SISSONVILLE, W.Va. - A cast member of the MTV reality show “Buckwild” was found dead Monday in a sport utility vehicle in a ditch along with his uncle and a third, unidentified person, authorities said Monday.
Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department Cpl. B.D. Humphreys said the bodies of cast member, Shain Gandee, 21, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and the third man were found Monday near Sissonville.
Authorities had been searching for the men since early Sunday morning. They were last seen around 3 a.m. Sunday at a bar in Sissonville and they told people they were going driving off-road.
Mr. Humphreys said state police were getting ready to send out an aviation unit to search for the men when authorities received a call Monday morning that a vehicle was found wrecked in a muddy area a few miles from Mr. Gandee’s home in Sissonville, about 15 miles outside of Charleston.
Authorities found the 1984 Ford Bronco that belonged to the Gandee family in a ditch with all three men inside. Mr. Humphreys did not provide details on the condition of the vehicle or the bodies. He said no foul play was expected.
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.”
Shain, nicknamed “Gandee Candy” by fans, was a breakout star of the show that followed the antics of a group of young friends enjoying a wild country lifestyle. It was filmed last year mostly around Sissonville and Charleston.
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 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.”
MTV announced in February that “Buckwild” would be picked up for a second season. It 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.
Associated Press Writer Vicki Smith contributed from Morgantown