A Texas Dad Still Wants to Know: Who Killed His Boy?

Marshall Stewart has been searching for his son's killers since 1988
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2024 8:30 AM CDT
A Texas Dad Still Wants to Know: Who Killed His Boy?
   (Getty Images / brucemaloneatx)

"For thirty-five f—ing years, my brain's been turning over all these questions," says Sean Stewart. Questions like why the bodies of his 16-year-old brother, Shane, and Sally McNelly, 18, were left in the brush along a rough dirt path leading to a reservoir outside San Angelo in 1988. But the biggest of all was who killed them, and why? They're questions Marshall Stewart, Shane's father, hasn't just been mulling, but investigating. In a lengthy piece for Texas Monthly, Rob D'Amico recounts his 35-year-quest, which began when Shane didn't come home as promised on the night of July 4. The teen's beloved Camaro was found abandoned with the keys inside it, doors open, and no sign of a struggle. Marshall says the police quickly theorized the couple had eloped, which made no sense to him.

"I keep insisting that Shane did not walk off and leave his car," Marshall recalled. He also thought large tire tracks near the Camaro should be preserved. Deputies declined to do so and instructed him to drive the car home, potentially compromising any evidence that would have been inside. D'Amico follows Marshall Stewart's effort over the years: initially talking to the teens' friends, and using a police scanner to try to follow the investigation from afar. One of the stranger theories to emerge suggested that Sally had been part of a satanic cult and was killed when she tried to leave it. It later emerged that four months before her murder, Sally had turned a gun into local police that she said someone in the supposed cult had given her to hide. Whoever gave the gun to her could know something—but gun was lost over the years. (Read the full story here.)

Stories to sink your teeth into.
Get our roundup of longform stories every Saturday.
Sign up
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.