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"Luckily, there was no alcohol, no drugs, nothing like that," Mary Neese said. "They were just riding around. But still, you're not supposed to do that."
Later, the Neeses discovered Skylar had been slipping out her first-floor bedroom window and dropping a few feet to the ground.
"We thought they had learned their lesson," Mary Neese said. "She was like, 'I understand, Mom. I understand.' She was in tears — not for herself but for the other girls being in trouble. So we thought they had learned their lesson. But they hadn't. Which we found out after."
It took until 4 p.m. on the day after the killing for panic to set in. That's when the Wendy's where Skylar worked called to say she hadn't shown up for a shift. The Neeses called police.
The next day, the longtime friend came to the apartment. She went door to door with Mary Neese, asking if people had seen Skylar.
Mary Neese had no reason to think she was anything but concerned.
For months, police chased down tips that led nowhere. Even they didn't initially suspect the girls. They might know more than they were saying, police told the Neeses. Maybe they're protecting someone.
Then the stories started to conflict. Mary Neese defended the girls "countless times" as police tried to tell her what they suspected.
"I kept saying, 'No. You guys, they are having as hard a time with this as we are,'" she said.
The transcript from Shoaf's hearing shows the break came Jan. 3, when she finally told investigators the truth — and where to find the body.
What they still don't know is why. Shoaf told police the girls just didn't want to be friends with Skylar anymore.
Dave and Mary Neese just shake their heads. They know there's more to it than that.
Mary Neese wants to look Shoaf in the eye and ask. With the other girl, she says, there's no point.
But Shoaf is now awaiting sentencing at a detention center in Wheeling. Prosecutors have indicated they'll recommend a 20-year prison sentence, though the victim's parents hope the judge will disregard he plea agreement and impose the 40 years allowed by law.
Either way, they may never know why their daughter died.
What they do know is they want to share their story. They are working with two local writers on a book to "get parents to open their eyes, just like we should have done," Mary Neese said.
The couple tried to trust their daughter. Go out with your friends, they said. Just call. Let us know where you are. Be home at a reasonable hour.
"I tried to give her her freedom, so we weren't on top of her all the time," Mary Neese said. "Now in hindsight, those parents who do that? More power to them. They should be."