Shane Fell met up with his brother, Brett Fell, on the evening of Thursday, June 9, 2011. They played pool at a daiquiri shop in Marrero, Louisiana for a couple of hours, then left in separate cars around 12:30 am. Shane was on his way home when he lost control of his car while driving on a winding stretch of River Road; his car flipped and ended up in a ditch between Klein Road and Marrero Road. The 36-year-old managed to climb out of his wrecked car through one of its windows.
Brett found out about the accident when he called Shane a few minutes later to see if he had made it home safely. He immediately headed for the scene of the accident and arrived about 20 minutes after Shane had crashed, but he was unable to find his brother. A few police officers got there around the same time, and they searched the area but were unable to locate Shane. One of his shoes was found stuck in the mud near his flipped car, but Shane had vanished. He didn’t answer any calls to his cell phone and was never seen again.
It wasn’t clear what kind of injuries Shane might have gotten in the car crash. He told Brett he was fine and that he sounded fine when they talked. He didn’t seem scared; he knew he was on River Road. He made a lot of sense at the time.” After the accident, Shane told Brett that he was going to try to find a way home. Brett, on the other hand, told Shane that he was going to drive to the scene and wait for him.
Brett’s brother called him back a short time after they talked. Brett thought it was because he was still shaking from the car accident that he sounded a little scared on this call. Shane checked with Brett to make sure he was on his way, and Brett told him he would be there soon.
There were already a few police officers and emergency medical technicians at the scene when Brett got to where Shane’s car was lying upside down in a ditch. When a man driving down River Road saw the flipped car, he called 911 and told the operator that the windscreen wipers were moving, but he wasn’t sure if anyone was inside the car. The dispatcher said she would send police and EMS to the scene of the accident because she thought someone might be trapped in the car. Shane was nowhere to be found in the short time it took them to get there.
A report from the accident says that firefighters and state troopers searched the area at 1:30 am but couldn’t find Shane. Police were sent to Shane’s house to see if he had a ride. When they couldn’t find him there, one of the officers went to West Jefferson Hospital’s emergency room to see if Shane had gone there to get help. When police found out that Shane wasn’t at the hospital, they thought that alcohol probably played a role in the accident and that Shane was probably hiding somewhere to avoid being charged with driving while drunk.
Friends and family of Shane didn’t think he was just hiding from the police. Because they were worried about his safety, they searched the area around where his car went off the road for three days, hoping to find some clues about where he was. Amber Fell, his sister-in-law, said, “I’ve been in the ditches, I’ve been in the mud, we’ve been on the trails, the railway tracks and empty warehouses.” They found nothing.
On top of that, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office searched the nearby Mississippi River levee and the wooded area near where Shane wrecked his car. Louisiana State Police Sergeant Larry Dyess told reporters that they didn’t think Shane’s disappearance was caused by foul play. He said Shane had told his brother he was going to look for a ride home. Detectives thought he had left on his own and would return when he was ready.
Shane’s family and friends were sure that he would have called them if he could have. After he crashed his car, they thought he had either been a victim of murder or been in some kind of accident. It wasn’t clear what kind of injuries he might have gotten when he flipped his car. He told his brother he was fine, but it’s possible he hit his head or had internal injuries that weren’t obvious at first. When the police looked into the accident, they found that Shane wasn’t wearing his seat belt and that his car had flipped over at least once. It was likely that he had hurt his head in some way.
Amber was afraid that Shane had either fallen into the river and been hurt too badly to get out, or someone had picked him up and hurt him. She pointed out that Shane was very close to his family. He had just moved back to Louisiana from Savannah, Georgia, and didn’t have many friends. He typically kept in touch with his family every day, so not talking to them for days at a time was very strange for him. Because he liked his job as a technical writer, he never missed work without calling ahead of time.
On June 14, 2011, search dogs went through the area around the accident site. But it had rained and the grass had been cut down after the accident, which made things harder for the search dogs for sure. It was impossible for them to figure out where Shane had gone after getting out of his car. From above, helicopters looked over the area but found nothing.
It was Friday, June 17, 2011, and Shane’s family and friends held a candlelight vigil at the scene of the accident to pray for his safe return and bring attention to the crime. Brett told reporters, “I would give everything I have to find my brother.” Brett had taken time off from work to focus on looking for Shane.My life isn’t the same without him, and it never will be.
Friends spent some time on the road where the accident happened exactly one week ago the night before the vigil. They kept track of how many cars were on the road at that time and decided that someone had to have seen Shane walk away from his wrecked car. They were sure that someone in the area knew something about what had happened to Shane and begged that person to come forward.
Brett was scared that people would forget about his brother, he said. “Some people may forget over time, but we’re not.” We’re going to keep telling them we’re out here. “The search for him will not end.” People from Shane’s family and Texas EquuSearch were working together to search the area where he was last seen again.
Tim Miller, who started Texas EquuSearch, said it was one of the strangest cases he had ever seen. It didn’t seem likely to him that Shane had fallen into the Mississippi River. He was hoping that another search of the area would help him figure out what had happened to the missing man.
Three weeks after Shane went missing, his family raised money to put up a sign on I-10. They hoped that the billboard, which showed a picture of Shane and gave information about his case, would help them find new clues. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office was still looking into Shane’s disappearance, but detectives said they had run out of ideas and still didn’t know what happened to him after he crashed his car. He had just disappeared.
Weeks turned into months, and no one knew what happened to Shane. His family and friends did everything they could to keep his name in the news, but by September 2011, the case was beginning to lose its spark. Shane’s trail ended at the scene of the accident. He hadn’t used his cell phone or credit cards since he talked to his brother, and his bank accounts and credit cards were still empty.
Shane’s family kept putting up missing person flyers around the area, and several people who thought they had seen Shane gave them information. People who saw him last said he looked like he was homeless and might have had a head injury. He was last seen near the West Bank Motorway over the Labour Day weekend. The family was given new hope that Shane was still alive by the tips, and they said they would pay $10,000 for information that led to Shane’s recovery.
After months, it was clear that the case had stopped moving forward. On the eve of Shane’s first anniversary, his family still didn’t know much more than they did the night he disappeared. Brett said, “We still don’t know anything useful about where Shane is.” Everyone loves him, and we think about him all the time.
The family said they hadn’t heard from the police in months, but they kept praying that they would soon find out what happened. Brett said that they most wanted to be done with it. “I hope he’s out there, but I think something bad could have happened pretty quickly. Maybe he was trying to get away and fell into the street, where someone could have hit him or something.”
Shane had just moved back to Louisiana and hadn’t changed his address with the DMV yet, so he was still driving with a licence from Georgia when he went missing. Some of his friends said he might have hitched out of the area and eventually made it back to Georgia. If he had hurt his head, he might not have remembered that he still lived in Savannah if he was having memory loss. There, though, searches did not turn up any signs of the missing man.
Shane’s family has been looking for him for a long time. Tere Fell, his mother, is sure that her son is still alive, but she can’t remember who he is. There have been several reports of seeing Shane in different homeless camps, but none of them have been confirmed yet. It’s too bad that police don’t seem to be actively looking for Shane. He is still listed as missing in May 2023, but his case has been open for more than ten years.