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What Happened To The McStay Family?

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The McStay family disappeared over three years ago under suspicious circumstances. Authorities recently found the remains of the McStay’s, but the mystery of their disappearance continues. The remains were found in a shallow grave in the Californian desert. Dental records confirmed that two of the remains found were that of Joseph and Summer McStay and investigators believe the other two may be their children.

Many people have theorized about what could have happened to the family. At the time of their disappearance, their friends and family members did not notice any strange behavior. The family left food out on the counters and their dogs home without food or water. They also left behind important personal items including Summer’s prescription sun glasses and $100,000 in the bank. This led investigators to believe that they left in a hurry and did not intend to stay gone for very long.

The family was in debt and according to a neighbor and landlord, ccould barely afford to pay their $210 rent for an apartment where they were living. Strangely, the couple had recently purchased a $320,000 house and seemed to have a fairly large bank account. These curious details have led many people to suspect one of the McStay’s was possibly involved in drug trafficking or other illegal activities that may have led to their deaths. Others believe the family simply crossed the border on their own freewill to escape their money troubles.

Authorities confirmed that the McStays were victims of homicide but did not offer details about how they were murdered. Law enforcement expert John Carman says that the shallow graves where the bodies were buried and the fact that the graves were near the highway shows that the murders were not done by a professional, but rather someone in a hurry. What do you think happened to the McStay family?

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What Happened To The McStay Family?
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  • Nellie

    I believe Mike McStay has something to do with this crime. He had been jealous of Joseph. He “predicted” early on that they migh be in two shallow graves someplace. Now how could anybody say something like this if they have no knowledge of course. He appeared extremely nervous about the case when spoke publicly. The hit was orchestrated very well: the searches on the computer, tbe car left at the border, no sign of struggle or violence anywhere, and not a single clue (besides the wrongly interpreted border crossing video). However it was not anticipated that the remains would be unearthed and a full scale investigation to follow. He wanted to point the finger at Chase Merritt by dialing his number from Joseph’s phone. This was very nearly the perfect crime had it not been for the scattered bones by wildlife and the motorist’s reporting his suspicions.

    • barbara agnew

      Nellie,
      I totally agree with your theory.

    • KellySoCal777

      You’ve read my mind! I too think that Mike has something to do with their disappearance. Comments that he’s been making from early on and the creepy “walk through the house” video where he can’t give a straight answer on what time usually kids go to bed.
      Just the way he was trying to answer seems very suspicious.
      However, I don’t think that he was alone in it. Summer had at least 4-5 alias, freaked out when questioned about her estranged father, and had a large sum in out-of-state account… It seems that she was hiding from someone…Someone dangerous!
      As far as for Mike…definitely something. It definitely was someone they’ve trusted that lured them out of the house!

    • Ted

      I am also suspicious of “Mikey”. You left out that he had a habit of borrowing large sums of money from Joe/Summer and not repaying it. According to Baker’s book, this sparked confrontations between Summer and Mikey. He’s also given many versions of events to LE. This does not make him guilty, I just think he’s a person to look at closely

      • nooneyouknow

        BAKER IS A FAKE AND A COMPLETE LIAR!!! ALL OF YOU ARE SPECULATING WITHOUT FACTS!

    • mischka

      Im with you on that one. I think he is involved somehow.

    • sancelle

      Nellie, you scpeculate but you dont have any idea what u are saying. May God bless you with that thought

      • sue

        Sancelle…isn’t everyone speculating not just Nellie? No one knows the truth so that’s all people can do is speculate, make assumptions, take note of strange behaviors or things that are off in peoples stories etc. So you can’t point a finger at any one person in here and tell them ‘they’ are speculating everyone that comments on the McStays is speculating.

    • A

      People magazine published a report today quoting Michael McStay from February 2010 say something to the effect of his brother will be found “…in a shallow grave with his kids.” How did Michael McStay knows this back then? Also People magazine published him saying something at a recent press conference to the affect of having to find the “killer” who did this. How does he know it was one person? This guy is hugely suspicious.

    • Kazzie

      I totally agree with your comments Nellie. I think exactly the same

    • http://none BEEE

      Do you know what I think is suspicious? It seems that Mike Mcstay owns/ or is a part of a fire system installation company. Look at this facebook link Below. Plenty pictures of him digging holes in the dirt, big trucks. He is smiling in every picture. He seems off/ too happy for someone who lost a brother. Just Sayin.

