true crime

Crucial evidence found in a felon's home could unlock a 1988 double murder.

Shane Stewart gave his father a hug and walked out the door of his family’s home in San Angelo, Texas. He was off to meet his girlfriend Sally McNelly and together they would watch Independence Day fireworks.

Return by 11pm, his father said, no later. But the 16-year-old never came home.

That was 29 years ago.

Stewart’s empty Camaro was found the following day beside a local lake, but it took five months before the teenage couple’s skeletal remains were found more than six kilometres away near the Twin Buttes Reservoir.

Authorities determined the pair had died from gunshot wounds, but for nearly three decades whoever pulled the trigger has remained at large.

After years of prayers and tears from their loved ones, after countless hours of investigation, after fingers were wildly pointed (a true crime TV special pointed to a satanic cult), this month police have a credible suspect.

Sally and Shane. Image: Facebook.

According to The San Angelo Standard-Times, crucial evidence relating to the case was uncovered at the home of a local man arrested following a traffic stop.

While executing a search of the home of 47-year-old felon John Cyrus Gilbreath on June 12 officers “attempting to locate ledgers used in the criminal offence of narcotics trafficking" reportedly discovered items "specific to the offence of murder" that included Stewart and and McNelly's names, as well as three audio tapes with "SS" written on them.

The search warrant affidavit obtained by the outlet also reported the discovery of “biological substances including but not limited to hair; blood; fingernails".

The FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit has been called to assist in the case, but no charges have been laid.

Listen: What makes a murder victim? Post continues below.

Since their teens' 1988 murders, Stewart and McNelly's parents have tirelessly campaigned for the person responsible to turn themselves in.

In a video posted to YouTube on the 25th anniversary of the crime, the girl's mother, Pat Wade, said she needed justice for the "beautiful" young couple.

"It's not something we need for us," she said.

"There is no healing for us. We just want peace for the kids."