Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

4 Years Later, Mystery Still Shrouds McStay Family
NBC San Diego ^ | Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014 | Monica Garske

Posted on 02/05/2014 11:49:02 AM PST by nickcarraway

The McStay family, who lived in Fallbrook, vanished on February 4, 2010

Tuesday marked exactly four years since San Diego’s McStay family vanished without a trace, leaving few clues behind in a case that has baffled San Diego law enforcement and captured international attention.

The family – parents Joseph and Summer McStay and their young sons, 4-year-old Gianni McStay and 3-year-old Joseph Matteo McStay – disappeared from their home in Fallbrook on Feb. 4, 2010.

After more than three years of no resolve in the case of San Diego's missing McStay family, the case got a major break on November 15, 2013, when officials in San Bernardino confirmed they had found the remains of the McStays in a remote desert area.

Over the next few years there were few breaks in the mysterious case, that is, until a grim discovery last fall.

On Nov. 11, 2013, the skeletal remains of the McStay family were found in and around shallow graves in the high desert outside of Victorville, Calif. The remains were positively identified as the family by San Bernardino County officials during a press conference. At that time, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said investigators had not yet determined the cause or motive behind the deaths of the McStays, including if the family may have fallen prey to Mexican cartels.

Since that disheartening discovery, law enforcement investigators – including the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and FBI – have shifted their focus from finding the missing family to figuring out exactly what happened to them.

However, four years to the date of the family’s disappearance, their case remains unsolved.

Over the years, the mystery of the McStays has been filled with twists, turns and dead ends.

On Feb. 8, 2010, just days after the family vanished, a group of four people resembling the McStays was captured on grainy surveillance video crossing into Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing.

This was the same day a white Isuzu Trooper belonging to the family was found illegally parked at a nearby strip mall. At the time, detectives felt it was “a very high probability” that the footage was of the missing family.

When officials showed the video to relatives of the McStay family, some recognized the white jacket the woman in the video was wearing. However, other relatives said they weren’t sure it was the McStays due to the poor quality of the video.

Since the family’s sudden disappearance, the McStays hadn't used their bank accounts, credit cards or cell phones, investigators have repeatedly said.

In April 2013, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department announced they were transferring the case of the McStay family to the FBI. The sheriff’s department said they had “conducted an exhaustive missing person investigation in an attempt to locate the family” and hundreds of tips had been investigated without success. At that point, the sheriff’s department said they had reached a consensus that the family went to Mexico of their free will.

After the remains of the family were discovered in November 2013, Joseph McStay’s brother, Michael McStay, vowed to get to the bottom of what happened to his loved ones.

“We’re going to find this individual, or individuals. I know the sheriff’s department, the FBI, everybody wants to bring this to justice. And, if it’s the last thing I do – I just want to know when it’s over,” said Michael, between tears, at that emotionally-charged press conference.

Over the years, Michael has managed and updated a website documenting the case and search for his relatives.

To date, he continues to sporadically post messages on the website, including an announcement about a public memorial service and beach paddle-out held for the family at the San Clemente Pier in Southern California last month.

At that paddle-out, surfers made their way into the water holding hands in remembrance of the McStay family as a large crowd of family and friends looked on from the sand and cheered. Orchids were released into the water and candles were lit in loving tribute of the family whose story has touched so many.


TOPICS: Local News; Society
KEYWORDS: california; mcstayfamily; sandiego

1 posted on 02/05/2014 11:49:02 AM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
More on this story from last April

FBI taking over investigation of family's mysterious 2010 disappearance
CNN ^ | 04/10/2013 | Gabriel Falcon
 

Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 3:22:04 PM by Responsibility2nd

2 posted on 02/05/2014 11:53:58 AM PST by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

This one has me curious beyond measure… WTH really happened ?


3 posted on 02/05/2014 11:54:44 AM PST by al baby (Hi MomÂ… I was refereeing to Obama)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: al baby

They mcleft (haha nailed it)


5 posted on 02/05/2014 11:55:40 AM PST by Roscoe Karns
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: nickcarraway

If the family didn’t have a drug connection, probably the cartels wouldn’t have been interested in them. I’d suspect it was a fleeing individual, related to drugs or not, who may or may not have been Mexican (that is, he may have fled into Mexico either because he had connections there or because it was nearby and he was running from something here).

It’s always possible that the family saw something or knew something, but in that case, I think they simply would have been killed in their house as a message.

Terrible story, in any case.


7 posted on 02/05/2014 11:57:19 AM PST by livius
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: al baby

My first questions would be:

1. Did either of parents use or sell any kind of drugs?
2. Did either parent have any friends use or sell drugs?
3. Did any family member use or sale drugs?
4. Was there any inheritance in question?
5. Were both parents the natural parents of the children?
6. Who were their employers and did they associate with or were they related to any drug dealers or cartel members?
7. Did either have an affair going on/or previous to the family going missing. Any stalking, threats, or employment romance?

It would be logical all of these questions have been asked, but this is a curious cold case as you said. The drug questions are first for me because children aren’t usually murdered over an affair, in a crime of jealous passion, and if an inheritance is involved due to being minors. Drug cartels have no mercy.


