Who killed Joey and Summer McStay – Review of the case, Part Two

UPDATE 11/7/14 – Chase has been arrested for the murder of the McStay family.

I have written many articles on the McStay case.  Please follow the links in the article below or put McStay in the search box above to see them all.

It seems, despite all the evidence that Patrick McStay, Joseph’s father gave to the police that showed that his family did NOT voluntarily leave, the more the police dug in their heels and clung to their theory that they did leave voluntarily.

It’s as thought the police concluded a grainy video, a computer search and the purchase of a Spanish speaking software product confirmed the McStay’s went to Mexico for good.  The hundreds of other facts, like they left their dog behind, left at night, left behind a substantial amount of money in the bank, text messages, and a million other clues was disregarded.  Even a PI who investigated the case, told them there was foul play and he felt the family was dead. There was more evidence that the family disappeared INvoluntarily than voluntarily, but the police decided the latter was what happened. And you couldn’t shake them from that thought no matter how much information Patrick threw at them.

Patrick worked the case over the years and gave the police bank statements showing someone transferring money from Joseph’s bank account via Paypal starting on Feb. 6, way before they were reported missing.  Patrick even found an email from the same person sent from Joseph’s email account to Summer’s that was threatening in nature, stating he would shut down Joseph’s website if he did not pay him money.   The person also used his own grandfather’s account to transfer money from Joseph’s account.

Per Patrick, instead of the police embracing the information, he was told that what the person did was not illegal, because he had the password, which Patrick told them they he was never given, and must have gotten by hacking into the account or some other way.  The threatening email was ignored as well.  That same person was arrested for battery, two years after the McStay’s went missing.

As many know over the course of the years, Patrick has come up with several suspects.  Please note, that Patrick has had suspects in mind since his family first disappeared.  The police never mention a person of interest they were looking at.

I am sure in order to protect himself, Patrick has referred to the people by their initials.

Although the above individual I spoke of before, who transferred money from Patrick’s account and eventually sold Joseph’s fountain website seems like a viable person of interest, it is not the only one, although after what I am about to tell you, you won’t be able to imagine there is anyone else.

The person that Patrick is the most interested in the police talking to is the man that Joseph asked the Child Protection Services to check on in regards to abuse in a home.  (Please note that many people were talked to regarding this case via telephone and not in persons–kinda hard to tell if someone is lying when you are talking to them on the phone.)  When the person found out what Joseph had done, he threatened him.  Summer seemed to be the most worried about the incident and even talked to Little Joseph and Gianni about it and recorded a video of their answers.  The person told Joseph, [approximately] he needed to shut her [Summer] up or he would do it.  The case was dropped by CPS and found unfounded.  This is the most recent event that happened to the family before they disappeared.

Another suspect, as far as social media is concerned is a partner of Joseph’s that he called the day he disappeared and in fact called many, many time over the course of the day.

According to T-Mobile G1 cell phone records for Joseph’s phone, at 7:47 p.m. on Thursday night, he made one outbound call.,  Then at 8:28 p.m., Joseph’s phone called Chase Merritt.  Merritt has said publicly he didn’t answer the phone, and wished he had.  There were no further calls or text from that phone.  Mail Online did an interview with Chase after I wrote this article today.  You can read it here.

And, while we are on the subject of cell phones, lets jump over to Summer’s cell phone.  She received a call at 4:42 p.m. on Thursday, that pinged the same tower as Joseph’s on the night of the disappearance.  Then on Friday, eight text messages were received on her phone, three from Joseph and Summer’s friend.  On Saturday four texts. Those text messages pinged another tower on the opposed site of the San Luis Rey River per Patrick.

What many may not know is that Joseph did pay this individual a lot of money to leave his website alone.  As per the deal he was to no longer bother him, his family or the website, but here he is calling Summer the day after she went missing.  And he also was the one, according to the LA Times, that called the police on Feb. 10, and told them he was not able to reach the family.  Four days later Joseph’s brother, Mike McStay, also called the sheriff’s office to report them missing.

Interestingly, somewhere along the line, a deputy, told the McStay family that “Something bad had happened.”  The McStay family hoped that the statement would help reclassified the case, but the Citizen’s Law Enforcement review board said there was no evidence uncovered to show a crime had been committed to warrant another classification in 2012.

