All Clues To Figuring Out The Identity Of The Sharp Objects Killer

NOW TV's Sharp Objects is a sweaty thriller built on top of mysteries. Many of them stem from the horrific, enigmatic history of Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), the Gillian Flynn adaptation's antiheroine. But, the terrors of the past aren’t what brings Camille back to her sweaty, claustrophobic hometown of the fictional Wind Gap, Missouri. No, the tragedies of the present drag our hard-drinking journalist back to where all the nightmares began.

As series premiere “Vanish” reveals, Wind Gap is now the site of two serial murders in less than a year. It is Camille’s job to figure who killed “incorrigible” little girls Ann Nash (Kaegan Baron) and Natalie Keene (Jessica Treska). While Sharp Objects takes viewers down lots of humid, winding roads, that question is the thread holding the entire series together.

So, as Camille tries to find the monster responsible for the killings, it’s only fair for fans to play along at home. If you want to test out your own murder mystery detective skills, keep reading for all the serial killer clues hiding in the country-fried drama.

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The Basic Details

There have been two child murders in Wind Gap so far. The first victim was tweenager Ann Nash, who was killed in August. Ann was strangled with a clothesline and dumped in a local creek. Hunters eventually found her body. Amid the chaos of Ann's August kidnapping-turned-murder, police chief Vickery (Matt Craven) brought in big city detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina) to help with the investigation.

As Ann’s father Bob Nash (Will Chase) explains in series premiere “Vanish,” his daughter was abducted during a bike ride to a friend’s house, which was a mere 10 blocks away from her own home. The tween left the Nash residence at 7 p.m. and everyone realised she was missing by 8 p.m. That means the killer had a very small window of time to kidnap Ann. That raises the question: Were they already laying in wait?

Then, Natalie Keene disappeared almost a full year later in June, as a search poster confirms. We currently have few details on where and when Natalie was abducted. But, we do know her body was treated very differently from Ann’s.

Unlike Ann, who was discarded somewhere no one would find her, Natalie’s body was placed in the middle of town, in the middle of the day. This suggests the killer wanted the body to be found, especially since she was propped up like a macabre doll in an alley window sill.

Neither Ann nor Natalie was sexually assaulted.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Natalie Keene’s Body

Towards the end of “Vanish,” Camille stumbles into the moment Natalie’s body is found in the alley. The blood covering her lips suggests something violent happened to the young girl’s mouth (Sharp Objects the novel readers know something shockingly violent happened to Natalie’s mouth).

On top of that disturbing fact, Natalie’s nails are perfectly painted the colour pink. For a young tomboy sporting Chucks and a boyish hoodie, that seems suspicious.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The Timing

It seems bizarre the Wind Gap killer waited nearly an entire year to strike again, until you realise summer — when both murders occurred — gives the killer a wide open killing ground. Summer is when school is out and children are left free to roam town alone.

Just look at the events that led to Natalie’s abduction and eventual murder: She asked to ride her bike to a friend’s house all summer, until her mother finally caved and gave her daughter the okay.

That never would have happened in any other season, when school, weather, and chores would have gotten in the way of Natalie’s biking schedule.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The People Who Were Close To Ann & Natalie

Common murder mystery logic suggests the killer is always someone involved in the action, rather than some unknown, malevolent individual hiding in the shadows. So, let’s look at the possible suspects.

Natalie has a father, Bob, a mother, and three siblings. Ann has a brother, handsome loner John Keene (Taylor John Smith), and a set of parents. Camille’s mother Adora Crellin (Patricia Clarkson) also swears she was close to both girls. The Sharp Objects matriarch is so close to the Nashes, Bob even calls Adora after Camille visits him.

There is also the unseen Emily, the friend Ann biked to see before her murder, whom we know very little about. What’s going on with Emily?
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Bob Nash

Bob is clearly supposed to be one of the leading suspects in the murder case. Camille describes him as “odd,” and many in town believe he is the killer.

Certain flashes of Bob’s personality do hint there is a real darkness to the man. First of all, his wife is nowhere to be seen, and Bob is clearly lying about her being “at the store.” Could she be dead too? Also, Bob is aggressive to one of his remaining daughters, Amanda (London Vanovan), yelling at her about knocking, and even Camille when he notices the journalist writing down a detail he doesn’t like.

Bob also proves to be homophobic, using a slur to suggest a gay man murdered his daughter. Fitting with these already established disturbing world views, Bob says the fact that Ann wasn’t raped is the only “blessing” in his family tragedy, adding, “I’d rather he kill her than rape her.”

Bob’s alibi isn’t even airtight, as he was supposedly driving back from work, about an hour away, during Ann’s disappearance. Who knows when Bob actually left the office?
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
John Keene

Viewers are still getting to know Natalie’s brother John, but he still stands out as one of the leading suspects in the murders. Not only have we seen the teen drinking in bars (is he trying to drown his guilt with booze?), but he also sat by as Camille’s half-sister Amma Crellin (Eliza Scanlen) and friends tampered with Natalie’s memorial.

But, in defence of John, he also looks far too lost and depressed to be okay with the loss of his sister.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The Mystery Of Marian

The death of Camille’s other sister, Marian Crellin (Lulu Wilson), hangs over the Preaker-Crellin house like a ghost. And, considering the Preaker-Crellins’ lengthy, tortured history in Wind Gap, it’s very likely that death may eventually colour the town’s latest tragedies.

So, let’s figure out what happened from the few details we know.

Throughout the flashbacks of Sharp Objects, we learn Marian and Camille were very close in age. Marian was pretty close to “perfect,” while Camille, the older sister, was “incorrigible.” It appears Marian was a naturally sick child who knew she wouldn’t live for very long, as her conversation about becoming a ghost in “Vanish” hints. Marian died soon after her tense afterlife chat with Camille, since both girls seem to be the same age during the funeral scene.

It is unclear what killed Marian, but we do know she suffered from seizures, as a frightening flashback confirms.

Now, Adora keeps Marian's bedroom exactly how she left it, like it is a museum for her dead child. Marian's medical supplies still fill the room, and one of her tiny, tiny dresses is draped on the bed.
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The Shed

Like Marian's death, it’s likely another disturbing portion of Camille’s childhood will play into the current Wind Gap mystery. That other piece of the creepy puzzle is the forest shed Teen Camille (Sophia Lillis) finds, which is filled with pornographic, brutal images of nude women.

Clearly, Wind Gap has a true crisis when it comes to violence against women.
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