The Disturbing Murders at Keddie Cabin


(suspenseful music) – [Shane] What do you suppose is in here? – [Ryan] I’m not looking in there. – Want me to look in there? What is it? – I don’t know what the fuck that is. This week on BuzzFeed Unsolved, we discuss the horrifying
Keddie Cabin murders. We’re actually gonna go
visit the former site of the Keddie Cabin which was cabin 28. It’s been since demolished. Strap in ’cause this one is rough. Yeah, this is gross. – I’m aware of some details of this, and it’s yucky. – That’s something a toddler says when they don’t want to eat. Like, if they have squash on their plate. – It’s also something an adult says about a gruesome, gruesome murder. – I guess so. Let’s get into it. On April 12, 1981, in Keddie, California, the Sharp family and some
friends went to sleep in cabin 28 in the Keddie Resort Lodge. What occurred next would shock the county and is a crime that is still
actively being worked on today. Four people sleeping in the
house were brutally murdered. So right now we’re approaching Keddie, the site of this horrible murder. Worth noting, it’s a town of 66 people. Not a gambling man, but I
don’t really like those odds. – Because they’ve never
caught this person? Is that the (trails off). – Yeah, so we could
conceivably run into this guy, you know, taking a dump
in the woods something. – Are we gonna stop into town and tell them what we’re doing? – No, I’m not gonna stop into town and tell them what we’re doing. Are you fucking out of your mind? I’m starting to think you want to die. (suspenseful music) Which way do I go? Left, oh boy, I think this is it. (suspenseful music) I can’t imagine this is
debris from the house. The house was demolished
around 10 years ago because there were
squatters and people like us that would come in side the house and try and stay overnight. Shit, maybe this is from the house. ‘Cause it looks like the
bottoms of the foundation. Oh Jesus Christ, dude. Look at that. It’s tile from the bathroom
right there it looks like. – [Shane] (laughs) You
really turned a corner on that one pretty quick. – Yeah but I didn’t see it up close until, oh my God! It’s fucking horrifying. – There’s an elk though. There’s a deer over there. – [Ryan] But there’s the
remains and the rubble of one of the greatest
unsolved mysteries of all time and you’re looking at the
fucking deer in the forest. As mentioned before, four
people were killed in Keddie. Three of which were found
dead inside Cabin 28. Their bodies were found by Sheila Sharp, who unlike the rest of her family, had slept at a friend’s cabin next door. Sheila found the bodies
of her mother, Sue Sharp, her 15 year old brother, Johnny Sharp, and Johnny’s 17 year old
friend, Dana Wingate. Sheila’s 12 year old sister, Tina, was missing from the scene, but her remains would be
found at a different time. A fact that we’ll touch on later. The sister of the people
who got murdered here, the next morning she walks in, finds most of her family
brutally murdered. She was staying next
door at a friend’s house. Cabin 28 was right here and that’s where she found the bodies of her mom, her brother,
her brother’s friend, and they couldn’t find her sister. – [Shane] Are you spooked
knowing that they were just, right around here. – [Ryan] Strangely, Sheila’s
two younger brothers, Greg, age five, and Rick, age 10, were found in the cabin in
a bedroom asleep and safe. In the same room, also
found asleep and safe, was the boys’ friend, Justin Smartt. When you look at the scene of the crime, it’s tough to fathom how
they could have slept through such a tragedy. It’s very hard for me to believe that three people could have been asleep while it was happening in
the same fucking house. – [Shane] The woods get loud though is my only thing. – [Ryan] But you’re in a cabin. – [Shane] In a cabin, were they in the same cabin
in the room next door? – [Ryan] So maybe they were in there telling ghost stories or something– – [Shane] I don’t think they were. They were probably asleep. – [Ryan] Well they could’ve. I mean, they could’ve been
in there telling ghost, you know how kids do, pillow
talk, stuff like that. – [Shane] That’s not what
pillow talk is I don’t think– – [Ryan] That’s what it was for me. Tellin’ ghost stories. Pillow talk could either mean
something you do after sex or it could mean– – [Shane] Yeah I think
that’s what that is– – [Ryan] It could mean
what’s like a sleepover – [Shane] Do you tell
ghost stories after sex? (both laughing) – That’s for me and my girlfriend to know. (Shane laughs) Maybe. – You just spark up a
cigarette (inhales sharply), let me tell you about
the Keddie Cabin murders. (Ryan laughs) – [Ryan] Johnny, Dana,
and Sue were all bound to some degree by electrical wiring. These weapons were found at the scene. A bent steak knife, found on the floor, a bloodied butcher knife, and claw hammer, both found on a small wooden table near the entryway to the kitchen. Blood splatters were found
on the walls and ceiling, suggesting the kind of force used. – [Shane] All very
effective for murdering. – [Ryan] They stabbed him