Lastly, there has been mention of a McGyver that may be involved but I have seen nothing but friendship and concern from him and he should not be considered.  Even he has asked why law enforcement did not get his cell phone records in order to help find the McStay’s, and it was left to him to “battle trying to get this from my carrier.”

Tolls and subscriber information is a routine procedure that all law enforcement does and there is even a form used to get this information, that is filled-out and faxed to the cell phone company that has a department that specializes in honoring those requests.   Why the police did not gather McGyver’s cell phone information is a mystery to me, other than they had all they needed from Summer’s records, and dismissed McGyver as involved early on.

You might also like, Did the police rush judgement on what happened to the McStay’s?

McStay:  The 67 inch apart tire tracks

About Missing Persons Admin 4369 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

49 Comments

  1. The more I read about this case the more it seems someone came into the McStay home and ushered the family off under the threat of physical violence. Otherwise, what man would take his wife, much less his kids, into a hostile environment? This individual forced the family into their Isuzu Trooper while an accomplice or accomplices followed them. At some point, under the same threat, Joey McStay gave away his personal information. The family was then escorted out to the desert and executed. The killer then walked back to the car driven by his accomplices and drove away from the scene. Given the proximity to Mexico the Cartel has to be considered as a suspect. They are known for executing entire families as a lesson to those who cross them or those who do not ante up what is owed.

  2. Lyn, your scenario makes a lot of sense, except for the Cartel piece. The Mexican Cartel isn't known for identity theft. They are known for drugs and human trafficking. But how the McStays were taken–the events as you lay them out, were the conclusion I came to as well, only I believe the killers were after “information”–they were hoping to buy some time to own Joey's identity, just long enough to drain his accounts. The family was collateral damage.

  3. Jerrie, I thought I've read that their phones were found at home (which doesn't make as much sense to me). Do you know if that's true?

  4. These murders are too sloppy for a cartel. Cartels are known for making people disappear forever and they sometimes dispose of bodies in barrels of acid to make sure the person is never found. I also don't think they would've driven 3 hours north of the border to hastily bury the victims in shallow graves in Victorville. The spot where the McStays are buried is not as remote as is being reported. It isn't an urban hotspot but it is very close to a major freeway (the 15) and several cities. I've been to that area and the spot that they were buried is by no means in the middle of nowhere. I was surprised at how close the spot was to some buildings and the freeway. The murderer wanted to stop, quickly bury them and get out of there fast.

  5. It always seemed strange to me that on Feb. 4 Summer calls Joey from a land-line during most of the afternoon, then suddenly begins texting him as he nears their home, after 5pm. Why suddenly text?

    Here’s one way this may have gone down:

    Someone Summer knows well enough to answer the door for, shows up just before 5pm. Once he/she is inside, Summer and the children are abducted. The killer then begins a series of texts from Summer’s phone to assess when Joey will actually be home. It would explain the look of the home, as if actions are halted in progress.

    There has to have been two killers and two vehicles involved in this, because how else is the Trooper left at the border? The driver would have to have had a means to get home, and he/she might be seen on a bus, etc. (Safer if there is a driver following. It also makes the abduction easier.)

    I think that one of the killers was in the Trooper with the kids and Summer, the other took Joey in another vehicle—this second vehicle could have been parked down the street. I’m not sure the neighbor’s surveillance system scanned all that large an area.

    The family is driven out to the desert where graves have already been dug. They are killed where they are buried. The killers then drive back toward the border, dumping the cell phones at the Bonsaii Bridge. They either park the Trooper in the Ross parking lot near the border that night—and the vehicle isn’t towed for four days. Or the killers park it in a garage, somewhere it won’t be seen, and then park where it is found, four days later.

    It feels as if this was done in a quick, highly efficient, almost military manner.

  6. I think it went down slightly different in that Joseph never came home that day and someone took over his phone and was texting Summer. If Joseph made it home there would likely be signs of struggle as he tries to protect his family.

  7. The fact that his green truck was left unlocked in the driveway, with his camera left on the front seat, has always bothered me. Was it you who offered the theory that perhaps someone knocked on the door and told Summer that Joey had been in an accident or was sick? That seems like a really plausible theory to me–they could have driven back in the truck, and it would explain why Summer rushed out of the house.

