CHARLESTON, W.Va. - For all his on-camera carousing and cussing, "Buckwild" reality TV star Shain Gandee was a publicly proclaimed and baptized Christian, and his mother told hundreds of mourners Sunday that she will see him again.
"I know where Shain is," Loretta Gandee told the family, friends and fans crammed into the Charleston Municipal Auditorium. "He said about a month ago, 'I know when I die I'm going to heaven.' "
Dressed in a hot-pink "Gandee Candy" T-shirt and jeans, she spoke only a few words but bellowed out an unaccompanied hymn, her voice echoing through the auditorium in prayer for their reunion.
Gandee, his 48-year-old uncle, David Gandee, and 27-year-old friend Donald Robert Myers were found dead April 1 in a sport utility vehicle that was partially submerged in a deep mud pit near Sissonville. They had last been seen leaving a bar at 3 a.m.
Autopsies determined all three died of carbon monoxide poisoning, possibly caused by the tailpipe being submerged in mud. That could have allowed the invisible gas to fill the vehicle's cabin.
Shain Gandee, nicknamed "Gandee Candy" by fans, was a breakout star of the show that followed the antics of young friends enjoying their wild country lifestyle. Season 1 was filmed last year, mostly around Sissonville and Charleston.
The Rev. Randy Campbell told the many young people in the crowd he understands that life bombards them with difficult choices. But he urged them to follow Shain Gandee's lead and embrace their faith now, while they are energetic and engaged.