July 20, 2019

The horrific torture and murder of 12-year-old Shanda Sharer

Hey guys, I pulled my research from Cruel Sacrifice, which is free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers here. If you really ❤️ this story, please share the post. Thanks y'all.

Why Did Four Teenage Girls Torture And Burn Alive 12-year-old Shanda Sharer In 1992?

12-year-old Shanda Sharer

Shanda Sharer was once a popular and bubbly Hazelwood Middle Schoolgirl. By all accounts, her outgoing personality meant that it was easy for her to make new friends.

However, it was this outgoingness that started a terrifying chain of events one evening at a local school dance. It was at this 1991 dance where Shanda Sharer met up with a former classmate Amanda Heavrin and the chemistry between the two girls quickly sparked, and they soon became romantic.

Outside the dance, tempers started to brew as the couple was confronted by 16-year-old Melinda Loveless, who previously dated Heavrin and was now extremely jealous of this new relationship.

Over the next few weeks, Loveless threatened Sharer at school and even started sending notes to Heavrin claiming that she wanted her new partner dead.

Nobody realized just how far Melinda Loveless was willing to go, especially not to brutally murder Sharer. But Melinda Loveless came from an abusive home, where she would see her mother assaulted by her father most nights.

To protect her daughter, Sharer's mother transferred her to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School.

However, even moving her daughter would not protect her from the gruesome chain of events.

The Abduction

It was bitterly cold the night on January 10, 1992, and a teenage girl Melinda Loveless enlists three of her friends - Laurie Tackett, 17, Hope Rippey, 15, and Toni Lawrence - to help carry out one of the most senseless and brutal assaults and murders in Indiana history.

By most accounts, Melinda Loveless was the only girl of the four that knew Sharer was going to die that night, bringing along with her a sharp knife.

This night Sharer was spending the weekend with her father, and the girls drove to her house claiming that they wanted to take her to see her girlfriend Heavrin.

Sharer instructed the girls to come back after her parents went to sleep. They did, but Sharer had no idea that in the backseat Melinda Loveless was hidden under a blanket ready to surprise her with knife.

The meeting place Sharer thought they were going was the Witch's Castle, a local and isolated abandoned home that was a popular hangout amongst the local teens.

The Creepy Witches Castle In Utica Indiana

Tortured and assaulted for eight hours

The jealous lover and ringleader, Melinda Loveless, leaped from the back of the car and held the knife against Sharer's throat. At this point, Sharer must have known that there was never a plan to take her to see her girlfriend and that she was in for an awful night.

From top left: Melinda Loveless, Laurie Tackett, Hope Rippey, and Toni Lawrence.

The foursome drove Sharer to a remote location, where everyone but Loveless imagined that she just wanted to scare the shit out of Shanda, but as it turns out, they were dead wrong.

For nearly eight hours, the girls sexually assaulted and tortured Shanda Sharer, except for Toni Lawrence which refused to participate in the heinous act.

At a remote trash dump in a densely overgrown area, Loveless and her gang stripped the clothes from Sharer's body, punched her repeatedly, sprayed window cleaner into her eyes.

Sharer was screaming, but since the girls were down a remote path, no-one could hear those screams for help.

The torture continued for hours before the girls tossed Sharer into the back of the car's trunk. They attempted to slit Sharer's throat, but the knife brought by Loveless was too dull, so instead, they repeatedly stabbed her in the chest. Believing Sharer is now dead they drove to Laurie Tackett's home to clean up and drink sodas. They had no idea that their victim was screaming inside the car's trunk.

From the house, Tackett and Loveless drive off together where they find another remote location and stab Sharer several more times before sodomizing her with a tire iron. They return to Tackett's house and joke to their friend Rippey about what they just did.

Now approaching dawn the foursome stop at a gas station and purchase a two-liter bottle of Pepsi, which they drink and immediately refill with gasoline.

The girls then drive to another remote location, where the body was eventually found by a local hunter Don Foley the next morning, and pull Sharer out of the trunk. Wrapped in a blanket and whimpering the word "mommy" in a defeated tone, the girls then drag Shanda Sharer to a clearing in the forest.

The girls pour gasoline from the now filled Pepsi bottle and watch her as she is burned alive.

The killers drive off but shortly come back to the body, where they believed she was completely burned up with no trace evidence. Upon seeing that she was not, they repeated the process of burning her body again.

Shanda Sharer's back.

Knife wound in head.

Knife wound in neck.

Sausage biscuits at McDonalds

Besides the brutal murder of Shanda Sharer, one of the most disturbing facts of this case is that the girls ate breakfast at McDonald's immediately after the torturous ordeal and killing. The girls laughed as they were comparing their sausage breakfast with Shanda Sharer's charred body.

