Sheila Kearns 1996 Murder at
Longmire Still Unsolved Today
Missing for Seven Months Before Remains Found
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
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
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
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
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
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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