    I'm just really torn about them being abducted from home. If their coats were missing, I doubt a kidnapper would stop to let her gather their coats, etc. It would have been much easier, and “safer” for the person to use a ruse like the one above to get her out of the house. The only issue with this theory is that Joey did make numerous business calls during his drive back (all to Chase Merritt, until 5:47pm which lasted 3 minutes), and also retrieved his voicemail twice. The only thing I can think of is that on his way home he stopped off to a meeting somewhere and was abducted.

    Another alternative is that Joey did make it home, but had a prearranged, and brief, meeting with someone (like maybe he was supposed to drop something off or pick something up really quick), and Summer decided to run a quick errand so she joined him. It could explain why she left everything out (the eggs and popcorn), since she thought she would be right back. It would also explain the 1 minute phone call to Chase at 8:28, which (if it was indeed Joey who made that call), would explain why he was still calm enough to make a business call. I don't know. That 40 minute gap from the time they left until that 8:28 phone call really bothers me. Where were they for 40 min and why does no one remember seeing them? And was there no surveillance footage from local businesses that could have captured their car?

  8. One thing that doesn't make sense, though, is the timeline of that day. Supposedly Joey had a business lunch with Chase Merritt which lasted 1.5 hours. From the phone records, Joey was on the way home by 3pm–that's when his phone calls to Merritt started up again. Chase has said that Joey was on the way home from there right? How long does it take to get from Rancho Cucamonga back to Fallbrook? 2 hours max with traffic? Why was Joey still driving from 3pm until supposedly 5:47-6:00pm? That's something like 3 hours of driving. Doesn't that seem kind of strange? From the documentary on Disappeared, the police officer states that the cell tower pings confirms that Joey drove directly home without deviating. However, since he and his wife exchanged a couple of texts at 5:47pm, it appears that Joey still hadn't made it home by then.

  9. Something else, in Chase's interview he stated that he didn't pick up that final call because Joey had a tendency of keeping you on the phone for 30 minutes or so (I'm paraphrasing). However, if you look at the phone records, only a few calls were 20-27 min long, and none of those were to Chase. The phone calls to Chase were quite short, from 1-6 minutes, with only one lasting for 8 minutes. I do think it's plausible that Chase didn't pick up the phone because it was 8:30pm and he was watching a movie–who wouldn't want to stop talking shop after 8:00pm. But man, I can't wrap my head around that 1 min 8:28 call. They left the house in a rush yet 40 min later Joey was still calm enough to make a business call (if it was him who made that call). And why to Chase after not speaking to him on the phone since 5:47pm? That 40 min gap, from the time they left their home at 7:47 until that final call was made, haunts me.

  10. I've wondered why it took him so long to get home too. I've made that drive and even in rush hour it wouldn't take 2 hours. If he stopped and met someone somewhere it would seem to have had to be prearranged (since police have supposedly told us the entire call history from that day). Wondering about Oceanside because I see his first son's stepfather is listed as having lived in Oceanside at some point and it would explain the connection to highway 76, which takes the McStays from Fallbrook to Oceanside (this assumes this is where McFadden lived in 2010, which I'm not sure about).

  11. Chase talked to Joseph 3 times when Joseph was on his way home and then he's saying that Joseph keeps him on the phone for while (30 minutes per call, as per the Daily Mail article). I can't see that drive being more than 1.5 hours max, even in rush hour (I've made that drive myself at rush hour). Why would Joseph hang up and call again three times in that span? If Chase is being true about Joseph's tendency to have long conversations why not just talk for the entire drive home instead of hanging up with Chase and calling back shortly after? There is a possibility he could've lost phone service at some point. But, as you mentioned, Chase's claim that Joseph talks his ear off every time would be a lie if the records prove otherwise. (I've never seen them so I don't know.) The other thing that worries me is that Chase says he talks to Joseph 6-8 times a day and Joseph's his best friend, yet it takes 3-4 days for him to check in on them. This timeline worries me because that's around the same time that the McStay car is found in San Ysidro. I have wondered whether or not the family's car was in Chase's garage for the few days it was missing and then he drops it off a few days later near the border, and then rents a car or has an accomplice to swing by the McStay home and then Joseph's mother's home before going home. Like you, I'm very confused about that last call to Chase unless it was Chase trying to give himself an alibi that he was in Rancho Cucamonga (when he could have in fact driven to Bonsall and convinced Joseph he had an emergency and needed help). There are many suspects in this case so I'm not entirely convinced it's Chase, but I haven't ruled him out either.

