‘Buckwild’ Star Shain Gandee Found Dead at 21
MTV's controversial reality show "Buckwild" just took a sad turn south. One of its stars, Shain Gandee, was found dead on Monday morning.
The 21-year-old's body was discovered in his Ford Bronco in Sissonville, West Virginia, around 11:30 a.m., alongside the dead bodies of his uncle, David Gandee, and a third unidentified person, according to a Kanawha County official.
Dispatchers received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. that the missing vehicle had been found. Officers used all-terrain vehicles to access the Bronco, which was found about a mile up a dirt road, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.
The reality star and his uncle David, 48, were last seen leaving Larry's Bar in the neighborhood around 3 a.m. and claiming that they were going to go four-wheeling. The pair's family reportedly searched for them on Sunday before calling 911 to declare them missing.
The younger Gandee was still a trash collector for the city of South Charleston when "Buckwild" first began shooting. The show followed a handful of college-aged West Virginians partying – kind of like "Jersey Shore" with a gritty, Southern flair.
Needless to say, there seems to be more drama off-camera than on for its stars. Since the show's premiere in early January, star Salwa Amin has been arrested twice and sent to jail for possession and intent to distribute heroin and OxyContin, while Michael Burford was arrested for a DUI.
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) reportedly sent a letter to MTV urging the network to put a stop to the show. "As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” he said. "I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’ Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong."
Still, the show has been renewed for a second season. The show's executive producer, John Stevens, once told Entertainment Weekly that it was Gandee – and the fact that he was a trash collector and had no cell phone – who made him think the show could be interesting.
"The parents have to go in the woods when I call to find him," he said. "Shain is usually out there on his ATV and motorcycle. That’s their idea of fun. That’s what so refreshing … These guys don’t have the crap in daily life that convolutes their lives."
A spokesperson for MTV said in a statement, "We are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee, and those involved in this tragic incident. We are waiting for more information but at this time, our main concern is for the Gandee family and their friends. 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."
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