so hard the knife bent. – [Shane] I think people get
a little too hung up on that. It’s not hard to bend a knife, right? You ever dip into a thing
of ice cream with a spoon? – [Ryan] All I’m saying is there was a considerable amount of force. I have dipped a spoon into
ice cream when it’s not– – [Shane] So ice cream can bend a spoon. Why are we so– – [Ryan] Normally I dip the
spoon in hot water though. Then I put it into ice cream, so I can get a nice, clean scoop. – [Shane] That’s just smart. – It does look like, this is pretty central to all the houses. So you would think that there’d
be at least one witness. There was so much blood everywhere and there was such force
within the murders themselves. There was blood splattered
on the ceilings, the walls, so whoever did this would have
had to be covered in blood. Maybe he went down that
way, but it looks like– – It’s a forest. (both talking) You see someone run through
the forest covered in blood, you’re not gonna bat an eye. You’ll probably just be like (grunts). As you were. – That’s not how the forest works. – [Shane] You see someone in
the forest covered in blood, you’re gonna be like, excuse me, sir, why are you covered in blood? – Well I’m not gonna stop him but maybe I’ll take a good
look at what he looks like. For the police, that sort of thing. – I’ll just let ’em mind their own. – Okay, good. I’m glad to know that if you would be the worst crime scene witness of all time. Here’s some background on
Sue Sharp and her children. Sue Sharp had left a
broken and abusive marriage and was described as a quiet
woman who loved her kids. In 1980, Sue moved her
kids to the Keddie area, where they lived in a relative poverty. Let’s return to the body of Tina Sharp, the one Sharp sibling
missing from the cabin. Tina’s skull would eventually be found due to an anonymous tip
called in to the police. On the third anniversary of the murders, the skull was found about 50 miles away in a whole other county. Aside from the timing, which is undoubtedly suspicious, what’s truly dubious is
the fact that the caller identified the skull as Tina’s. But how could the caller have known that based on the skull alone? – [Shane] Because the
caller was the murderer. – [Ryan] Yeah, that’s what I’m suggesting. – [Shane] Oh, you were
phrasing it in a dramatic way. – [Ryan] Yeah, it’s creepy. What is it about killers that they want to get caught so badly, or like they want to get
as close to being caught without being caught? Like if I, I guess I’m not, I can’t put my mind into the
mind of a criminal but like– – [Shane] I can. I think some of them want to get caught. I think they do. – [Ryan] Or do you think
they just want the notoriety? – [Shane] It’s maybe a little bit of both. – [Ryan] Oh looks like you’re
not good enough detectives to figure out what I’ve done. Here let me throw you a bone. (both) Literally. Let’s go over the suspects, of which there were really only two examined by the police at the time. Marty Smartt and his roommate Bo Boubede, who lived two cabins down from the Sharps. Let’s go over a possible motive. Marty Smartt was married
to Marilyn Smartt, the mother of Justin Smartt,
who was one of the kids that was found alive
and well in the cabin. Marty was reportedly an abusive husband and there are reports that Sue Sharp had been counseling
Marilyn on her marriage. When finding out about Sue’s
interference with his marriage, Marty reportedly went ballistic about it. Marty reportedly left for Reno, Nevada soon after the murders. Law enforcement at the time
felt that the killer was quote, “more than one person”, end quote. Hence them throwing Marty’s roommate, Bo, who was an ex-con, into
the case as an accomplice. – [Shane] ‘Cause three
people’s a lot for one person to kill silently all at once. – [Ryan] But what do you think about the, his kid being in there and not dying? – [Shane] Weird, so they’re all just pals? – [Ryan] So yeah they were all pals. And they were friends with
this boy named Justin Smartt. They were all sleeping in the same room in this cabin and they
were the ones left alone. – [Shane] Interesting. – [Ryan] And this dad is the suspect. Marty Smartt, dad of Justin Smartt, does not kill his own son
and the other two Sharp boys were sleeping in the same room as his son. – [Shane] Ah. – [Ryan] That’s why it makes sense. – [Shane] So they may have only lived, if Marty’s the killer, because they are in the room with his son. – [Ryan] Exactly. Despite there being
much more to this case, at the time, the investigation
strangely stopped there. There was evidence that
seemingly went unnoticed and people of interest that may not have been vetted properly. The father of Dana Wingate, the friend of the Sharps
that was also killed, said in 2001 that the police had quote, “stumbled over each other
and fouled up the case” and he isn’t alone in
that line of thinking. As many suspect the police on the case may have been involved in a coverup. At this point, the
entire town is a suspect. You would imagine they’re
all closely knit and friends. – [Shane] Well I don’t
think they’re great friends. – [Ryan] Well obviously
