For many people, going to the annual fireworks display would be considered the most patriotic way of celebrating the fourth of July. However, for one Texas couple on July 4, 1988 it would be the last event they would ever attend, and the last time they would be seen alive. The young San Angelo couple, Sally McNelly, and Shane Stewart were your typical small-town couple loved by many the two decided to head to lake Nasworthy in San Angelo, Tx with romantic plans to watch the fireworks display.
With promises to return home by 11 pm that night it seems the couple would never make it to their respected homes, after Shane Stewart failed to return home, Stewarts father would go out looking for his missing son that night, finding no sign, or clue of Stewart’s location. The following day a police search for the young couple would discover Shane’s prized chevy Camaro abandoned near Twin Buttes, another lake in the San Angelo area four months later in November hunters would find the body of Sally McNelly in a pasture, the body of Shane Stewart would be found close by.
Upon examination it was determined that the couple both died from gunshot wounds. Despite thorough investigations, the murder case would go cold for thirty-one years, before Investigators would have a solid lead in connection to the murders.
In June of 2017, San Angelo native John Cyrus Gilbreath would be arrested on several unrelated felony cases. Charged with possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by felon, and possession of body armor by felon, authorities would end up searching Gilbreath’s home on a suspected drug trafficking warrant. Once inside the home police would allegedly find three tapes that had “SS” written on them, handwritten notes and ledgers that mention the victims, as well as a lock of hair, fingernail, and blood all this evidence would immediately make Gilbreath a person of interest in the 1988 murders.
Currently there is no other information regarding Gilbreath’s trial, or if a trial date has been set yet. In 1991 the murders were featured in the popular T.V. show Unsolved Mysteries, in which it was believed that the couple had been murdered as a part of a satanic cult that the couple were allegedly involved with. Now with evidence against Gilbreath there may be a chance that the families of the murdered teens could finally have some closure for the thirty-one year old Investigation.