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/Precision-Fire-Systems/271683076197741

    • Kristinia

      I agree….too many suspicious activities….length of time to report the family missing, the shallow graves, tampering with the evidence in the house, and visits to Victorville in 2012 stated on his fb page 3 times….I hope I am wrong but it seems he has benefited from the the loss of this beautiful family….

  • Belen

    This is such a sad story, how could somebody kill a family. Did they ever find out if the children were indeed the McStay Children? Because I saw a another video on this family that said that a waitress thought she had spotted the family at a dinner. She recognized the red birth mark on the forehead of one of the boys, but that the fingerprints didn’t match the parents. Is anybody else thinking that somebody took the boys.

    This story really is horrible, and heartbreaking. I hope the police never give up on this poor family and I that they find who did this to the family

  • Denny

    This looks like they knew who killed them. The McStays were either mixed up in some illegal drug trafficing, or a family member did this.

  • Anony Mouse

    Why did the brother, Michael McStay, say to Tim (in a walkthrough video) that Tim could have one of his missing brothers writing tablets? It was an obvious effort to make sure the video included Michael McStay saying they were both going to put prints all over the inside, outside, desk and area getting the paper tablet & what if that tablet had info/clues on it? Did Michael know the paper supplies of his brother’s home so well he was certain a new tablet existed to be given away? Also, in the press conference, recently with Michael crying about the bodies being found-from his right eye a tear was rolling down his cheek–ANYONE would wipe a tickling tear away, I mean, think about it, would you just let a tear roll down? You’d wipe it or brush it away, but Michael, NO, he just let’s it glisten down his cheek making certain that tear was there for all to see. Also, in that press conference he ends it in a weird and peculiar wording. He says he just wants them to find the “individual”, then he says, “IndividualS”, then he says “he just wants to know it is over”. What does he want to know is over, exactly? The investigation? Is he concerned they may be looking at him? Also, in that walk through (with Tim), did anyone notice how the dog, Bear, was focusing on the carpet tape on the unfinished front room? Bear sniffed it in a manner which, if you have dogs, you’d suspect the dog found something odd about it, something he wanted to sniff out. Were the remains found bound in any fashion with carpet tape? There was also a paper towel roll, did they use paper towel to cover the mouth or gag the mouth and then use tape to secure around the head? There were two or more rolls on the floor where Bear was sniffing among a jumble of paper/cardboard which may be where someone was bound (sad). I read that one or more of the bodies were bound with electrical cord. This would mean they were alive when taken (by force) from the home. I didn’t see the pink Care Bear in the video (but it may have been somewhere where video was not taken), did stuff animals go with the kids to keep them quiet? What would be Michael’s motive? Perhaps he did not like the manner in which the children were being brought up and saw something in the parents’ style of upbringing he either hated or wished he, himself, had had when he was a child. If the pink Care Bear is there, that might be a clue because in another walk through (after Michael had “cleaned” up the home) he was wearing a pink shirt but had collapsed down the stereotypically affiliated play house and a blue one was set up. Another weird thing about Michael is his fascination with overly explaining the “prescription sunglasses”. In almost an OCD manner, he explains, over and over again how the mom did not take her prescription sunglasses. SUNglasses. In the desert, one would certainly need them–IF alive.

    • sancelle

      U suck honestly for being so heartless. Think about the family that passed away instead of being a armchair lame detective

      • sue

        Sancelle what is with you? All they did was take note of things in the house, the way the dogs were acting the way Michael has been acting the things he says which are ‘off’. That person isn’t making guesses they’re pointing out what they see and hear that’s the right thing to do. My question to you Sancelle is do you know Michael? Are you Michael? Why are you so angry with people pointing out the obvious? This person didn’t say “Michaels guilty!” they simply pointed out what they saw and heard, period.

    • yaknowwhatimsezzin

      I 100% agree with anony mouse. I do think Michael offed his brother. That whole family is odd. Even the dad went to jail. Those eyes of his are creepy and he acts very suspicious. Look at his body language during the press conference. He is obviously fidgeting about something. Yes, that ‘two graves’ comment was also very telling. Who would actually say something like that?!?! Definitely a creepy creepster! He was only crying because he knows the gig is up….