because someone murdered– – [Shane] That’s right. That’s what I’m getting at. – [Ryan] Some of them must be friends. Others would like to plunge
knives into each other. – If I can imagine any of
my friends murdering me. – I could imagine one friend
of yours murdering you. – Is it you? – No. Former sheriff, Doug Thomas, who was sheriff at the time of the murder, is accused of a coverup
in many online theories, which alleged that he was a close friend to Marty Smartt at the time. Sheriff Thomas did say that he gave one session of advice
to the Smartt couple, which took place before the murders. However, Marilyn Smartt
does not recall the meeting with her husband, Marty, and the sheriff. But said that the two were
not friends to her knowledge. Though some consider Marilyn
Smartt a conspirator as well. The scariest thing about this is, I’m pretty sure that there was a coverup by the police department. – Police in the 70’s. Like 70’s and 80’s police
were always just like, Oh you murdered someone? You got 40 bucks? – [Ryan] Former Sheriff Doug Thomas recently addressed these accusations. Quote, “There was no shortage of suspects, but suddenly now everybody
35 years or so later have all figured out what happened, and that all of the investigating
officers were corrupt. It’s laughable is what it is. Martin Smartt was not a friend of mine. At one point he and his wife
were having marital problems and they came to my
office when I was sheriff and wanted me to counsel them,” end quote. – [Shane] Was he a relationship counselor? – [Ryan] No he was just a sheriff, it’s a small town. I can’t imagine there was a practicing psychiatrist in the area. – [Shane] That just seems
like a weird decision if you’re having marital troubles. Let’s take this to the police. – [Ryan] (laughing) I guess. – [Shane] Maybe they’ll help us, mend us Sheriff! – [Ryan] In 2013, the case was reopened by current Sheriff, Greg
Hagwood and Mike Gamberg, both of whom had personal connections to the victims of the case. Here’s what Sheriff Hagwood had to say about the police coverup theory. Quote, “It has brought to
light some amazing timelines, histories, and what some
may call coincidence. Others may look at it more accusingly. I don’t put anything outside
the realm of possibility. Let’s go over some
interesting new developments brought on by the reopening of the case. The first development happened when Gamberg organized
boxes of case reports and evidence from the case
that had been shoved aside. What he found was a letter written by Marty Smartt to his wife, Marilyn, reportedly written soon after the murders. It reads quote, “I’ve paid
the price for your love and now that I’ve bought it
with four people’s lives, you tell me we are through. Great. What else do you want?” – [Shane] So why would she
want him to murder people? – [Ryan] The theory before had mentioned that they were going through problems, Sue Sharp had tried to counsel them, and he saw it as her
meddling with his marriage and maybe she got annoyed by it too? There must be something else here because that seems like
pretty strong evidence that he did this. I guess he never really went
out and said I killed them. He could be speaking in metaphorically. – [Shane] I do sort of love
the language here though. You tell me we’re through. Great! What else do you want? (Ryan laughs) I murdered people for you! Now what? – Clearly she’s the jerk in this one. – Oh great! – Oh, so I’m the psycho
’cause I murdered four people. – Oh because I murdered four people. Ruined that perfectly good knife! – [Ryan] Marilyn doesn’t
recall receiving the letter. However, she did recognize her ex-husband Marty’s handwriting. So this must be why he’s not indicted. Because maybe they can’t make it absolute that it is
his handwriting indeed. – [Shane] What, the police
were just writing fan fic? – [Ryan] Yeah what the fuck is this? It was maybe, unless someone wanted to implicate him in the murders, also but it was in an evidence box. It was official evidence so– – [Shane] And if she
recognizes his handwriting– – [Ryan] There’s something weird going on in this little town. – [Shane] Something doesn’t add up. Something stinks. – [Ryan] The second
development was something also found in those boxes of case files. Gamberg found the taped
anonymous phone call that tipped off the location
of the remains of Tina Sharp. The audio of that 911 call is now being compared with audio of suspects, looking for a match. Though it’s worth mentioning that the tape was never voice-analyzed at the time. Here’s current investigator
Sheriff Hagwood on that tape. Quote, “Why that sat in a
sealed evidence envelope, never opened, I don’t
have the answer to that. But we have it now.” End quote. This is just baffling to me. It looks like they saw anything
that was remotely possible of helping them solve the case, they’re like, box it up. Put it in the corner. – [Shane] Shove it in a closet. Put some coats over it. They have to put this thing to rest and probably, you know, right the wrongs, bring people to justice. I guess that’s technically their job. – Yeah, that’s what they get paid to do. – Could you imagine how
