue—had been renting Cabin 28 in the tiny community of Keddie, California since November of 1980. She lived there with her five children. On the night of the murders, Sue was at home while her two youngest sons and one of their friends played in an adjacent room. Tina, Sue’s youngest daughter, returned home around 10 o’clock, after an evening of watching television with the neighbors in Cabin 27.
The following morning, Sue’s oldest daughter Sheila came home after a night spent with friends. Upon entering, she discovered three bodies on the living room floor of Cabin 28.
The bodies belonged to Sue, John, and Dana. A search of the premises revealed the boys still in their room, alive and unharmed. With the help of neighbors, Sheila removed the three children. The fourth victim, 12-year-old daughter Tina, was nowhere to be found.
Sue Sharp, John, and Dana met a decidedly violent end. Their bodies were bound with medical tape and appliance wire; they had been stabbed, bludgeoned, and strangled to death. Examinations revealed that the victims suffered blows from at least two different hammers of varying sizes, and Sue and John had been stabbed repeatedly. Sue had also been bludgeoned with a Daisy Powerline 880 rifle, while Dana Wingate was strangled to death by hand.
Various weapons were found at the scene, including a table knife, a butcher knife, and a bloody hammer. Other weapons—including the Daisy rifle—were never recovered. Some evidence, such as a second bloody knife, turned up in a trash bin behind the Keddie general store.
Several suspects were named in the case, including Marty Smartt, a close friend of the local sheriff, and “Bo” Boubede, a supposed hitman for the Chicago and Las Vegas mobs. Many of the suspects were said to have been former romantic partners or spurned paramours of Sue Sharp. Despite considerable evidence and police questioning, no arrests were made.
In 1984, part of a skull was found 29 miles away near Camp Eighteen in neighboring Butte County. An anonymous phone call placed to the Butte County Sheriff’s office claimed that the skull belonged to Tina Sharp. The phone call prompted a thorough examination of the area, revealing a jawbone and several other bones. The fragments were eventually determined to belong to young Tina.
In 2004, Cabin 28 was demolished along with several other condemned buildings on the grounds. While theorists postulate possible mob connections and police complicity in the killings, the complete facts in the case may never be known. The strange Keddie murders remain unsolved to this day.