    • Joanne

      Great comment! I agree with everything you said.

  • Anony Mouse

    I just thought of something. If Michael (read my prior comment) knows the ins and outs of the paper supplies in the desk area, then he must have had much access to that desk area. Maybe he was the one doing all that searching on the computer.

  • Matt

    Your all wrong!!

    • sancelle

      Agreed

    • kitty

      Really & exactly WHY do you say that All are wrong. What happened to this family, if we are all wrong, than please tell us what you believe happened?…

      • kitty

        Matt…are you there, you say that we are wrong…Then please I am interested in what YOU believe happened to this family.

  • mona

    can be related to drug dealing! The police knows about every single phone calls and text msg they made that day. BUT Drug dealers do not call from their personal cell or home phones, right?? They usually have another number to do their illegal business,right? What if cartel related people knocked at their door that night? What if they told the Mcstay’s to get in the car with the kids to drive them to a secluded area to negociate or worst…??

  • aj

    I don’t agree his brother had anything to do with it. No details have been announced unfortunately this is gonna take years to solve if they ever solve it.

  • sancelle

    How dare you blame Mike. His tireless efforts to find his brother & family come out of nothing but love. You all should keep your cruel comments & speculations to yourself!!

    • Matt

      Well said. Rumours are horrible and this guy has been through enough. If anybody here has evidence that it was him then im sure the authorities would love to see it. Something tells me though that nobody here has such evidence so should learn to keep their slander to themselves!

    • Strangegait

      Hi Mike

    • kitty

      Sancele Do you know Mike? I was just curious. I do not believe he had a thing to do with his brother’s death either. I believe that this Chase guy/partner may have been involved, there has been much speculation regarding that very real possibility, however I believe this IS drug related & that there is still one or more individuals that were involved. I would not be surprised if this person lives close by, and knew them very well, in probably a drug/relationship marijuana perhaps? At anyrate, they increased their income literally overnight. Now that didn’t just happen on it’s own. Perhaps, and I know we all don’t like to speculate, the family owed someone locally. The fountain bus. was very real. The fountain bus, may have not been “completely” legit (illegal in the respect, that they may have been using the bus, to also transport drugs) The individual or individuals that committed this crime, knew this family. This family trusted. Now this family is gone. I too believe that it looks like the work of an amateur, or a “non-professional”. Either way, NO I do not believe the brother had a thing to do with any of it. I believe the police/Sheriff’s need to look very closely to home. The answer may be closer than first believed. I think the person or persons that committed this heinous act, has no conscience, does what ever they are told, may be young, may have a mentor, or someone that they have to answer to. I also believe this crime had nothing to do with $, due to the fact that the funds were still in the account. If this was about getting their money out of the bank, that would have been done in the beginning. The person or person’s who committed this vile, evil act, may very well live locally & perhaps they already have a TON of money, so they don’t care about the funds. They possibly, just did it out of intense anger, and lack of conscience, to make a pt, to send a message, I don’t know. I think that the person or persons of interest may be drug dealers/growers & that the McStay’s trusted them. If it wasn’t marijuana, maybe it was other drugs, that they were shipping out through their business?? Someone didn’t pay the grower/mfg perhaps? Who knows. I just really have been feeling so strongly that the killer or killers are very nearby where the McStay’s resided (Fallbrook) I really pray to GOD to guide Law Enforcement in their stellar investigation to uncover the truth. This story has been haunting me. I look at those babies faces, and I just cannot even fathom their being taken out of this world. Whoever did this is PURE EVIL.