  12. Those theories all seem viable. We won't know for certain until the killer/s confess. But given the facts, there really are a lot of variables. Hopefully these ideas prove helpful.

  13. Chase must be lying then. If these calls only lasted a few minutes – he says he didn't answer the call that night because Joseph was a long talker (read his recent interview with Daily Mail) and he was watching a movie. How convenient is that?

  14. Chase also claims (in the Daily Mail) the stress of it all is what broke up his marriage but also says he was watching a movie with his girlfriend… He sure likes to paint himself as a stand-up kind of guy but also takes time to take some swipes at Summer – his best friends dead wife. What a jerk at best, maybe a killer at worst. It sure seems to me Joseph was killed earlier – it is hard to fathom anyone being able to control a family of 4 and there be no signs in the home or car of a struggle. The focus needs to be on that day they disappeared and the 4 days after – that's when the crime, burial and staging all occurred. All the stuff about Mexico was red herring from the real criminal and it worked well. It created enough reasonable doubt in people's minds that they couldn't say for sure what happened. Now that we all know, I would say this will be solved. Remember that most murders are committed by someone close – if this was random then they would have just died on the spot. Someone went to a lot of trouble to point the investigation south. Interesting how his friend checks on him only after all staging is completed. I wonder what his patterns were before the disappearance versus after – like his travel patterns, his cell phone patterns, etc. Usually even the best criminal will make mistakes – hopefully now that this is definitely a murder case it will be investigated properly. How about all the NSA info? Can that be used to find the killer?

  15. @Anonymous, I agree. I thought it was weird too how he was willing to talk about Summer that way. He mentioned the time she snapped at him and it makes you wonder how much he disliked her. I also thought it was interesting that he mentioned something about being an old man, as if alluding to the fact that he's too old to kill anyone. And, get this, the family discovered that the murderer possibly hauled a Bobcat in a 4 wheel drive truck to dig the graves! (See here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2511190/Mystery-digger-track-marks-McStay-family-grave-site.html) Isn't Chase in construction and would have access to these things? Additionally, the spot where they were buried was hidden from view of the freeway apparently and it was close to a gun range!! The killer would have to know that area very, very well to know that and the only suspect so far that I can link to Victorville is Chase, who has lived in that area (according to the MyLife.com website).

  16. From what I've read, the other business partner is the one who was withdrawing the money from the accounts. He definitely has far more knowledge of what happened here, and it's indeed a curiosity why the investigation wasn'tt more strongly focusing on him, rather than developing tunnel vision about the McStay's abandoning their animals and their lives to gallivante off to Mexico. Who else, if anyone, was involved in the murders up for grabs, but this in no seems to be a cartel or an organized killing.

  17. I think another key possible key piece of evidence may be the asthma medication found in a Tupperware container on the rear floor, between the car seats in the Isuzu. Was that Joseph's primary medication or a back up kit? If it is a back-up kit that was kept in the house that could be the ruse that killer used to get Summer out of the house – did that Tupperware have Summer's prints on it or Joseph's? I could see her setting that container on the rear floor as she helps the kids with their car seats…

  18. Cont'd. I could see the killer, having already disabled Joseph, come to the house and tell Summer that Joseph is having an asthma attack and can't find his medication. Maybe that's why clothes were on the floor in the closet as she looked for the back up medication. Once found she would rush out with the kids, meds, and killer without raising too much suspicion of neighbors. It is already dark so killer has that advantage. Again this would point to someone close to the family to have that kind of info…

  19. In the Daily Mail interview Chase claims his business went bankrupt after the Mcstays disappeared which tells me he was very dependent or his business was very dependent on Joseph's business. Maybe they had a falling out over something and Joseph was there to tell Chase something he didn't want to hear – people can kill if their livelihood is threatened. Is there any evidence that Joseph ever made it home the day he met with Chase? Also are they sure Joseph drove the Isuzu to his meeting with Chase? Why would toys be in the back? Hard to imagine the toys were transferred from the house or truck into the Isuzu that evening?

  20. Maybe the phone records hold clues also. If you go by the theory that Joseph never came come that night, all the phone calls seem to benefit one person's alibi, Chase Merritt. Did he try to return that missed call the next morning? He was supposedly working on a big deal with Joseph so it is senseless that he waited so long to try and contact him. Maybe the last call was not just for an alibi but a signal to his girlfriend on the other end that he had the rest of the family and was on his way back? Is it possible he stopped by the Old Bonsall Bridge to kill Summer and dipose of the phones there? Was that area searched for evidence?

  21. @Anon

    I always assumed Joey was in his green truck, the one that was also parked in the driveway that night. I would think the Isuzu would be Summer's car since it had the two child seats, and it would have been easier for her to get around and run errands while Joey was at work. But, I've never seen it mentioned which car Joey took to work that day. Despite that, it is my understanding that both the truck, which was unlocked, and the Isuzu were at home that evening before the disappearance.

  22. It is just hard for me to believe the whole family left together that night – why would you take your young kids out on a February night, relatively late? If both parents were home, one would stay with the kids while the other ran any errands. If someone came in and tried to force the whole family out, there would likely be signs of struggle(s) as the parents would try to protect the kids, plus where would the killer sit in the Isuzu? I also would imagine there would be screams, etc. How long was the truck there? It seems much more likely that Joseph drove the truck that day while Summer was running around with the kids buying toys, etc. As parents they would not put their kids in any danger by taking them out late at night and they would fight to protect them in the face of danger, plus they most likely would not engage in risky business dealings. I thought I read that Chase Merritt claimed Joseph was driving the Isuzu that day he went to meet him in Rancho Cucomunga…

  23. @ Anon

    I go back and forth about them all leaving together. I agree with you that had they been abducted from the home, there would have been possibly struggle and screaming. They had to get 2 small children into the car, and possibly buckled, but what kidnapper is going to risk 2 screaming kids? This is what I can't wrap my head around. A part of me thinks that Joey was abducted first and someone came to get Summer using a ruse. The Anon above made an excellent point about the asthma medicine being in the car. That to me would make perfect sense. It would also explain why there were no calls to either Joey and Summer–no one called to say “hey, meet me here” that evening.

    If they all did leave together, then a meeting must have been prearranged because, again, there were no incoming calls. At least not on Joey's phone after 5:47pm.

  24. @ Anon

    I agree with you about DK. I posted this on another post made by Jerrie, but I'll post it here as well. The thing that gets me about DK is that, yes he must have known something was up because he felt comfortable enough to pilfer funds from Joey's account. However, the person who committed these murders seemed to be meticulous in the planning and/or went to great lengths to hide their involvment–even to the point that they used gloves to drive the Isuzu to the border (he/she must have used gloves since there were no other fingerprints found apparently). So if DK was involved, how dumb is he to be smart enough to go through such lengths but dumb enough to use his own email address to pilfer funds from Joey's account and therefore implicate himself in their disappearance and, now we know, murder? I just don't get that.

    I think whoever did this definitely did not act alone. There was more than one person involved.

  25. I also wanted to add that “the abducted from home” scenario also doesn't seem to coincide with that 8:28pm phone call to Chase Merritt. If they had been abducted, why would Joey dial Chase's number instead of 911? Or his mother or brother? I keep repeating this because it bothers me so much: that hasty retreat from home at 7:47pm doesn't fit with that 8:28pm phone call. Unless it was a mistake, that poor Joey was in such a bad state by that time, that he could only press the redial button/last number dialed.

  26. Makes no sense that hey would leave together – where would a kidnapper sit in the Isuzu? I believe Joseph was probably already dead. The best explanation I can think of is the killer using the ruse of Joseph having an asthma attack and needed his spare medication. It's even possible that CM was using Joseph's phone and texting Summer – maybe he texted to say CM was dropping him off at the hospital and then coming by to get her and the medication, and unfortunately the kids. I was even wondering if there is any hospital near Old Bonsall Bridge and that was where he ended up killing Summer and the kids, made his last phone call to his phone which was left back home with his accomplice and then dumped the phones. Took the bodies back to where Joseph's body was and hid the Isuzu in the garage. Next day or day after, took bodies out and buried them and then day after that ditched the Isuzu at the border. At that point, no one was looking for the Isuzu yet so no biggy there. It wasn't until all staging and alibis are set that CM started to raise the flag. If his interview in the Daily Mail is accurate at all then I find him a bit of a psychopath in that he paints himself as a victim, disparages Summer and even tries to paint himself as somewhat of hero in all this – all right after his best friend is found with his family buried in the desert. Just the location of the bodies in relation to this theory makes perfect sense. Just from what I can gather off the internet, I would say most likely CM is your main suspect. Are there any confirmed sightings of Joseph or actual phone conversations with him, besides those with CM, after his meeting with CM on the day they disappeared? Can anyone say for sure he came home from that meeting with CM? I would say that if the answer is no to those questions then it is obvious who the killer is.

  27. @ Anon

    You make excellent points. I checked and there is a Medical Center, Temecula Valley Cardiology Medical Center in Bonsall (right off route 76). It's on Mission Road, not sure how close that is to the Bonsall Bridge. However, there is a hospital that is closer, right in Fallbrook: https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8&q=hospitals+in+Bonsall+CA&fb=1&gl=us&hq=hospitals&hnear=0x80dc7827823130c9:0x58dc41a89ebd303b,Bonsall,+CA&ei=ejqQUurCMpLwkQeQhoCoCg&ved=0CJABELYD

    The only issue is that supposedly, no other fingerprints, other than the family's, were found in the Isuzu.

    At the very least, poor Summer and the kids were abducted from the Fallbrook/Bonsall area. Her phone seems to have been disposed of there since it was still pinging on Saturday morning. I think, if anything, they were transferred to another vehicle. More than one person had to be involved in this.

    In regards to the phone calls, that's actually kind of weird. Joey made and received numerous calls that day, from morning until very early afternoon (at least 30 from numerous people, including CM), before his meeting with Chase Merritt. He also checked his voicemal. In any case, after the meeting, the calls start again a little after 3pm, but only to Chase Merritt–there were 4 in total. Joey did check his voicemail twice that afternoon, though, at around 4:30pm. I see that he received 2 texts at 5:47pm but I do not see that he answered those texts–there don't seem to be any outgoing texts at that time.

    I'm curious, does anyone know if police can access the actual text messages themselves and not just the phone numbers from the phone company?

    I'm not sure if anyone can verify that he actually did make it home, but both his truck and the Isuzu Trooper were in the driveway that night. His truck was left unlocked, which I have always found odd. But maybe that's not so odd since the family kept the toys in the back of the Isuzu for at least one night (apparently they were purchased on 2/3), so maybe they felt safe in doing so.

  28. I find it really strange if nobody can say they either saw or talked to Joseph after meeting Chase Merritt. It is quite normal to focus on the last person to see someone alive – it should be the starting point of the investigation because that's when this whole mystery starts… The fingerprints or lack of fingerprints in the Isuzu would mean the killer wore gloves – remember this is someone who went to a lot of trouble to make it look like they disappeared, they wouldn't make an amateur mistake like that. What would be the point of driving all the way up to Rancho Cucomunga for a meeting with someone when you have to keep calling them on the way home? Why wouldn't Joseph call Summer to say he's on his way home? Something seems very fishy already. I don't think the truck being unlocked is all that odd – if the family left it that way, it's because they didn't feel unsafe in their neighborhood. If the killer left it that way, he has no reason to care. I don't know if the truck is very significant. We know for sure the killer drove the Isuzu to the border so that is more of a key piece. Do you know if they tested the Tupperware container that had Joseph's asthma medication for prints? Or how about the kids car seats – I think if it showed only Summer's prints then that could help show that Joseph was not with them when they were taken from the house. I also have a real problem with the fact that at no time does anyone make a call to 911 or anyone nearby that could help if they were in trouble. That means they never had a chance. To me that means Joseph and Summer were most likely not together when they died. I was wondering about text messages also – maybe the NSA records can be searched now that they know a crime has occurred. Whoever did this is probably getting pretty worried right now – I'm sure it won't take long to get him…

  29. I think excluding any theory based on the absence of a struggle is a mistake. If a subject had my child (or my spouse) at gunpoint and ordered me out the door I would do what I was told hoping for either a good outcome or a better opportunity to arise.

  30. I agree. There have been other cases where harm to the children was used in order to inhibit a fight from the parents. In fact the most logical explanation to coinsice with all the facts, is that there was an abduction at the house. It's the only thing that really makes sense. Summer and Joey wouldn't be lured that easily with the kids in tow. Certainly one would have stayed home, while the other went off if someone had tried to get them to meet up somewhere. It was the kids bedtime. It makes more sense that Summer and the children (perhaps Joey then, or maybe Joey later) were quickly removed and the worst of what happened took place elsewhere.

  31. There's really no evidence Joseph came home that day. My theory is that he was already dead and the killer had to get rid of the rest of the family because Summer would have suspected something wrong when her husband didn't come home. But the killer didn't just come in and kill them – he made it look like the whole family just up and disappeared. Why would a killer go to all that trouble? So it is not random. If Joseph never made it home that day because he was killed in Rancho Cucomonga then it makes sense that the killer went back to get the rest of the family, kill them and then bury them all and then place the car at the border. The killer wouldn't know how much time he has before someone notices the family is gone so he has to hurry at this point – that's why the graves are so close to Rancho Cucomonga and why they are so shallow.

  32. Ask yourself who would benefit the most from this family being dead. Follow the money. Whoever is responsible for this tragedy, they were close to the family. The boys were killed because they knew the identity of the killer(s). If it were the Cartel, the bodies would have been found right away. They want bodies to be found to send a message. No disrespect to the family, but I think that family members and close friends need to ruled out as suspects first. I think this was a planned murder. I think the graves were already dug. Can you imagine anyone out there 50 yards from the I-15 freeway which is heavily traveled, with four people they just murdered, digging two giant holes. It took some time to dig those graves, shallow or not. The CHP patrol that area heavily. One more point. I was one of those who donated to the family website. I think that info should be made public. How much was donated, what it was used for, who had supervision over it. Etc. What I thought was odd is that the reward money for info helping find the family never changed. $1000 Just curious. Thoughts and prayers to the family.

  33. Well killing a family of 4 is not easy and the risk is huge if you get caught so it would have to be a huge sum of money and getting it would have to be a sure thing. Threat of a loss of income is practically the same. I think that's what happened at his meeting with Chase. Joseph maybe found out something that he didn't like and went there to terminate the business relationship, things got heated and Chase killed him. You are right about the graves being dug beforehand – it's possible. Based upon the tracks found at the site, my guess is someone was using a trailer with ATVs in it for cover or something similar when they buried the bodies. I also think all suspects need to be ruled out and will be – starting with people close to them, that's pretty standard in any good investigation.

  34. I believe that considering everything that has been said about this case and all the theories that have been submitted, your ideas seem to make the most sense. Follow the money. So true. Who benefits the most. Right on the head. To kill a family of four and bury them is no easy task. This was no spur of the moment crime. It had to be planned. This was personal. Someone was jealous of Josephs success. The life style he was living. They felt like he “kicked them to the curb” From what I understand Joseph and his brother Mike had a business that went belly-up. What was Mike doing for a living before taking over Joseph business after he disappeared. Your comment about the donations is good too. I am sure that a substantial amount was donated. Where is it ? I am curious if Mike has access to that money or has a say on where it is spent/used. All very good practical ideas. I hope you dont think that I am stomping on your insight. Just considered your points,added some suspicions of my own

  35. No, not at all. For the record, I never pointed the finger at any one individual. I never wanted to imply that I felt it was a member of the family. I felt that it was someone CLOSE to the family. Someone they trusted. Any good investigation is going to eliminate family and friends first. I want the family to know that I am so sorry for your loss and that I did not want to add to their grief by accusing any of them of this horrific crime. Mike, when I saw you on Beth Holloway, I cried with you. I felt your pain. Hang in there. The truth will prevail

  36. Wouldn't it be easy to rule Chase Merritt out by checking where his phone pinged during the phone calls that Joey and him made from the end of their meeting to when they went missing….If his phone only pinged near his home then wouldn't that confirm his alibi?
    Meanwhile if his phone pinged near their house, at the bridge or anywhere in between then wouldn't it make him the prime suspect?
    I have no opinion either way at the moment…just a thought I had.

  37. Unless Chase realized that would be the case and knew he needed an alibi so he left his phone at home with an accomplice. I'm wondering if there are any sightings or conversations with Joseph after that meeting with Chase – can anyone say for sure Joseph made it home that day?

  38. From what I understand, Joey deposited a check after their meeting. The bank he used had a branch in that area, near the meeting. I'm not sure if anyone at the bank saw him, though. Or, if they have any surveillance vid from the bank. But a check was deposited. As to anyone verifying if Joey did make it home that night, I honestly don't know. He didn't speak with anyone that evening other than Chase Merritt via phone.

  39. Okay, I have commented recently about how I think it was a planned murder. That the killer(s) were someone close to the family. Someone they trusted. I asked everyone to think who would benefit the most from this family being dead. This is not a movie. In real life for someone to murder a family of four, bury them in the desert, leave their vehicle at the border, create a scenario that they were looking for info on Mexico with the computer ( which by the way,worked SDSD !) was no easy task. Who has access to your home computer? Family. Who would have time to stage the scene at the house w/o neighbors being suspicious? Someone the neighbors were used to seeing. Family. I am just going to flat out say it. Mike(brother of Joseph) you are guilty as hell.  You and Joseph had tried in the past to get a business going but it failed. Joseph was going on with his life. Things were taking off for him. His business was starting to prosper. He just moved into a 320,000 5 bedroom house, had money in the bank and was happy. But you were not included in any of that. You felt that Joseph had kicked you to the curb. You could not live with that. You felt that he owed you, and you finally snapped. Summer and the boys had to go because they could identify you. The family disappeared in Feb. 2010. On March 26, 2010 you told a newspaper Quote ” My fear is that I am looking for 2 adult shallow graves “. It is reported that you took over the business after they went missing. I am sure that a lot of money was donated to the family website. Where is it ? Every time I see you on the news, you are enjoying the attention. Try harder to squeeze some tears out. All an act. I feel for the family. The only person to benefit from this tragedy seems to be you. You even wrote a book. More profit. You made a comment that they are together in a better place. HELLO ! They were brutally murdered and buried in the desert like trash ! How dare you? They trusted you. To the cops……Follow the money. The truth will prevail.

  40. Drig cartels are actually very efficient in executions. Note that you don't read about them much in the news. Bodies are never found

  41. What evidence are you basing your conclusions on? You are merely putting forth a scenario based on a lot of assumptions – I would hardly declare anyone guilty as hell with the information you provide. Many people are speculating that Michael McStay is guilty of this crime but the only evidence put forth is hearsay and further speculation. This was not carried out by Michael McStay – this was carried out by a criminal, someone who knows very well about reasonable doubt and how to properly stage a crime scene, someone able to keep their cool even when it comes to murdering children, someone who has been to prison before and doesn't want to go back, someone who knows what it takes to get away with this… I actually find it funny that many people comment on what an idiot Michael McStay is and then accuse of him pulling off a crime of high intelligence. Those that suspect Mike will surely be surprised at the outcome of this investigation.

  42. To Anon at 10:16 – is this you Rick Baker? Still trying to slander the McStay family? To all of you interested in this case, please visit the official McStay family website to see what they have to say about this slanderous low life. It doesn't seem that to him that this family has gone through enough so he has taken to calling them names and making false accusations all over the internet. When he gets confronted on his own blog site, he removes anything that goes against him and then eventually shuts off the comments when he doesn't like what people have to say. Hopefully the family will succeed in a slander suit against him – I am copying all of his comments (including when he referred to the McStay family as maggots on his website), and false accusations in order to assist the McStay family with any lawsuit they plan against him.

  43. our government has satelites that record how may dimes on your bedside table-they know who did this-i'm for chase merit-

  44. In speculating on this case, which everyone is doing because any thoughts written/spoken about this case are all pure speculation–but, when speculating, it seems like someone would have to know the layout of the home, and the office or work area where the computer & supplies were/are. They would also need to know the dogs, quite well, no doubt. They'd also need a way to be seen without snoopy neighbors batting an eye. They'd also need to be trusted enough to be allowed into the home, around the home. They'd also be someone who knew/knows how to make body-sized holes in land & have the ability to be able to drive around or be seen around/or with tools/equipment needed to do manual labor requiring such. It would be interesting if this person demonstrated, sometime in their life, proof they can break into the McStay home easily. They'd be someone who would imitate, almost compulsively, Joseph McStay in subtle and outright obvious ways. They'd be someone who'd collect every word, every article, copy every broadcast which had to do with the family missing story to now their body recovery story to even the current investigation stories–they read every comment on every article or discussion board affiliated. (wave) Hi Mikey.

  45. i realize you're receiving this msg. almost a yr. after this post but I wanted to reassure you that you in no way implied that anyone in the family had anything to do with this hideous crime. The person above who suggested this was clearly reading something into what you had written that was not there. I'm sure it's been upsetting to have anyone suggest that's what you said but, in my estimation, there isn't even a hint of you connecting anyone in the family with this crime.

    Rest in Peace Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joseph Jr. and blessing to all family members and friends.

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