Our team has been reporting on the murders of Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly since 2018, and along the way, we’ve amassed a wealth of archival documents, photos, and recordings—much more material than we could include in the podcast. For each episode of the show, we’ll post some of that material here, along with original videos to bring you deeper into the case.

If you’d like to share any thoughts about the podcast, or about the murders of Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly, let us know here.

Listen to the show now on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Key Locations From the Podcast

Locations mentioned in “Shane and Sally”.

Episode 1: “A Long, Hot Summer”

Shane and Sally: Episode 1
Illustration by Vartika Sharma; Newspaper Clippings: Courtesy of Marshall Stewart

On July 4, 1988, sixteen-year-old Shane Stewart and eighteen-year-old Sally McNelly went out for the night in their West Texas hometown, San Angelo. They watched the fireworks, stopped for burgers, and drove out to the lake outside of town. They were never seen alive again.

Watch our video series Inside the Episode, in which hosts Rob D’Amico and Karen Jacobs dive deeper into questions surrounding Shane’s abandoned car and what happened the night Shane and Sally went missing. Video by Owen Schwartzbard.

In the summer of 1988, as their parents waited for news from the authorities, Shane’s father, Marshall Stewart, began an investigation of his own, discovering that the teens may have been swept up in the town’s darkest undercurrents.

Shane and Sally Marshall Stewart
Marshall Stewart at his dining room table in San Angelo.Photograph by Brian Goldman

Marshall collected tips from around San Angelo and read books about violent cults and how to decipher satanic symbols.

He also collected news clippings about the case as the story spread well beyond San Angelo.

Shane and Sally cassette
A cassette tape with a recording from a source who contacted Marshall Stewart. Photograph by Brian Goldman
Shane and Sally note
As the case gained attention, Marshall received tips from all over the country. Photograph by Brian Goldman

In 1991, the TV show Unsolved Mysteries aired a segment on Shane and Sally’s murders. The show brought national attention to the case and publicized some key details for the first time—including the revelation that, three months before her disappearance, Sally had contacted Tom Green County sheriff’s deputy Larry Counts to turn in a gun that she said had been used in a murder. Shane’s father, Marshall Stewart; Sally’s mother, Pat Wade; and the San Angelo investigators who worked the case all appeared in dramatic reenactments in the show. 

You can watch that episode of Unsolved Mysteries here.

Voices you’ll hear in this episode include:

  • Marshall Stewart — Shane Stewart’s father
  • Pat Wade — Sally McNelly’s mother
  • Bill Wade — Sally McNelly’s stepfather
  • Nick Hanna — Tom Green County sheriff, former Texas Ranger
  • Terry Lowe — Lieutenant, Criminal Investigation Division, Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office, retired

Episode 2: Lost Horizons

Shane and Sally: Episode 2
Illustration by Vartika Sharma; Sally: Courtesy of Bill Wade; Shane: Courtesy of Marshall Stewart

In the fall of 1987, Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly met through mutual friends and began dating. Shane was tall and confident. Sally loved to be the center of attention and moved easily between groups of friends. Later that year, the two began spending more time with a group of teenagers who met to practice occult rituals. Some friends say the group’s chants and candles were just games, but by the summer of 1988, something had changed. Sally told one friend that she and Shane were leaving San Angelo together, to get away from the group. That was just before the two of them disappeared.

Watch our video series Inside the Episode, in which hosts Rob D’Amico and Karen Jacobs discuss how the the “Satanic panic” of the eighties became a factor in the murder investigation. Video by Owen Schwartzbard.

In June 2017, the San Angelo Standard-Times published news of a potential breakthrough in the case. At the home of John Gilbreath—who investigators say was a possible suspect—authorities found evidence that seemed connected to the case. There were notes about the crime scene, a cassette tape labeled “SS,” a lock of hair, a fingernail, and blood. The sensational news spread to larger outlets, including the Daily Mail. What went unreported, though, was a discovery months later that DNA analysis did not connect the evidence to Shane or Sally.

