Murders of Sally McNelly and Shane Stewart

Sally Ann McNelly (March 26, 1970 – July 4, 1988)[1] and Shane Paul Stewart (August 5, 1971 – July 4, 1988)[2] were two teenagers who were murdered near Lake Nasworthy in San Angelo, Texas after spending the evening watching a fireworks display on the Fourth of July in 1988.[3] Their murders, which remain unsolved, were attributed to rumors of a Satanic cult in which they both were involved.

Sally McNelly
Born
Sally Ann McNelly

(1970-03-26)March 26, 1970
DiedJuly 4, 1988(1988-07-04) (aged 18)
Cause of deathHomicide
Body discoveredNovember 11, 1988
NationalityAmerican
Parent
  • Patricia Parks (mother)
Shane Stewart
Born
Shane Paul Stewart

(1971-08-05)August 5, 1971
DiedJuly 4, 1988(1988-07-04) (aged 16)
Cause of deathHomicide
Body discoveredNovember 14, 1988
NationalityAmerican
Parent
  • Marshall Stewart (father)

The case received national attention among the Satanic panic phenomenon of the 1980s, and was profiled in national media as well as on Unsolved Mysteries.[4]

BackgroundEdit

Sally and Shane were both teenagers from San Angelo, Texas, who began dating in 1987 while in high school.[3] After a prolonged breakup, they reunited on the evening of July 4, 1988, and made plans to watch the annual firework show at Lake Nasworthy. During their relationship, Sally's friends had witnessed her attending parties with occult activities and where black magic was being practiced; they alleged that she and Shane had been involved with a Satanic cult.[3] In March 1988, Sally and Shane turned a gun over to local police, claiming that they had been given it by a member of the cult and told it had been used in a murder-robbery.[3] Police searched its serial number, and discovered it had been reported stolen.[3]

On the evening of July 4, 1988, Sally and Shane were seen alone on the shore of Lake Nasworthy before midnight by a fisherman offshore.[5] On July 7, they both were reported as missing persons.[5]

Discovery of bodiesEdit

On November 11, 1988, Sally's remains were found off FM 584, roughly 17 miles south of where they were last seen, near the Twin Buttes Reservoir's South Pool.[5] Three days later, on November 14, Shane's remains were discovered in the vicinity. According to their autopsies, they had both died from shotgun blasts to the head.[3] The case remains unsolved.[6]

2017 developmentsEdit

In June 2017 the Tom Green County Sheriff's Office in San Angelo pulled over a local man, John Cyrus Gilbreath, on suspicion of marijuana possession. A female passenger in his car told them Gilbreath was dealing, and on that basis they obtained a warrant to search his house.[3]

Among the items they found in the house were what they described as writings, audio tapes and "biological material" that they said may be connected to the McNelly and Stewart homicides. They announced Gilbreath is now considered a person of interest in that case.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Sally Ann McNelly". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  2. ^ "Shane Paul Stewart". Find a Grave. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Sally McNelly & Shane Stewart: Is a satanic cult to blame for the murder of two Texas teens?". Unsolved.com. ABC Networks. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "UPDATE: Shane Stewart & Sally McNelly". Unsolved Mysteries. 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  5. ^ a b c McDaniel, Matt (July 2, 2014). "Sheriff's Office Announces Developments in 26-Year-Old Double Homicide". San Angelo Live. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  6. ^ Eady, Kera (February 8, 2016). "DPS Needs Help in San Angelo Double Murder". CBS7. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2016.