The Cabin in the Woods Where Three People Were Brutally Murdered
Who killed Glenna Sharp and her family?
In Quincy, Sierra Nevada is a small place called the Keddie Resort. The resort used to be a popular tourist area but fell on hard times in the 80s, so it started renting its cabins out to low-income families. It was said to contain many residents known to the police; cannabis was sold extensively from the area.
In November 1980, the Sharp family moved in. The family consisted of Glenna Sharp and her five children ranging in age from five to fifteen. Many would comment the Sharp children lacked discipline. It was clear, though, that the children were well-loved and did not lack emotional support from their mother.
On 11th April 1981, in cabin 28, three people were found murdered and one missing. The three victims were Glenna Sharp (36), her son John Sharp (15) and his friend Dana Wingate (17). Tina Sharp, who was twelve at the time, went missing from the scene.
The bodies were discovered at 7am by daughter Sheila who had been sleeping at a friends house. Sheila and her sister Tina had gone to watch television at the Seabolt's, a neighbours house. Tina had returned at 930pm and Sheila had slept over.
Also in the house, that morning was Sheila's two brothers Rick and Greg and family friend Justin Smartt. Sheila woke the boys and helped them climb out of the window to avoid the carnage in the lounge. It was initially thought that the boys had slept through the murders; however, this was later contradicted when blood was found in their room. Greg, Rick and Justin went out of the window ran to the caretaker at Cabin 25, who called the police. Tina was missing from the scene.
Justin Smartt was the stepson of Martin Smartt, who lived close to the Sharps. Martin was described as an occasional drug dealer. Those that knew him also said that he was a violent man. His friend John Boubede who lived with him would have a short relationship with Glenna and both became a suspect in the murders. Boubede had ties to organized crime in Chicago. Marilyn Smartt, Martin's wife, would state in a 2008 documentary that she believed the pair were responsible for the murders.
All three victims were found bound with medical tape and electrical cords. The victims had been beaten and mutilated. There were some inconsistencies though Dana had been strangled and his head placed on a pillow. Glenna's murder showed signs of remorse as she was covered with a blanket.
Two bloodied knives and one hammer were found at the scene. One of the knives, a steak knife, had been bent to a thirty-degree angle. Blood splatter showed that all three had been murdered in the living room.
Sheila and the Seabolt's, who lived close, had heard nothing that evening. However, a couple living in number sixteen said they woke at 115 am to the sound of muffled screaming.
Tina's jacket and shoes were missing as well as various tools from a toolbox. There was no sign of the missing Sharp sister. The house showed no sign of forced entry, which led police to wonder whether Tina had been involved with the murder initially. This was until her remains were recovered on 22nd April 1984. The portion of the skull and mandible were discovered one hundred miles away in Butte County.
Several theories were suggested for the murders. One of the theories was that John and Dana had brought the killer home with them. On 11th April, the boys were seen hitchhiking by Glenna and the family and given a lift home. Two hours later, around 330pm, the pair hitchhiked back to Quincy to visit friends and party. Some speculate they were hitchhiking home getting a lift from the killer.
Was the murder a drug deal gone wrong, which led them to Martin Smartt as a suspect? He claimed a claw hammer had been stolen from his house. Dana had also allegedly stolen a quantity of LSD from a local drug dealer.
Justin, his stepson, would give conflicting stories of the night. First, he would say that he dreamt details of the murder; later, he would admit to witnessing it. He would claim that he witnessed Glenna arguing with two men, one clean-shaven, one with a moustache. He stated that John and Dana then entered the property and started arguing with the men. A fight ensued, at which point Tina was taken from the property by one of the men. Amateur sketches were done of the men, questions have since been asked why police did not use a professional FBI sketch artist.
Famous serial killers Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole were also investigated as potential suspects; they have since been ruled out.
Despite these theories, the murder remained unsolved. Criticism of the police has stated that they failed to secure the crime scene leaving DNA evidence at the scene to be missed.
Recently two pieces of evidence have been found that could lead to an arrest. A hammer has been found, similar to that Smartt lost containing DNA. Many locals believe that despite passing a polygraph test, Martin Smartt was responsible for the killings and Justin made up the two perpetrators to protect his stepfather.
However, investigators still working on the case say they have six potential live suspects. In addition, both Smartt and Boubede have passed away, indicating the perpetrators are not these two.
Sheriff Greg Hagwood is confident that an arrest will be made soon, allowing the small town to sleep a little easier at night. But, until then, the murder of the Sharp family remains a mystery.