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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

MTV Reality Star Found Dead Near His Home

Buckwild's Shain Gandee and two others were found dead Monday in an apparent off-roading accident.

Shain Gandee, one of the stars of the MTV reality series "Buckwild," was found dead Monday morning along with two others inside a car near his rural West Virginia home. 

Buckwild's Shain Gandee and two others were found dead in an apparent off-roading accident. (AP)
Buckwild's Shain Gandee and two others were found dead in an apparent off-roading accident. (AP)

According to West Virginia police officials, the 21-year-old Gandee, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and 27-year-old Donald Robert Myers, had been missing since Sunday morning.  The three were last seen early Sunday around 3:00 a.m. at a bar in Sissonville, West Virginia, and reportedly told people they were going off-roading.

Kanawha County Sheriff's Cpl. B.D. Humphreys found a 1984 Ford Bronco in a ditch stuck in the mud with the three men inside.  The cause of their deaths is still under investigation, but early reports seem to show it was an off-roading accident.  According to Humphreys, the car's muffler was below the surface and mud covered the passenger side.  No foul play is expected. 

Humphreys said that state police were preparing to send out an aviation unit to search for the men when authorities got word of a wrecked vehicle a few miles from Gandee's home in Sissonville, 15 miles outside of Charleston. 

Humphreys described the terrain of the area as "very muddy, very rough," and added that authorities had to use all-terrain vehicles to get to the site of the accident. 

MTV released a statement Monday saying it was shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of Gandee.

"We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends," the popular network 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."

Shain was a breakout star of the show, which followed a group of young friends and their wild antics in the West Virginia countryside.   Buckwild ended filming its first season last year and shot mostly in Sissonville and Charleston.

Kanawha County Commission President, Kent Carper, said Monday that the small West Virginia community was devestated by the loss of Gandee.

"It's a very sad day for the Sissonville area and for these families," Carper 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."

One neighbor of Gandee's, Swanna Frampton, knew Shain since he was a child, and said that they way he was portrayed on the show shouldn't be how people remember him.

"He loved to live and have fun.  He was a great person," said Frampton.  "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."

None of Gandee's Buckwild cast-mates were available for interview Monday, but some went to social media site Twitter to express their emotions.  One cast-mate, Ashley Witt, called Gandee "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 ny best friend, I love you!” Witt tweeted. 

Another Buckwild cast-mate, Cara Parrish, asked fans to pray for Gandee’s family.  She tweeted Monday, “This is the emptiest I've ever felt.”

 Shooting for the second season of Buckwild had been underway, but Jake Urbanski, a spokesperson for MTV, said Monday that it had been suspended. 


He will be missed

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