It’s rare when a news reporter gets actively involved in a news story or wants to – but on Wednesday night that’s the role thrusted upon KRIV reporter John Donnelly. He was the first local reporter to arrive on the scene during the latest developments in the Tynesha Stewart case.
When he got to the North end of town – he was initially covering the search effort of Equusearch with Stewart’s family. It was a half mile or so from Stewart’s ex-boyfriend’s apartment complex. Donnelly says it was just before 5 o’clock when activist Quanell X showed up. John says X asked him what Stewart’s ex-boyfriend Timothy Shepherd looked like, his criminal record and age. John provided the high profile activist with all the information. Eventually, the entire group – John, Stewart’s family and Quanell went back to Tynesha’s boyfriend’s apartment complex. After arriving there Quanell tells Donnelly to wait ten minutes then come to Stewart’s apartment. John says he did just that and as if on cue – Quanell walks out of the unit with the man everyone quietly suspected in Tynesha’s disappearance. But Quanell X and John Donnelly, an unlikely duo, weren’t done just yet. Quanell, walking arm in arm with with Shepherd, quietly talked while leaning on a fence at the apartment complex. After a brief period of time John says he saw tears flowing down the face of Shepherd. It was at that point Donnelly says he knew there was a confession. John then says Quanell walked over to him and said “get the investigator on the phone now.” John says he then called Harris County Sheriff’s Lt. John Martin. Martin responded and sent a load of investigators to the apartment complex. John says he eventually followed Quanell by car, who was being lead by Shepherd, to a dumpster that held the answers to a mystery nearly a week old. Where was Tynesha Stewart? Shepherd allegedly confessed to killing her and then dumping her lifeless body in a metal bin. Such an unfitting end to a young woman who had such a bright future and full life ahead of her. It was the conclusion to an investigation that is still not over. Tynesha’s body wasn’t in the dumpster. You see, the dumpster that Shepherd singled out has been emptied twice since her disappearance last Thursday. It’s obvious where investigators went tonight. A dump site. But it’s also clear that John Donnelly deserves recognition for going above and beyond to help a family find closure in what is seen as a heart breaking and horrific time. I send my prayers out to the family and I’m sure John does as well!