Looking back at the McStay case and the arrest of Chase Merritt Part Two

Chase was arrested in Chatsworth

Click here to read Part One

Chase Merritt

When Chase Merritt was arrested I had no idea until the media began calling me Friday morning. I was caught completely off guard and I believe Patrick was, too, because I am sure he would have called me if he had known before that day.  At this writing we have done little communicating as he has told me he needs to process everything.

This is completely understandable when just a few years back, Patrick asked me to write a story stating that he in no way believe that Chase had anything to do with the families disappearance.

I gladly quoted Patrick and let the public know why he exonerated Chase, and now Patrick finds out the person that he publicly stood up for turns out to be the one arrested for his own son’s murder, it is no wonder he needs to process it all.  Patrick told me he believed Chase didn’t do it because Joey trusted him, so he trusted him.

As I go over old interview video’s of Chase, it is hard to see anything deceptive.  When he is asked how he thought the McStay’s were killed, after their bodies were found in the desert, he responds he absolutely had no clue, but now we know per the SBCSO they believe he allegedly single-handedly hit them over the head in their own home.

And if it turns out that Chase is guilty, (please note although he has been arrested for four counts of murder, he is innocent until proven guilty…..America) we know at this time that Chase allegedly knew all along how they were killed and lied about it, but then there was so much more Chase said that was the truth.  In the videos he seems to be bragging when he states he was the last one to see Joey, and that he talked to Joey many, many times over one day.  Phone records that I have seen proves this information.  Then there is the very last phone call that he chose not to answer.  Yes, that was also shown on the phone records, but now we have to question if that was actually Joey that was calling or possibly Chase himself using Joey’s phone.

What if this case had been called foul play in the beginning?

A ripoff report about Chase back
in 2006

If SDPD had taken this case seriously and seen it for what it was a crime scene and not a crazy couple that spontaneously decided to leave the U.S., this case would have been solved years ago, and that is what bugs me the most about this case.  Although there were all kinds of strange things found inside the McStay home, many you have heard before, like the eggs left on the counter, and the dogs alone, there is also the sheets removed from the beds and the tens of thousands of dollars that were withdrawn from the McStay business account, that started the day they went missing, which by the way, the SDPD told Patrick they could do nothing about.

It amazed me all that he knew and all the documentation that he had (read the reason Patrick believes his family met with foul play) and I would ask him what the SDPD thought about that and he stated they were not interested. We can only imagine how it would have been different if the police had believed Patrick and the rest of his family, when they said it was foul play.

I wonder if this had happened in Cincinnati or Boston or Los Angeles, would those police departments seen it as a crime scene and then subsequently processed it as such.  Would they have brought in a cadaver dog and maybe even done some forensic checking for blood.  See my story on Did Police Rush to Judgement on What Happened to the McStays?

Other SDPD Cases

There have been many other times, where the SDPD have been criticized for their

Marilane Abueg

investigative.  Like the case Signon San Diego reported back in October 30, 2011 about the Marilane Abueg case.  Her murder trial ended in a hung jury and then a dismissal by the San Diego Superior Court because the “sheriff’s Department failed to investigate the case for nine years after Marilane’s body was found.”   Wells, the Judge on the case stated “clear negligence” by sheriff’s detectives for failing to do even the most basic investigation when the crime occurred,” reported Sign On San Diego.”  Benny Abueg, Mailane’s father stated at the time he did not believe detectives pushed hard enough to solve his daughter’s killing.

Lately, the SDSD has been criticized for their conclusions on two high profile cases.  They ruled the cause of death for Rebecca Zahau as suicide.   The SDSD stated she committed suicide by jumping off the balcony of the Spreckles’ Mansion where her boyfriend lived, but many feel that the investigation was incomplete and she was murdered because she was found with her arms and legs tied.  The reenactment that News 8 did shows the bed moving 7 inches from the wall, which was noted to not have moved at all when SDSD investigated the scene.  Many wondered why SDSD themselves did not do a reenactment themselves.

Hannah Anderson

There is also many who do not agree with the SDSD findings on the Hannah Anderson case. Sheriff Gore stated early on that Hannah was a victim in every sense of the word, but many wondered if she was.  CBS-8 News reports that there was one known surveillance video the police never picked up that showed Hannah and DiMaggio together located at the Mountain Top Market in Boulevard and there was also three other surveillance cameras that could have had video on them.  One at the Golden Acorn Casino in Boulevard, across the street from Sweetwater High School where DiMaggio supposedly picked up Hannah on August 3, and the surveillance video from Sweetwater High School where cheer camp was that day.  The principal said detectives never picked up a video, let alone talk to any school officials regarding the incident.  Why not?  Probably because the police had already decided their determination was right, so why bother to go get the videos.  The videos would have probably proven the SDSD very right or very wrong.

