Updated: 12:52 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | Posted: 12:44 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Target 11 investigates how authorities handle missing persons

STAR CITY, W. Va. —

Skylar Neese, 16, was the center of her parents' world.

"Every night when she went to bed she'd go, 'Love you, Mom! Love you, Dad," recalled her father, Dave Neese.

July of 2012 would be the last time they'd hear those words or see their daughter alive.

On July 6, Skylar Neese snuck out of her bedroom window to go joyriding with friends.

"She didn't take her cell phone charger. Her window was left open. She planned on coming home," her father said.

Star City, West Virginia police classified Neese as a runaway, and because she was not abducted or believed to be in danger, law enforcement did not issue an Amber Alert.

Six months later, Neese's remains were found in a wooded area in Greene County, Pa.

A few weeks ago, investigators charged the two friends they believe Neese went joyriding with with her murder.

Rachel Shoaf, 16, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

A second unidentified teen girl remains in police custody.

Police have not released a motive.

"I don't feel sorry for the girls at all. No. No way, shape or form. I hope they rot in hell," said Skylar's father.

But out of the family's pain comes hope for other missing children.

The Neese family fought to have West Virginia's Amber Alert program expanded.

Under "Skylar's Law," state police could issue an Amber Alert for any missing child even if an abduction is not suspected.

Delegate Charlene Marshall of Monongalia County was the bill's lead sponsor.

She said time is critical in finding missing children.

"We need to be out there right away and be working to search for whatever child might be missing," she said.

Dave Neese said, "Would it have helped Skylar? Probably not. It may help someone else down the road."

He said through this new law his daughter's legacy lives on.

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin recently signed Skylar's Law. It will go into effect later this year.

 

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