    • Morgan

      Sancelle,
      While I do agree that this is all speculation, so are your theories. Not one of us know truly what happened to the Mcstay family, and may never know. But many people are going about the correct route by pointing out suspicious behavior, strange happenstance, and piecing together possible scenarios. So either you are 100 percent convinced that the brother Michael is innocent, which you have every right to believe that, just as anyone else here has a right to gather their own evidence and create their own opinion. Or your a complete troll, who enjoys causing mayhem, and feeds off of confrontation. So, if you don’t believe that Michael was involved, please post some valid reasons as to why you are of that opinion. I for one would be interested in every aspect of what people think, and find that most people respond much better to different ideas when they are treated with respect, and not put on the spot because they happen to have a different theory than you do.
      Come on everyone, we are all adults, I’m assuming:) I’m sure that everyone here remembers and knows how to debate properly:)

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    Mike is behind it period. He never followed up w/any of the leads from the website, because he knew they were already dead and went about freely spending the business money. Too too many leads pointing directly at him. For God sakes a week and a half went by before he reported his own brother missing! I bet he offs himself like a coward instead of facing the music. Gigs up bro! I agree w/the father that the children were targeted because they could identify someone. Killing children would only be a cartel(if the remote of possibilities that Joseph was transporting drugs in his fountains) OR the much more probable reason, that the children were old enough to recognize the culprit. I also am beginning to believe whereas I was enraged to hear the FBI say this past spring that they believe the family left of their own accord, that was just a strategically planned ruse to make someone a bit too comfortable and that they would start tripping up, because they mistakenly thought no one suspected them. Funny out of everyone, it was again he we saw on the mic as the mouthpiece for the family. A bit too immersed in the investigation, if you ask me. His press conference statements reminded me far too much of Susan Smith & others after crimes committed that they in fact were responsible for. Expect an arrest in this case very soon!

  • Mary

    Of course family members know details about their missing relatives, especially if the brothers were as close as often stated. The solution might be horrifically “simple.” The family was targeted by someone they knew in passing, who had been working for them at some time, or whom they did not know at all but who had been observing them. It could have been that this family was taken in a home invasion, cash stolen, vehicle stolen, the family killed and the perps fled. These sorts of evil creatures do not usually touch credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts. To try to pin this awful crime on a family member because he/she does not act the way you think is appropriate, or because of unsubstantiated assumptions is not only wrong, but detrimental to those who love this family. Leave the “detecting” to the police, please.

  • fabio

    We dont know much about Summer’s past. What was her life like before Joseph? What was she like when she was called Lisa, Virginia, Martelli or Aranda? The focus is on Joseph’s family and friends but what about HER past? Ok she changed her name more than once – no big deal- but did any of her relatives said something about her past?

  • dee

    chase m did it all clues link to him iff mcstay family call him at 8.30 pm they lat they house at 7.47pm hmmmmm..and u say u watching a movie…

  • lisa

    The Mcstays puchased a forclosure., I wonder if the authorities have looked into the prior owners or tenants. During the recent wave of foreclosures, many families were pissed off (and rightly so) about losing their homes. A former owner or tenant would have known the surronding area and would have had time to plan. I hope they catch who is responsible. God bless them.

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    Two things have always convinced me that this was a murder by someone well known to the family in that house. The missing Futon cover. And the 170 lb dog left alive. And again, no other explanation for TEN days passing before Mike in fact contacts authorities. There was a lot of staging going on here and clean up. Now, if the electrical cord found binding one of the victims is found to be from either their residence or vehicle, that is further proof. Just the location and the shallowness of the gravesites alone prove this was no cartel hit as some fantasize. Awfully funny that Mike also talks of finding them in shallow graves early into the initial disappearance investigation and talks of crosses, which he in fact erected today. Coincidence? I think not. Again, think people. Those of you that even have had your small or medium size dog protect you, what a ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY POUND DOG would do to a perceived threat from a stranger in your home. I’ve had a 175 lb dog who almost ripped someone apart for just play wrestling w/me, who was otherwise the most gentlest dog in the world.

    • anony mouse

      You raise some interesting things. I searched for articles about the crosses being raised & also read the exclusive interview on the daily mail site with the information the business partner provided.

      It was strange that Michael McStay had to be almost forced (by the business partner) to investigate the home where Michael’s own brother was missing (including the entire family). When Michael met up with the business partner, Michael brought his wife and kids! Michael then broke into the home through a window. NOW…think about it! Would ANYone bring their kids & wife to a potential dangerous situation? Sure–ONLY if it is known there is no danger. The business partner said Michael even let the wife and kids INTO the home BEFORE anything was investigated as being safe! HOW did Michael know there was no danger for his own wife & kids?

