A 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL SUMMONS THE COURAGE TO STOP A SERIAL KILLER IN HIS TRACKS AND SAVES AN INNOCENT MAN ACCUSED OF MURDER...HER STORY, IN HER WORDS ON 48 HOURS: LIVE TO TELL "HUNTING HUMANS," ON SATURDAY, FEB. 26, 2011
When 15-year-old Shea McDonough went to sleep on July 29, 2007, little did she know that by morning's light she and her brave family would be regarded as heroes who would ultimately save lives and clear the name of an innocent man suspected of murder. Shea and her family recount their harrowing story of survival on 48 HOURS LIVE TO TELL, "Hunting Humans," to be broadcast on Saturday, Feb. 26 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The close-knit McDonough family - Shea, her father, Kevin; her mother Jeannie; and her brother Ryan - were from Chelmsford, Mass., a town 30 miles outside of Boston. It was an oppressively hot summer night when Shea came home and left the back door unlocked for her brother, not knowing he was spending the night elsewhere. Hours after they fell asleep, Shea's parents were startled by the sounds of her whimpering. What Kevin and Jeannie thought might be a bad dream turned out to be a true nightmare. Shea had awakened to find a strange man dressed in black and wearing a mask, holding a knife to her neck, threatening to kill her if she made any noise. But a courageous Shea did make noise, bringing her parents into her room. Immediately the man went for Kevin with his knife. With a rush of adrenaline, Kevin, who was much smaller than the towering man, jumped on top of him trying to tackle him, while Jeannie tried to grab the knife and Shea ran to call 911. Having no choice but to grip the knife by the blade, Jeannie cut her hands when the mysterious man got up. Still on the attacker's back, Kevin, who wrestled in high school, then put him in a choke hold and pulled him to the floor and at that moment, grabbing the blade of the knife again, Jeannie hung on to it for dear life, refusing to let go.
When Detective George Tyros arrived at the scene, he learned that the man was heavily armed, but these were not your typical weapons - among his collection were Chinese throwing stars and a choking wire. The attacker's name was Adam Leroy Lane, a trucker from North Carolina, married with three daughters. A search of his truck revealed even more disturbing information - in addition to more weapons, authorities discovered a DVD player - inside was a movie entitled Hunting Humans, about a serial killer that goes around randomly murdering people without any motive or reason except for the joy of it. Authorities put out an APB to other police departments along the East Coast to see if there were other similar incidents. They would soon find out that Shea was not Adam Lane's first victim.
One of the first responses they got was from Detective Sgt. Geoff Noble with the New Jersey State Police. Detective Noble was investigating the murder of a 37-year-old woman named Monica Massaro of Bloomsbury, New Jersey, who had been stabbed multiple times in the sanctity of her own home, but they could not find any suspects. Among the evidence that police in Massachusetts recovered was a receipt from Bloomsbury dated July 29, 2007, the same day that Monica was murdered. Noble and investigators went to Chelmsford to question Adam Lane, and despite the fact that he wouldn't talk to the local authorities he willingly spoke to the investigators from New Jersey. Adam Lane confessed, giving a detailed account of killing Monica, including the fact that he had cut her jugular vein, stabbed her between her legs and in her stomach. Forensic tests of one of his knives revealed Monica's DNA...and that of another woman, Darlene Ewalt, a wife and mother from Harrisburg, Pa.
During the early part of September 2007, Todd Ewalt was subpoenaed to appear in front of a grand jury for the murder of his wife, Darlene, whose body was discovered on the back patio of the Ewalts' home with her throat cut. Todd's children never doubted their father's innocence, but police thought otherwise, regarding him as a prime suspect. That is until police got word that Darlene's blood was on the knife taken from Adam Lane. It was the game changer Todd Ewalt needed to prove his innocence.
Adam Lane was now facing murder charges in two states and multiple charges in the McDonough home invasion. The serial killer pled guilty to the attack on Shea and received 25 to 30 years, before going on to answer the charges in the other states. Determined to be at each hearing, the McDonoughs traveled to New Jersey to watch Adam Lane be sentenced to 50 years for the murder of Monica Massaro. Then on June 28, 2010, with both the McDonoughs and Monica Massaro's parents in attendance, the Ewalt family watched as Lane pled guilty to murdering Darlene and was sentenced to life in prison without parole in Pennsylvania.
The courage of Shea McDonough and her parents on the night of her attack ultimately brought down a serial killer and saved an innocent man, and through these tragedies three families have become intertwined forever.
The series was created by Judy Tygard and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer. This program was produced by Chris Young and Anthony Venditti. Jud Johnston, Gary Winter and Gregory F. McLaughlin are the producer-editors.