much goddamn paperwork is involved in that? – (laughing) Holy shit! – So much. – You gotta do your job, man. – You gotta do your job. 10% of your population was just murdered. Time to look into that one. – [Ryan] The third
development came from Gamberg speaking to Marty Smartt’s
former therapist in Reno, Nevada. Apparently, Marty had confessed
to the murders in a session. The therapist reportedly told Gamberg that even he was surprised
that the investigators at the time of the murders hadn’t used the confession against Marty. – [Shane] Here’s a question. The therapist. So you’re a therapist, someone comes to you,
oh I got some troubles. Oh yeah, like what? Well I murdered four people. Okay, well I’ll see you next week. Take a little drive, go
to the police station, hey, quick note, this guy said he murdered
four people in your town. Police go, okay. You drive back to Reno and then you don’t hear anything else about it, you’re done? That’s it? – [Ryan] Think of it this way. If you told someone so point
blank that that happened and they did nothing, do
you really think you’re gonna go back to follow up? ‘Cause if the police don’t give a shit, in my mind, oh hey, maybe
the police were involved. Maybe I shouldn’t go back and be like, hey you boys should start doing your jobs! – [Shane] I want to
talk to that therapist. – [Ryan] You should start (chokes). The fourth development was the discovery that a man had found a steel
blue-handled claw hammer using a metal detector
near a pond near Keddie. The hammer matched the description of one that Marty had told
investigators he’d lost. As of late November 2016, it was being tested for
DNA or blood residue as a possible additional murder weapon. Dude, what in the world, why is there so much just
stuff dumped around here? – ‘Cause it’s a shanty town, Ryan. – Ghost town, yeah makes sense. Do you hear that? – [Shane] Yeah, it’s a car. – [Ryan] Maybe he dumped some
stuff in the river down here. – [Shane] River’s rather full. I think on account of the monsoon. – [Ryan] I don’t know if
this is the actual pond that Marty Smartt dumped
his claw hammer in, but… Weird that he would dump a murder weapon when he left the other three in the house, if it was him, in fact, who did it. Here’s Sheriff Hagwood on the
current status of the case. Quote, “There are people
locally who know more than they’ve said and I believe we’ve identified some of them
and we know who they are, and we know where they are, and I have every
confidence that they either participated after the fact, or they have first-hand information.” End quote. It’s worth mentioning that Hagwood said that there are at least six
of these people of interest, all of which are alive. It does kill me that they
don’t know who did it. – [Shane] No. They could be looking at us
through a window right now. There’s smoke coming from over there. What do you suppose is in here? – I’m not looking in there. – Want me to look in there? – Wait. It’s probably just… – What is it? – I don’t know what the fuck that is. Maybe it’s an old part of the chimney. (suspenseful music) – Looks like a black widow bite. – [Ryan] In regards to the killers being Marty Smartt and Bo Boubede, Hagwood said this. Quote, “It’s a theory that we are working to the degree possible
to conclude or dismiss. There’s a disproportionate
amount of evidence and information that tends
to point in that direction.” End quote. – Yeah, we have a confession letter, – A therapist, – We have a therapist who
said that he confessed, I mean how many– – Gosh, that is pretty disproportionate. – How many more forms do you need that in? As of now, nobody has been charged. Though you can rest easy knowing that Hagwood and Gamberg
continue to dig deeper on what really happened
that one night in Cabin 28. Here’s one final thought
from Sheriff Hagwood. Quote, “There is not an
expiration date on homicides, and to the extent that we
have surviving siblings and family members, it is
our fundamental obligation to them to understand
who did this and why.” End quote. And I’m pretty sure we’re being watched. So I kinda want to leave to be honest. I think I’ve had enough of Keddie. And I haven’t even been here that long. I hate this place. Sheila Sharp, one of the surviving members of the Sharp family, said this of Hagwood. Quote, “Finally, I have
somebody who cares. In the last three years, he’s done more than the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office has done in the previous 32 years.” Major shade being thrown
appropriately though. – Well yeah, I mean her
family was murdered so– – And they, no one seemed to give a shit. Collectively the whole town went hmm. Sheila personally
believes that the murders of her family were carried out by Marty Smartt and Bo Boubede. Final verdict, what do you think? – I’m leaning toward Marty. I’m interested to see where this goes. I hope the boys hit a break in the case. – [Ryan] Perhaps one
day Hagwood and Gamberg will finally confirm those suspicions. But for now, the devastating case of the Keddie Cabin
murders remains unsolved. (suspenseful music)