SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (KDKA/CBS) - Authorities in West Virginia say a star of the MTV reality show "BUCKWILD" and two passengers all died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
West Virginia authorities say that Shain Gandee, one of the stars of the MTV reality show "BUCKWILD," has been found dead, along with his uncle and a third, unidentified person.
Kanawha County Sheriff's Cpl. B.D. Humphreys says 21-year-old "BUCKWILD" cast member Shain Gandee, his 48-year-old uncle David Gandee and 27-year-old Donald Robert Myers 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.
Gandee's 1984 Ford Bronco was stuck in a mud hole, its tail pipe submerged. It's possible the gas could have filled the cabin because of the clogged exhaust pipe.
The Kanawha County Sheriff's Department says autopsies completed Tuesday confirmed the three men died from the gas.
Their deaths have been ruled accidental.
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 Gandee's home in Sissonville, about 15 miles outside of Charleston.
Humphreys described the scene as being very remote and inaccessible by police vehicles, with investigators forced to use ATV's to gain access to the site.
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."
WOWK-TV reporter Lisa Robbins told NewsRadio 1020 KDKA that when the news broke that the one of the people found inside the car was Gandee, it quickly became a chaotic scene.
- Listen to WOWK-TV reporter Lisa Robbins talk about Gandee on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA:
"It was very bizarre," she said.
Robbins also said that many people initially thought the news was a sinister April Fool's joke.
"That's what everybody kept saying, 'Is this a joke? Is this a joke?'" Robbins said.
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.
"We are shocked and saddened by the terrible news about Shain Gandee, and those involved in this tragic incident," a spokesperson for MTV said in a statement. "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."
The network announced in February that it had ordered a second season of "Buckwild." 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.
Family members spent most of Easter Sunday searching for the men before calling 911 to report them missing. They were last known to be driving Shain Gandee's vehicles, a 1984 red and white Ford Bronco with oversized tires.
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."
Monday afternoon, fellow Buckwild cast member Michael "Bluefoot" Burford tweeted this:
Rest high on that mountain Shain I love you brother and miss you terribly already all I can think about is growin up thaxton holler together
— Buckwild's Bluefoot (@MTVBluefoot) April 1, 2013
The MTV show was filmed largely around Sissonville and Charleston.
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