Later that afternoon, Loveless called her ex-girlfriend Heavrin to brag about what she and her friends did to Sharer. Heavrin did not believe that anyone could commit such an awful murder and played it off as a joke.

Around this time Lawrence (who refused to participate) and Rippey went to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office where they confessed to the murder. The next day, murderous four were all in handcuffs, and the investigation had begun.

The spot where Shanda Sharer was burned alive.

The State of Indiana decided to try all of the girls involved in the murder as adults and all four accepted a plea bargain from the State to avoid the death penalty.

Lawrence and Rippey who were less involved in the torture, received 20 years and 50 years respectively, and both are now out of prison.

Tackett and Loveless both received a 60-year sentence and are still serving time till this day.

In one recorded interview, Tackett said, "I didn't know Shanda at all. I didn't go into that eventing knowing anything was going to happen, wanting anything to happen." Tackett then blames her role on "peer pressure" from Melinda Loveless.

Laurie Tackett also appeared on the Dr. Phil show to explain her role in the murder.

Laurie Tackett Prison Statement - In Cold Blood: A Daughter's Brutal Murder

Loveless now

As previously stated, Melinda Loveless did have a rough childhood, being a victim of sexual abuse by her father, a Vietnam veteran. The father was later arrested for his abusive behavior and convicted.

The Indiana prison system is attempting to rehabilitate Loveless, enrolling her in a program called ICAN, or Indiana Canine Assistant Network where she trains puppies to become service dogs for the disabled.

The progress so inspired Shanda's mother so much that she has made that she donated a puppy named Angel for her to train.

I personally hope there can eventually be full forgiveness for this awful crime.

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29 comments on “The horrific torture and murder of 12-year-old Shanda Sharer”

  1. Okay, Jon.....I am a Witch. There are most definitely male Witches.Some use the title, some use alternative titles (like Warlock). 

    As for sacrifices, (I obviously cannot speak for all) but all of the Witches I’ve interacted with in real life and online....not only don’t use the terminology “sacrifice”, they use the term “offering”, but offerings are usually foods, drinks, herbs, stones, etc. not living beings- the exception here being animals used in Santeria and other Voudou faiths. Again, not all (or even most that I’ve talked to) Santeria/Voudou practitioners participate in animal sacrifice- many use alcohol as an offering in their works instead. 

    For an example, I am a Pagan Witch (you can be a Christian Witch, Wiccan Witch, and a bunch of other varieties, including feminist Dianic Witch.....not all Pagans are Witches, not a Wiccans are Witches, etc.) Halloween, which is a Sabbat (or holiday) for us called Samhain (pronounced Sow-in) includes an ancestor altar in our house, I have a set up with pictures of our deceased loved ones and some other items including a small cup and dish. As part of the nights celebration, I offer food and drink to our ancestors as a sign of respect, remembrance and to welcome them on a night when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest. Just one example of offerings. I often have offerings to the Goddess/God on my house altar as well.....I used to have the kids leave offerings to the fairies (or nature spirits) in tree holes when they were younger and we were eating outside. It’s a way to show respect.

    Every once in a while, there’ll be a murder case where someone claims to be a Witch and “sacrificing” but usually they end up being found to be insane or people who decide that’s what being a Witch is (because they are isolated and don’t actually research the Craft, sigh).

    If Laurie was actually practicing as a Wiccan this wouldn’t have happened at all....the Wiccan Rede (the rules they follow) states: “Bide the Wiccan Laws we must In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Live and let live. Fairly take and fairly give......(cut irrelevant stuff)....Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.” (Many other alternative faiths will refer to Wiccans as “fluffy bunnies” because they are very love & light and positive vibes, no matter what, whereas many of us have no problem casting a binding spell to keep a toxic person away or a mirror spell so that their BS comes back on them, many Wiccans consider this too negative.)

    Runes are stones with a lettering system used for divination. The symbols represent different things, as well as functioning as a letter. Many Witches who use Northern and Celtic magick use Runestones in their work, not just for divination, but also on candles and items for spellwork.

    Love you guys, just wanted to clarify. 


    P.S. And lesbian sex isn’t always just scissoring, lol.

    1. Grace, whoa this is an amazing explanation. I had NO idea there are Christian witches out there. You should  request another story that involves witchcraft so that I can pull my knowledge from you.

    2. What a insensitive dumbass. Using this forum to vomit out views on witchcraft. Obviously, Christian Witchcraft is not about self awareness or sensitivity

        1. I'd rather they get fried and sent to hell, or maybe one of Loveless' dogs (what an appropriate name) will maul her to death. They can ask Satan for forgiveness, I'm sure he'll be more than willing to listen.

  2. Thank you for the insight Grace!! I'd be interested to learn a bit more about Christian witches... have any good resources?