      Another oddity about Michael McStay. The business partner said he kept calling Michael’s mother to get Michael to check out the family–he was worried (the business partner was worried) that something was wrong and was trying to get someone in the family to take notice and check them. It was the business partner who WORRIED about the dogs being left outside without food and water (Michael DID not even CARE). The business partner gave them food, water, and even opened a shed door in the back yard for them to huddle in from the weather. Now, even though this means the dogs were comfortable with the business partner, it still does not eliminate the dogs were ALSO comfortable with the brother who did not care about anything going on in that home (because he kept avoiding doing anything productive in finding the family).

      The business partner had his entire business (welding) tied up into Joseph McStay’s water fountain business–they had just signed up for a big Saudi Arabia deal worth $82K and had other big deals in the works. The business partner had to declare bankruptcy, lost everything, and even suffered a divorce due to the water fountain business folding after the disappearance. Clearly NO BENEFIT to him–at all. And, even to this day, the business partner is a suspect (he had a couple of bad things he did in his youth decades ago which keep being dragged up (nothing violent, he claims).

      Michael McStay wore sunglasses to the cross raising (which, according to what I read, was not his idea). In one of the news clip videos he actually ssssstutters when he says it was is first time there. His wife wore sunglasses too. I started wondering how he was/is so obsessed with Summer’s “prescription sunglasses” always noting, almost frustratingly, that they are “prescription”. IF Michael took the kids & mom first to the desert, during the day, perhaps he NEEDED sunglasses & tried to used Summer’s. THAT is one way to 100% confirm they are prescription–YOU have to try them on. When was the last time you picked up a pair of sunglasses and KNEW 100% they were prescription? It’s only after you put them on and realize you cannot use them that you know for sure. Maybe this happened. The second trip to the desert was with the white SUV driven by Joseph and he tried to call his business partner 40 minutes before he left the home. Michael made an obvious point in the “Tim walk through video” to point out “NIGHT TIME” when he held up Summer’s “prescription sunglasses”–Michael said it had to have been night time for them to have left because Summer did not TAKE her prescription sunglasses. Also, Michael claimed, recently, in his sssstuttering statement he’d never been to the desert where the bodies were buried found–if so, HOW did he go so prepared–wearing his fashionably dark sunglasses standing next to his be-sunglassed wife? I know sunglasses are typical eyewear, but there’s just something odd about sunglasses & Michael and his petting & pawing at the Summer’s sunglasses & case during the Tim walkthrough which seems to stand out as just plain obsessed.

      Michael, at the cross raising, also said something strange, again…he said that it was now out in the open, in the light. Out in the open? Who says this about flesh and blood relatives, two of whom are babies, one of whom is a brother, another a mother of his baby nephews? Out in the open has something to do with a crime, not of the dead precious bodies of loved ones! If anyone lost even a beloved pet (I don’t want to use people for sensitivity reasons), but if one were to lose a beloved dog, for example, and then the body of that dog was found to have been killed and buried, would one ever say: It’s out in the open!!? No! They’d say, OMG! My poor pet! Please don’t disturb the area, don’t put your crosses there, I want to put my own! Don’t walk on this ground, there might be a bit of them still around. Let me accept they’ve been found here, dead, first! OMG! BUT NOT:
      It’s OUT IN THE OPEN! IN THE LIGHT!

      No disrespect to anyone. Just thoughts.

    • rick

      interesting points.

      one thing i’ve not seen mentioned anywhere is the possibility of infidelity playing a role in all of this? cartel hit is a long shot IMO and i doubt they’d risk exposing themselves in the US even if the father was a player. this is way too neat and it looks as though someone went to great lengths to stage an elaborate cover-up that could have only been done by someone close to the family. the perpetrator covered their tracks in expert fashion with money not appearing to be a factor in any way which confirms to me that this was very, VERY personal.

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    Check out Michael’s intent concentration during the press conference, when a reporter asks if any DNA or clues were found @ gravesites to indicate who had a role in the slayings. It’s amazing the look on his face anticipating & then he nervously turns around and looks @ one of the family members behind him, which looks like Joe Russell, who I believe they say is his brother-in-law. I also find it very interesting that in the walk thru w/Tim on the Video, he has Bear on a leash and then let’s him go in the house, but then steps outside.

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    @ Anony Mouse, here is the quote I am referring to that makes it more than a bit eerie!