8 posted on 02/05/2014 12:11:39 PM PST by Kackikat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway

As I recall, their family dinner was on the table, and other items, like milk, were out of the fridge, as though they were surprised and suddenly taken out of the home. My speculation is that they were taken up to Victorville in the family car and then the killer or killers drove back to the border in the car and disappeared across the border. Which means the killer was most likely Mexican. So far, there are no ties that we know of to illegal drugs. So then what is it, a robbery gone wrong, mistaken identity, crazy illegal rapist?? It is a big mystery. I hope it is solved someday.


9 posted on 02/05/2014 12:13:44 PM PST by Defiant (Obama is The Bard of Canard.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Kackikat
Drug cartels have no mercy.

"Taken from their home in Fallbrook." That town is about 56 miles north of San Diego and not that close to the Mexican border , so i would expect little or no contact with a drug cartel, or illegals entering across the border.

Obviously everybody is a suspect, I just find it odd drug cartels would be mentioned.- Tom

10 posted on 02/05/2014 12:24:19 PM PST by Capt. Tom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Roscoe Karns

Exactly. They just decided not to mcstay.


11 posted on 02/05/2014 12:26:00 PM PST by huckfillary
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
Two words: Drug debt.

Didn't the McStays come up with lots of money and bought a house even though they were 'broke'? I'm thinkin' this was a hit due to an unpaid drug debt, and SHE is the broker or mule who turned her back on her handlers.

12 posted on 02/05/2014 12:27:55 PM PST by CivilWarBrewing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: Capt. Tom

I’m unfamiliar with the case, being on east coast...however to kill a whole family implies some illegal activity or jealousy....money at stake, or they saw something somewhere that was incriminating to the perpetrator’s identity. Crimes of passion rarely involve the children, unless Identity is involved, but if no crime scene at the home, other than abduction, it seems that would not be it. Puzzling.


14 posted on 02/05/2014 12:36:59 PM PST by Kackikat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Capt. Tom

Gotta be drug-related! It’s POSSIBLE some cartel thugs hijacked a family (the McStays) at random to go across the border and bring back drugs, with the promise they’d be paid handsomely for it. Once they made it back across the border with the drugs they were transported to a random remote location and wiped out. This could happen to ANY family living even remotely close to the border because it is EXTREMELY difficult for investigators to to tie the events together as they are random victims and transported to remotelocations chosen randomly on a whim.


15 posted on 02/05/2014 12:59:33 PM PST by CivilWarBrewing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Kackikat

If it was a cartel wanting to send a “message” why bury them? You leave them out to be found as a warning to others.

Sounds like it was something very personal to the killers.


16 posted on 02/05/2014 1:22:56 PM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need 7+ more ammo. LOTS MORE.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: F15Eagle

I know the border, I have been to Fallbrook many times, and I have dirtbiked in the desert outside Victorville, where they found the bodies. It does make it less likely that a mere migrant or random bad guy drove up to Victorville and then absconded across the border. Such a person would probably have left the bodies in the house and hightailed it out of the US, not driven so far away to dispose of the bodies. At this point, there is nothing but pure conjecture. But we can assume that whoever it was wanted the bodies to remain undiscovered for a while, and that they wanted to throw off the scent for authorities by bringing the car back to the border. I think it’s also likely that the killer went over the border, but it’s possible that that too was a ruse. We will have to wait and hope to find out, I guess.


17 posted on 02/05/2014 1:36:25 PM PST by Defiant (Obama is The Bard of Canard.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Capt. Tom

I think people are looking for a connection to Mexico because their car was found within an easy walk of the border crossing. Odd that their car was there since it was not near their home or where their bodies were eventually found.

I doubt Cartel connection myself because Cartel murders are usually to send a message to others and bodies would likely not have been hidden. I say that though many murdered in Mexico by Cartel have been found buried in the desert. If Cartel related there must have been a connection of some sort the murderer thought would be made to them- reason for hiding/burying bodies. Seems no such connection has been made so if true it isn’t obvious.


18 posted on 02/05/2014 2:05:17 PM PST by Tammy8
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

I don’t think it was a message of any kind, more like being in wrong place at wrong time and seeing something that happened and being able to identify the killers or kidnappers, etc....
OR like you said.... something personal, as my questions noted. There is something unknown to law enforcement and those investigating this crime.


19 posted on 02/05/2014 3:25:30 PM PST by Kackikat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Your paintings are fantastic....what a talent!


20 posted on 02/05/2014 3:27:57 PM PST by Kackikat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: al baby

Kavanaugh and an associate took them to Victorville and planted them.


21 posted on 02/05/2014 3:52:12 PM PST by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: livius

If it was a drug cartel why the hell would they drive them all the way to San bernardino to Bury them? If they had crossed into Mexico and somehow had an issue with a drug cartel they would have been killed and dumped there, the cartel are not shy about doing that. I don’t know any better than anyone else as far as what happened but I just don’t by the drug cartel bit. Also plenty of places around Fallbrook to make bodies disappear.


22 posted on 02/05/2014 4:57:28 PM PST by Mastador1 (I'll take a bad dog over a good politician any day!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

This is an old topic, here’s some updates from November:

Business partner killed Joseph McStay, wife and young boys, police say
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mcstay-family-new-details-20141107-story.html

Chase Merritt, man accused of murdering McStay family, was writing book about case
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/man-arrested-in-mcstay-murders-was-writing-book-about-case/


23 posted on 01/18/2015 12:59:34 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson