Crime

Couple needs new van after theirs became evidence in police murder

The van is tied up in the case of Steven Sheangshang, who is accused of killing a sheriff's deputy, stealing two vehicles, and shooting one other.

White van parked in a driveway
Scripps News Lexington
SMS

A van that was stolen during a crime spree that left a deputy dead likely won't be returned to the couple it was taken from, and the couple's son says they need help replacing it.

Steven Sheangshang was indicted Thursday in Scott County, Kentucky, on a number of counts, including a capital count of murder of a police officer. He's accused in a violent crime spree that began with the fatal shooting of Scott County Sheriff's Deputy Caleb Conley, and then continued with two stolen vehicles and another shooting victim.

One of the other counts against Sheangshang, first-degree robbery, stems from the allegation that he stole a van from Gary and Rebecca McQuain at gunpoint shortly after killing Deputy Caleb Conley.

Sheangshang then drove the van to Lexington, Kentucky, where he shot and injured another victim before taking that man's vehicle, according to police.

After the McQuains were told by authorities that their van had been recovered, they assumed their belongings, including Gary McQuain's wallet, would be returned within a few days.

But they soon learned that the van, their only vehicle, and everything in it was now evidence in what will likely be a long court case involving several serious charges.

They told Scripps News Lexington that they understand and aren't upset that their things need to be kept as evidence, but it has put them in "a real jam."

Beyond the task of replacing all of Gary McQuain's identification cards, it's left them with the possible need for a car payment they can't afford. The McQuain's are both retired, and Rebecca McQuain works part-time at Walmart to supplement their fixed income.

Scripps News Lexington

"Our van was paid off, we had put almost $2,500 into it this year, it was running in tip-top shape," Rebecca McQuain said. "It was 2018, had 77 plus thousand miles on it … I wouldn't have hesitated to get in it to drive across country."

But now the couple likely won't be getting the van back, and they said they probably wouldn't want it back if they could. The couple said Sheangshang was bleeding when he robbed them at gunpoint, and they assume there's now blood in the van. They also recently learned that there's a bullet hole in it.

"I really don't want it back," Rebecca McQuain said. "I hate that we've lost it, but I really don't want that particular vehicle back, it's just got too much … bad memories I guess."They say their insurance company plans to treat the van as totaled once they get paperwork from authorities confirming that it won't be returned. But the insurance money for the value of their older, paid off van won't be enough for them to get a new reliable van, they said.

"Gary's got a lot of wonderful traits, but mechanic is not it," Rebecca McQuain said. "So we need something that we can depend on."

The couple said they had no plans to set up a GoFundMe for themselves, but their son set one up for them.

As the McQuains continue to go through the aftermath of what happened on May 22, they say more than anything their hearts are with the family of Deputy Caleb Conley.

"The hardest part of this whole thing has been the way a young mother and two young children are getting along," Gary McQuain said. "Because their dad and their husband is gone. It's having thoughts about what went on and even a dream or two. That's the part of this whole thing that bothers me the most."

Their insurance is currently covering the rental of a van, but that won't last forever.

This story was originally published by Leigh Searcy and Morgan Eads at Scripps News Lexington.