Suspect arrested in the McStay murder case


After years of finger pointing and guessing by the public, the police have arrested a man who they believe is a suspect connected to the death of the McStay family, Charles Chase Merritt.

For residents of San Diego County the McStay family is very well known.  Joey, Summer and their two sons disappeared from their Fallbrook home in 2010.  Although it was suspected they went to Mexico, because of some grainy footage at the border, it was three years later when they were found buried together in a grave near Victorville.

I spoke to Patrick last year when he told me that his family had been found.  I remember this horrible sinking feeling and it was a conversation I will never forget.  Click here to read it.

There were many names that were being thrown around that could have killed the McStay family and with all the digging being done by many armchair detectives, many made sense.  One name that was being thrown around though Joey’s own dad did not believe he had anything to do with it.  Patrick McStay asked me to let everyone know that he did not suspect Chase had anything to do with his family going missing.

“I want everyone to know is that the online interview with Chase, reported incorrect information and appears that someone may have said I suspect Chase, that is blatantly false! Another family member has told people all along he suspected Chase. I can tell you personally my son, Joey always spoke highly of Chase. Oh sure we discussed (Joey and I) Chase many times however Joey liked Chase and Chase always spoke highly of my son. I have personally had several conversations with Chase and do not in any way suspect Chase Merritt.”

According to CNN, Chase was arrested on Wednesday.  This is three days after Patrick posted, “There is really nothing new that can be released at this time. However I can tell you there a number of leads and tips being investigated by the SBCSD. One of the problems is the number of people involved in information being verified that may not have been mentioned or known in prior investigations. I can honestly tell you there are a number of names not known in the past but are now being investigated.”

After Patrick’s post I fully expecting a new name to be brought up, instead the police arrest someone that many had thought was guilty years ago. 

The causes of death of the McStay family was “blunt force trauma,” according to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s office.

Fisher said evidence was found at the desert burial site to tie Merritt to the murders, and numerous conversations with Merritt have yielded information but the department “isn’t discussing” what exactly the evidence is or what Merritt told authorities. – See more at: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20141107/NEWS/141109842/12964/NEWS#sthash.XQFPswI4.dpuf

Sgt. Fisher said evidence was found at the desert burial site that tied Chase to the murders, and conversations with Chase have yielded information but “the department “isn’t discussing” what exactly the evidence is or what Merritt told authorities.”

We can only guess right now what drew the authorities to Chase.  I can’t help but wonder if the tire marks at the scene of the grave sight might have something to do with it.  From my research I believe the tires marks were done by a Chevrolet Silverado or a Ford 250 or 350.  If you look at the comments below the story I researched and wrote back in 2013, you will see that someone posted that Chase Merritt drove a Chevy Silverado 2500.   Read more here.  And there is that lie detector test that Chase said he voluntarily took.  Chase told the Daily Mail, “After I’d finished, Brugos’s partner said to me, “well there are a couple of inconsistencies” but that was just them trying to trick me into saying something. I didn’t hear any more about it after that.”

I recently read about the Salomon Family case.  A San Fernando family of four that went missing back in 1982.  Papers belonging to them were found scattered along the freeway near the desert.  Authorities suspected Harvey Rader of murdering him and believed he killed Sol first and then went back and killed the wife and two children, because the wife knew that Rader was with Sol, and would certainly tell the police they were together.  Rader was never convicted of the crime.  But, it makes you wonder if the same thing didn’t happen with the McStay’s.  Was Joey killed first and then because Summer knew who he was with, she was killed also along with the children?  But, according to the authorities no.  They are saying that all four were killed at their home in Fallbrook.  Which probably explains why there were no sheets on the bed.

Patrick posted on Sunday,

“I remain confident the SBCSD will solve this case and I remain supportive of the investigation and the SBCSD. I have direct contact with the Lead Investigators and am confident in their abilities and sincere commitment.”

About Missing Persons Admin 4510 Articles
Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

7 Comments

  1. Kudos to the SD police dept for never giving up and for continuing to investigate this. I am both happy and sad for the McStay family and their surviving family members. Happy because hopefully they will finally get some justice, and sad because it was someone that they trusted. A horrible situation all around. My heart goes out to the McStay family, and especially to Patrick and Mike. They were relentless in trying to get justice. And Jerry, thank you so much for continually following this case and posting updates.

    Just as an aside, I have always suspected Chase. The fact that he began to denigrate Summer just deepened my suspicion of him. Heartless, disgusting excuse for a human being. I truly hope the SDPD have enough to get a conviction. The fact that they meticulously, quietly, and patiently accumulated evidence and waited for the right moment tells me they have the right man.

  2. No thanks to SDSD, they gave up when they considered the house 'not a crime scene' and were convinced the family crossed the border.
    I for one, am surprised at this arrest, Chase had me fooled, big time.
    Thank you Jerrie for your work!

  3. This is what Michael said about it: “The neighbor wants to remain anonymous. There are two camera angles. 1. From the 2nd Floor eave aiming down to see who would be entering a side gate. 2. One under the eave at mezzanine level (Approx. 9′) to see who’s at the front door. Both… cameras are for home security, but are motion activated. The lights of the Isuzu Trooper triggered the system to turn on, and the top of the wheel down is all that is shown. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE WHO WAS INSIDE.”