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"Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man's life."

~ Daniel Webster

 

Sheila Kearns 1996 Murder at Longmire Still Unsolved Today
Missing for Seven Months Before Remains Found
$30,000 Reward

     Photo courtesy of Sheila's mother, the late Olive Kearns. Taken at Olive's home in Charlotte, North Carolina not too long before Sheila came to Washington. Sheila turned 42 shortly before she disappeared. There is a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer(s).

A Happy Woman One Minute, Gone Forever the Next...

      by Bob Walter
      October 7, 2010

      It was 14 years ago this week, on October 6, 1996, that Sheila Kearns was discovered missing from her residence and new job at Longmire. Sheila, an employee of Government Services, Incorporated (GSI), was an experienced world traveler, had worked for the Peace Corps in Africa, hiked across Chile, traveled in Europe and had worked at other national parks before coming to Mount Rainier. Before coming to Rainier Sheila worked at Olympic National Park. She fell in love with the Northwest and determined to stay here. Sheila had just brought her personal belongings to Longmire where she had been hired to work in the gift shop after the height of the tourist season. Previously, Sheila worked at Paradise. An exhaustive search of the surrounding area was conducted within a few days, using highly trained, air- and ground-scent, tracking dogs, but to no avail.
     Sheila’s remains were not found until seven months later, in May, by a surveyor working in the Old Longmire Campground, just across the Nisqually River from where Sheila was going to reside. Her remains were found in a fairly open, wooded area, on fairly level terrain. Since she had disappeared from, and her remains were discovered on, federal land, the FBI was called in early to conduct the investigation. FBI forensic evidence showed she had been stabbed multiple times. Her murder has not yet been solved, the case is cold, but there is no statute of limitations on murder so the case would be opened again if evidence warranted it.
     Amazingly, the location of Sheila’s remains had been well within the earlier search area, leading to speculation that she had either been killed there, or her body dumped there, after the October search had been conducted. The old campground area is accessible through the Longmire complex, and across an old bridge over the river, but surely the killer wasn’t brazen or foolish enough to try to bring her – alive or dead - through that neighborhood with everyone on alert. A gated road at the far end of the abandoned campground led out to the park boundary and on to Skate Creek Road, which could have been used by someone familiar with the terrain and the back roads, someone with a dark secret to keep forever hidden. The entire area where this crime took place isn't known to many tourists as it's not a part of the park tourists frequent.
    But older mysteries have been solved. Perhaps someone will stumble upon a new piece of evidence, or will remember a key comment, heard but forgotten long ago, in a sudden flash of insight. Perhaps the killer, smug and complacent after all these years, will slip and say something revealing his/her involvement. In any case, it is best to remain vigilant, to never forget something so heinous that took place in our back yard, just on the chance that such an opportunity for resolution presents itself, and the mystery of the untimely death of a sweet, kind person such as Sheila Kearns, is unraveled. The FBI can be reached in Seattle at 206.622.0460. There is a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer(s).



Murder at Longmire Remains Unsolved After Seven Years...

     by Dixie A. Walter          
    
October 6, 2003

      Sheila Kearns  went to dinner in the staff dining room at the Longmire Inn in Mount Rainier National Park October 5, 1996. She ate her meal, walked out of the building and vanished for seven months. A small part of her remains were eventually  recovered from the old Longmire Campground, the area where it's believe she may have been killed. Other theories include abduction, taking her away  while alive, killing her and bringing her body back to the area when the searches were finished. If this were true it would imply her killer was someone who had access to the park and/or inside information about the searches.
     The FBI was brought into the case because Sheila disappeared in a national park. Recently the FBI named Sheila Kearns' case closed, a cold case. The person who killed Sheila is still out there. Perhaps not in our area, but perhaps in our area. There were dog teams brought into search for Sheila and they couldn't find the victim  Her remains weren't found for seven months. The FBI forensic experts determined Sheila had been stabbed at least three times.
      Sheila was employed by Guest Services, Inc. Mount Rainier's long time concessionaire. There is a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer(s) - please contact the FBI in Seattle - 206.622.0460.



Olive Kearns - Sheila's Mother

     As the mother of pregnant Laci Peterson said, "No mother should ever have to wonder how her daughter was murdered." Olive Kearns and the rest of Sheila's family and vast number of friends have wondered about her disappearance and brutal, unsolved murder every day for seven years. 

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