  3. I’ve heard good things about the book The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair

    some articles/sites:




    Hope that helps. It’s not my branch so I don’t know a ton about it, but these should give quite a bit of info XD


  4. Grace explained it beautifully! 

    If Laurie was an actual practicing witch they wouldn’t have murdered her. That’s like rule number one, don’t harm, injure or control others unless the need arises to protect your life or the lives of others. 

    Witchcraft has a very bad stigma around it. It’s a nature driven practice.  The majority of people think it’s all evil and scary when in reality we just get excited over plants, rocks and like to look at the moon .

  5. Thank you, Jon.


    Becoming a Witch is truly an individualized path with more than one way to achieve it.

    Self-Taught (like me) Witches read, research and follow their intuition.

    Hereditary Witches are born into it. (What my kids will be if they decide to)

    Joining an organization like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and training with them. It’s almost academic, you are initiated and work through levels. There’s many groups that offer this kind of structured training.

    I am an Eclectic (meaning I pull from many Traditions- mostly Green, Kitchen and Celtic with bits from Native American Spirituality and others) Solitary (meaning I have no Coven, I practice mainly alone) Pagan (we are polytheistic in our family beliefs) Witch (meaning I practice rituals and Spellwork)

    More info on becoming a Witch here: https://thewitchymommy.com/blogs/the-witchy-mommy/witchcraft-101-how-to-become-a-witch-and-practice-witchcraft


  6. Ugh.. I read this book and have watched multiple documentaries on this horrific murder. I'm also a fan of Aphrodite Jones. She's an awesome true-crime reporter and journalist. I even felt compelled to follow Justice for Shanda on Facebook. Hard to believe that almost all are out of prison. Melinda is due to be released September 9th this year. I get that Melinda had a horrible, abusive childhood but it just does not justify the savage, barbaric nature of the murder. How could one ever be sorry enough for this crime?

  7. Just FYI, Green Witches focus on Nature, working with the energies of natural objects like stones, gems, herbs, and the elements. So Jen was kinda right XD

      1. They aren't - mostly they become "Witches" due to their total failure to connect to anyone in society, so they make believe they are privy to a bunch of esoteric "knowledge" from some goofy books and next thing you know, they have an entire coven of other losers and weirdos to pal around with, drinking box wine and listening to crappy New Age music, watching episodes of Charmed and eating enormous amounts of food. This may work if you're in your early teens, but adults? Oh, I hope I haven't set myself up for the "Cursed Energy Of The Stones, Gems, and Herbs" that is surely going to plague my life from here on in. Yikes! Power of Yahweh, Activate!

  8. Demonic behavior. If my child ever committed such a heinous act, I don’t know that I could reconcile with him or her. Shanda was barely more than a baby.

  9. Anyone who wants to see another episode of Dr. Phil on Shanda Sharer, contact him on his website. Now is the time to let him know, since the 30th anniversary of her murder is in January 2022.

  10. This is really really brutal and devasting on the victim's family. I can't imagine this happening to anyone.

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  12. All these people on here talking about witchcraft quite get a fu.king life this is about a 12 year old baby that never got to live her life she was a smart intelligent young little girl who would’ve had a great future it’s just so sad what happened to her and I believe the people that killed her should’ve got the death penalty they should not let them have plea-bargain‘s they should’ve took them to trial they had enough evidence to take them down they didn’t have to offer them plea-bargain‘s but they did I understand that you don’t want the family to hear what happened but they already know what happened and somethings are worth taking to court no matter what and this is one of them that poor girl went through so many hours of torture it’s unbelievable now I’ve lived a criminal life most of my life and I’ve seen murder I’ve had friends convicted of murder I’ve never took apart one myself but it doesn’t really bother me but this one bothered me you do not murder children even if it’s children doing it and they were all old enough to know better they knew what they were doing and nobody mentions the father of this girl does anybody realize that he died at 53 he tried to kill himself many years after his daughter was murdered eventually he drank himself to death at the age of 53 and I don’t blame him rest In Peace shanda you were angel

  13. My ex- mother in law’s maiden name was Loveless and grew up in Virginia, so likely not a relative (she grew up in foster care and knows nothing about her family) but she said for years before she got married she hated having the same last name as this monster. Granted, a lot of people have the same last names but this was not a name like “Smith”. So not only did she effect the lives of her victim(s) but also others. She did not deserve to be paroled… none of them did.

  14. Are those photos of her burnt remains?? Oh wow what an awful death to inflict on an innocent beautiful lil 12 year young girl. F them! They should have never gotten out of jail to begin with they killed us innocent child they burn her to death what the hell who does that who burns someone to death you don’t even do that to an animal you don’t do it to anything living with the F is wrong with people

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