San Angelo in the late 1970s.
San Angelo in the late 1970s.Don Hutcheson/The Portal to Texas History/University of North Texas Libraries

Marshall Stewart remembers San Angelo in the eighties as having a “hometown feel. . . . When you went into the grocery store, you almost always saw people that you knew.” The city is three hours from the bigger metros of San Antonio and Lubbock. It’s one of the biggest cities in the country without an interstate running through it.

The 1987 teen vampire movie The Lost Boys resonated with many of the teenagers growing up in a town that sometimes felt so isolated. One group of boys formed their own “Lost Boys” society to patrol San Angelo, particularly the Drag along Sherwood Way.

The movie also struck a chord with Shane. In the months before he died, he began dressing in black, bleached his hair, and had it cut in the style of Kiefer Sutherland’s vampire character from the movie. According to investigators’ notes, Shane and Sally’s favorite song was the Lost Boys theme, “Cry Little Sister.” The song was on a tape found in Shane’s car the morning after they disappeared.

The gravesites of Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly.
The grave sites of Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly.Photograph by Brian Goldman

As you’ll hear in this episode, Shane and Sally were buried side by side, at a cemetery just a few blocks from the Drag. According to investigators’ notes, members of the “Lost Boys” club attended the funeral in matching jackets.

Shane Stewart
Shane Stewart as a child. Courtesy of Marshall Stewart
Marshall Stewart
Marshall Stewart with his sons, Sean (right) and Shane. Courtesy of Marshall Stewart

Voices you’ll hear in this episode include:

  • Marshall Stewart — Shane Stewart’s father
  • Sean Stewart — Shane’s brother
  • J. J. Edwards — husband of Shane’s late mother, Caroline Stewart
  • Pat Wade — Sally McNelly’s mother
  • Bill Wade — Sally McNelly’s stepfather
  • Diane — Sally’s friend, under a pseudonym
  • Allen Stewart — Shane’s cousin
  • Lee Parker — former San Angelo “Lost Boys” member
  • Michael Heath — Sally’s friend
  • Valerie Castillo — Shane and Sally’s friend

Episode 3: “An Open Investigation”

Shane and Sally: Episode 3
Illustration by Vartika Sharma; O.C. Fisher Lake: Karen Jacobs

In episode three, we focus on the official investigation into Shane and Sally’s murders, beginning on the morning of July 5, 1988, when Shane’s abandoned Camaro was found at O.C. Fisher Lake.

In the next installment of our video series Inside the Episode, hosts Rob D’Amico and Karen Jacobs discuss the challenge investigators faced as they tried to determine what happened using the evidence from the crime scene. Video by Owen Schwartzbard.

In this episode, investigators Larry Counts—then a patrol deputy with the Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office—and David Jones—then an investigator with the Texas Department of Public Safety—detail their initial work and the challenges with the crime scenes.

You’ll also hear from two men who have now been investigating the murders for more than a decade: Tom Green County Sheriff Nick Hanna and retired Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office lieutenant Terry Lowe.

Sheriff Nick Hanna, on February 23, 2024.
Sheriff Nick Hanna on February 23, 2024.Photograph by Brian Goldman

Hanna, pictured above, began working the case while he was a member of the Texas Rangers, assigned to investigate cold cases. Terry Lowe, pictured below, was brought onto the case in 2013 by David Jones, who by then had been elected sheriff of Tom Green County. During the episode, Lowe unpacks bags of evidence from the case, including Shane’s red jacket and blue jeans.

Voices you’ll hear in this episode include:

  • Larry Counts — former deputy, Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office; one of the original investigators
  • Terry Lowe — Lieutenant, Criminal Investigation Division, Tom Green County Sheriff’s Office, retired
  • David Jones — former Tom Green County sheriff, former Texas Department of Public Safety investigator
  • Nick Hanna — Tom Green County sheriff; former Texas Ranger