Image: Christopher Daniel Gay
AP file
Christopher Daniel Gay is accused of escaping from a prisoner transport van and then stealing a country singer's tour bus on a trek to visit his sick mother.
updated 2/7/2007 11:01:26 PM ET 2007-02-08T04:01:26

The mother of a man accused of escaping from a prison van, stealing country singer Crystal Gayle's tour bus, and trekking hundreds of miles in a failed attempt to see her has died after a long battle with cancer.

Anna Shull died Wednesday, almost three weeks after Christopher Daniel Gay, 33, allegedly escaped from a prisoner transport van near Hardeeville, S.C., and stole a series of vehicles in what authorities said was an attempt to see her.

Services for Shull were scheduled for Saturday, said Donny Ayers Jr., a partner at Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home in Murfreesboro. Her age could not immediately be confirmed, but previous reports have listed her as 56.

The cause of death was not released, but Shull told media and local authorities before she died that she was suffering from cancer.

Arrested while driving tour bus
Her son is currently in jail in Daytona Beach, Fla., near where he was caught Jan. 26 after a 1,000-mile manhunt, at the end of which he was driving Gayle's tour bus. He was arrested before he was able to see his mother.

Gay has a long criminal record and is expected to face various charges in Florida before outstanding escape and theft charges in Tennessee and other states.

An officer at the Daytona Beach Justice Center confirmed Gay was still in custody there Wednesday night and said inmates are usually not allowed to attend funerals outside the county.

Gay's escape inspired a Nashville songwriter to write a folk song about him, entitled "The Ballad of Christopher Daniel Gay."

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