MTV Buckwild star Shain Gandee found dead in car alongside uncle and another man

 

Shain Gandee lived for the outdoors, often going on muddy, off-road thrill rides in the hills near his West Virginia home. A recent late-night escapade ended in tragedy for the MTV reality show cast member and two others.

The popular Buckwild cast member, 21, was found dead Monday inside a sports utility vehicle belonging to his family. The car was found partially submerged in a deep mud pit about a mile from Gandee's home near Sissonville, authorities said. The bodies of his uncle and another man were also found inside the vehicle.

Kanawha County Sheriff's Cpl. BD Humphreys said the red-and-white 1984 Ford Bronco's muffler was below the surface and that mud covered the passenger side. No foul play is suspected.

Authorities said the cause of the deaths was still under investigation and they refused to speculate on what happened. If the muffler was submerged and the engine kept running, it's possible the cabin of the vehicle could have filled with fatal carbon monoxide from the exhaust.

Shain, nicknamed "Gandee Candy" by fans, was a breakout star of the America television show that followed the antics of a group of young friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle. It was filmed last year, mostly around Sissonville and Charleston. Many of its rowdy exploits were Gandee's idea. In one episode, he turned a dump truck into a swimming pool.

Gandee was a true outdoorsman, shedding modern conveniences such as cell phones and computers. He loved to hunt, ride all-terrain vehicles and go "mudding," or offroad driving. He went mudding in the show's first episode and ruined his pickup truck's motor.

"Shain always rides with these kids in four-wheelers and trucks," said a neighbour, Swanna Frampton, who had known him since he was a small child. "They were just out riding and having a good time."

Frampton said the 21-year-old Gandee "loved to live and have fun. He was a great person. He did what (the show) wanted him to do, but he wasn't like that. He was a real person. If you needed help, if you needed something, he would come help you no matter what."

Humphreys said Gandee, his 48-year-old uncle, David Gandee, and 27-year-old Donald Robert Myers were last seen around 3am on Sunday at a bar and they told people they were going driving off-road.

State police were getting ready to send out an aviation unit to search for the men when authorities received a call on Monday morning. Humphreys said the SUV was found by one of Shain Gandee's friends next to a trail used by four-wheel drive vehicles, about 15 miles outside of Charleston.

The terrain in the Thaxton Hollow area was "very muddy, very rough," Humphreys said, and responders had to use all-terrain vehicles to get to the site.

Humphreys did not provide details on the condition of the bodies.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said the news was devastating for the small community near Charleston.

"It's a very sad day for the Sissonville area and for these families," he said. "This is a small community, and most of us know directly members of these families. We're keeping them in our hearts and prayers."

MTV issued a statement saying it was shocked and saddened to learn of its star's death.

"We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends," the statement said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Shain had a magnetic personality, with a passion for life that touched everyone he met and we will miss him dearly."

Shooting for the second season of Buckwild had begun, but MTV spokesman Jake Urbanski said yesterday afternoon that it has been suspended.

MTV said the half-hour series in the old Jersey Shore time slot was pulling in an average of 3 million viewers per episode since its premiere and was the No. 1 original cable series on Thursday nights among 12- to 34-year-olds.

Buckwild has not been short of controversy.

Last week, 24-year-old Salwa Amin was sent back to jail for violating the terms of her bond following a February arrest. She was charged with two counts of drug possession with intent to deliver and initially jailed on $200,000 bond. That was later reduced to $100,000, but Amin remained behind bars without bond on Monday.

State Police say a multi-agency task force arrested Amin and two other people at a Summersville residence after receiving a tip from an informant. A search found oxycodone pills, heroin and $3,000 in cash.

Another cast member, Michael Douglas Burford, was charged in February with driving under the influence.

Urbanski said none of Gandee's colleagues were available for interview and none immediately planned to issue a statement. But their feelings came through on Twitter, where Ashley Whitt called her friend "the most amazing person I've ever known."

"I know you will be watching over me every time I hit a mudhole. You will always be my best friend, I love you!" she wrote.

Cast mate Cara Parrish and others asked fans to pray for Gandee's parents, Loretta and Dale. "This is the emptiest I've ever felt," she wrote in a tweet. 

AP

Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
artVoted for by the public, artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried