Police in Texas arrest suspect after a break in 29-year-old murder mystery
Search of John Cyrus Gilbreat’s home in San Angelo, Texas led to gruesome discovery linking him to 1988 murder of teens
Shane Stewart and his girlfriend, Sally McNelly disappeared July 4, 1988, they were found murdered four months later
Investigators searching Gilbreath’s home for ledgers used in narcotics trafficking found blood and a fingernail samples as well as audio tapes marked “SS”
The bio samples linked the home owner to the deaths of Stewart and McNelly, who police say were shot
The home search occurred after cops conducted a search of the suspect’s car and realized he was a drug distributor
Police in Texas may have finally caught a break in the 1988 murder of two teens after they discovered blood and a fingernail at a man’s home.
The gruesome discovery was made after officers pulled over a 47-year-old San Angelo man June 12, on suspicion of possession of marijuana. According to the Standard-Times, while searching John Cyrus Gilbreath’s home investigators found evidence linking him to the murders of Shane Stewart and his girlfriend, Sally McNelly.
The search of the suspect’s home was subsequent to the traffic stop on suspicion of possession of marijuana. The vehicle search, led to the discovery of half a pound of marijuana, a handgun and body armor. He was charged with possession of a dangerous drug, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and unlawful possession of metal or body armor by a felon.
Dorothy Sylliaasen, 41, a passenger in the vehicle during the traffic stop told police Gilbreath kept ledgers and scales in his home and that he travels to Austin to pick up large amounts of marijuana to distribute throughout Tom Green County.
Police then searched Gilbreath’s home “attempting to locate ledgers used in the criminal offense of narcotics trafficking”.
That’s when investigators stumbled upon personal writings “specific to the offense of murder” that included McNelly and Stewart’s names.
Authorities also found three audio tapes with “SS” on them, a lock of hair, biological material believed to be blood and a fingernail.
Shane Stewart and his girlfriend, Sally McNelly were murdered in 1989
Gilbreath is considered to be a person of interest in the 29-year cold case. He was released from county jail June 19. His bail was set at $175,000.
Sylliaasen was also arrested on drug possession charges.
The victims McNelly and Stewart disappeared July 4, 1988 after watching fireworks together at Lake Nasworthy.
Although a lake ranger discovered Stewart’s abandoned 1980 Chevrolet Camaro on July 5, parked near O.C. Fisher Reservoir, several miles from Lake Nasworthy it was not until four months later that a hunter found skeletal remains in the southeast portion of the south pool of Twin Buttes Reservoir.
The skeletal remains were found days apart in November 1988 and were later identified as the missing teens Shane Stewart and Sally McNelly,
Police determined the couple had both been shot, but didn’t have any other pieces of information on the crime and it wasn’t until 1994 that DNA was recovered from evidence near Stewart’s abandoned Camaro, but a match was not found in a nationwide DNA system.