Dade City singer loses guitar when car is repossessed

UPDATE: Johnny Shelton announced on Monday, Jan. 11 that his guitar has been returned. He thanked News Channel 8, and reporter Peter Bernard, for sharing the story.

PREVIOUS STORY: DADE CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Johnny Shelton’s songs mesmerized the judges on “America’s Got Talent” in 2015. He sings with passion and emotion, brought on in part by the tragic death of his 5-year-old son, Preston, from cancer.

“I’m trying to get better gigs so I feel like the name is starting to pop a little bit,” Shelton said.

Sitting on his father’s porch in Dade City, Shelton reflected on the ups and downs of trying to make it in show biz. His guitar vanished late Sunday night when his fiance’s car was repossessed. “The guitar and all my music equipment was in that. I just played four gigs that weekend. I just got home that evening and only been home for about 30 minutes, car got towed,” Shelton said.

Guitar stolen

He paid off the car, and most of his stuff was returned. However, he has not located a 3-month-old $700, charcoal black “Martin” custom mix guitar and case.

‘It kind of sucks but I’m just kinda getting through it. I’ve had a lot of friends, family come together and help out. My fiance’s boss, he’s stepped out and helped a little bit too,” Shelton said. “I’m just hoping it’s not sitting in a pawn shop somewhere.”

“It’s a non-living item. To me it felt like one of my babies are gone. It really hurts. Because you put all of your soul and emotions into this one thing,” he added.

The company that towed the car is trying to find the guitar. If it doesn’t, it’s promised to pay for a replacement.

Shelton said not winning “America’s Got Talent” took a toll on him. He lost some singing gigs during the TV run, which he’s just now getting back.

Shelton admits he’d like to be further ahead in his singing career but feels it’s out of his control. He’s got a new album in the works and has jobs lined up in the months ahead. He even has a job lined up at the Hard Rock Casino.

On a personal front, things are looking up for Johnny Shelton. He got engaged over the holidays. He also has a new nephew. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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