Motive

The motive that would cause a man to not only kill another but his whole family is hard for us to fathom.  I can only suppose that the thought was that the children could identify him.  What would have driven someone to that point could have been money, but Joey never was a taker.  He gave jobs and money to many, many people in his life without asking for anything back.  Even when he was taken advantage by an individual who was threatening to destroy his business if he didn’t give him money, Joey responded by not calling the police but by diplomatically writing a letter of his disappointment in the persons character and giving him the money with the promise that person would leave his family alone forever.

It would seem to me that if money had been the murderers motive, that Joey would have handled it the same way.  If the person had wanted a bigger cut, or cash up front, Joey would have gladly gave it to them.  There would have been no need to kill him to get what they wanted, especially when Joey’s demise meant the demise of any future for the company and partners or workers of the business.

If anything, it may have been that Joey wanted an explanation why the orders weren’t not being filled and where was the money going that was given to make these orders, and either in frustration, or anger, the killer decided to silence the questions for good.

Motive is so crucial for a case because it shows the reason from a persons character or statue in life or relationship which caused the person to do what they did.  It is usually broken down in to three categories, biological, social and personal.  When the court has to determine if someone is guilty they also have to determine the motive and if it was premeditated.  The accused will go through psychiatric evaluations.   If a murder is considered an emotional, spontaneous act, which clouded the accused judgement, the accused could be facing manslaughter and not cold-blooded murder.  Because of this I am sure Chase’s attorney has cautioned Chase to stay quiet.  We are going to see a lot of twists and turns on this case before it is done.

Just a few minutes ago tonight I read the court documents and they use the word  malice aforethought.  I looked it up on an online legal dictionary and it stated that “n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great bodily harm to another person before a person commits the crime. Such malice is a required element to prove first degree murder. 2) a general evil and depraved state of mind in which the person is unconcerned for the lives of others. Thus, if a person uses a gun to hold up a bank and an innocent bystander is killed in a shoot-out with police, there is malice aforethought. (See: malice, murder, first degree murder)”

But, there is one thing that is really bugging me about all this.  The money.  Money began leaving Joey’s account the day that he went missing and not by the person that is currently being accused of the crime.  It continued to be withdrawn with the amounts getting larger and larger.  Even though Patrick told the SDPD about it they did nothing to stop it, because the individual had the password to the account.  It wasn’t until the bank stepped in, was the transferring of the money stopped.    Is it a coincidence or is there more than one person involved in this case.  If there is, it can change everything, and in particular the motive, which goes from emotional to premeditated.

No one should be labeled voluntarily missing

I believe that Patrick will go down in history for his vigilance to solve the mystery of his family’s disappearance.  But he is not alone with going to the ends of the earth to find answers about his family.  Jerry Kinner has asked the police over and over again to dig in an area where they believe his murdered brother, Larry Baker is laying.  Kristin Smart‘s parents along with friend Dennis Mahon have asked for the police to dig in an area for their missing daughter, where a cadaver dog has alerted.  There is a huge list of families waiting for the authorities to find the time and or money to look for their missing family members, who the authorities believe have walked off on their own, just like the McStay family.

Patrick told People Magazine, “There should be a law that no one can be labeled voluntarily missing.”

I hundred percent agree.  There needs to be a committee that looks over missing people cases before they are “labeled” in a certain category and this includes the catch-all “runaway” category that is overly used to classify teens.

Right now there are 18 men who have gone missing in San Francisco starting in 2010

18 missing men from San Francisco

and they have all been classified as voluntarily missing.  In other words, authorities have stopped looking for them per the department’s policy.

Isn’t it about time we found these missing in weeks instead of waiting for years or never? Yes, it is, but that can only be done when policy and procedures are mandated and followed by all 50 states.

In the 1970s, a brand new federal single unified command was created to combat the war on crime.  Maybe it is time to create a new single unified command for handling missing person cases.  It would help the local police departments to be able to hand over the cases that they don’t have the (wo)manpower or money to continue to investigate, anyway.  With the San Bernandino Sheriff’s Office, as an example, we can see what can happen when authorities have money and staff to pursue a case

As I mull over this case, as I do many, the ones that do stick out in my mind the most is the ones with the missing children.  It is hard for me to think about how many children have disappeared in this world and are never seen again.  After the media goes to the next top story that child is forgotten by most.  Remember, Lisa Irwin, Delano Wilson, Hassani Campbell or Isabel Celis?  It’s an odd world, I think, where authorities stop actively looking for missing people, especially children.

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

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