    “My fear is that I’m looking for two adult shallow graves and … my two nephews’ crosses,” Michael McStay said. “If there’s no evidence of foul play at the house, like police said, it doesn’t mean there’s not a crime scene elsewhere.” 

    Mike McStay, Orange County Register, March 26, 2010. Click Here.

    • anony mouse

      @NotAnArmchairDetective: Stange quote! I tried to find him saying it but could not find a video. But I did see a reporter say that Michael, at the cross raising, was doing something odd, he was measuring the size of tracks and length to road, etc. She said he was busy doing that out in the open–probably, I suppose, so it would be noted (and apparently reported) Michael was doing detective work. Then, I found something odd–the business partner had done an exclusive interview with the UK, the daily mail (I had mentioned it in earlier comments I made). SO…guess what? Michael did an interview with the daily mail with “breaking” news about how he has found out that the width between OLD tracks measure 67 inches and THIS must mean, according to him, that a Bobcat “digger” was used to dig the shallow graves. What bad publicity for Bobcats considering the graves dug by their digger (supposed by Michael) could only get two shallow holes dug. Anyway, Michael says it was a wet year the year they went missing so the tracks, which are old, might be from the murderers actions at burying the bodies. He says he made a call about width of tire spread in diggers and a Bobcat digger fits 67 inches. He said that there is a quarry there and that it would be easily overlooked if there was a truck with the necessary trailer hitched (to carry the digger) to be in the desert digging two holes in mud off the road in a dip that is hard to see from the road anyway (according to him). ? And he says that there is a shooting range close by, so any bullets being fired would be, also, overlooked (or not heard as important or odd). Interesting how he has this all figured out. But, if set up, it would be a good thing, considering he made a point to bug law enforcement and detectives and anyone who would listen to his “digger” theory, (he told the UKs’ Daily Mail he reported his breaking findings in the investigation). I suppose this means a gun may have been used (although Michael is the only one, I could find in press that reports the possibility if it is a possibility at all). I found it interesting, too, that Michael brought the pink Care Bear, it was seen in one of the videos and it was on the ground–but not at a cross, just placed on the ground I guess to be moved, hopefully, more delicately and with more care to the appropriate child. :( Another interesting thing, Michael, in the “family blog” set up by Michael for updates on the “search” called his brother, Joseph, “Joe Dirt” on one of his birthday notations. Maybe it was a old nickname Michael had for his older brother, but it just was strange to see it considering Michael’s public announcement of late of how he is in construction and understands the machines necessary to move dirt, aka “the digger”. Will check back again to see your comments! Let me know if you have a link to that video, I’d be interested to see/hear it.

      • http://google Jemma

        Interesting about Mike calling his brother ‘Joe Dirt’. In different threads right after the disappearance Mike was commenting under the name ‘Mike Dirt’.
        After getting some negative threads he deleted all info he was attaching ie interviews photos.
        In Mike’s “business’ Facebook page; Precision Fire Systems he is giving the ‘hang ten’ sign and big smile just like the photo taken at the four white crosses with some guys. He has the shades on smiling from ear to ear and gesturing the ‘hang ten’. At a site where your family was murdered/buried! He does this in almost every biz FB photo. One creepy caption says “Mikey likes it when a plan comes together”. You can bet who wrote that!

  • Lee

    You people are complete asses! Keep your hurtful speculations to yourself!

    • kitty

      Really what is your brilliant thought on the whole heinous crime?

  • MiniGirlTX

    Mike’s words about looking for them in “two shallow graves…and crosses for his nephews”, give me reason for concern. Also, “it’s out in the open now”, seems very telling to me. Not sure what his involvement is, if any, but his words are very questionable IMO. Most crimes are committed by someone that knows the victims. As rick stated, this was a VERY PERSONAL crime. I don’t see cartel involvement here…again, JMHO. RIP McStay family.

  • Hmm

    Somehow I doubt a family member was involved and carefully offed each member of the family, including kids. It would take a very heartless & calculated person.
    The fact they were all murdered and buried in the desert and never caught with a bit of evidence anywhere shows to me this was a professional hit. Seems drug-related to me. His entire business and all the details behind it seems extremely fishy.
    I would really love to know what the police AREN’T releasing.
    Since we do not even know the manner of the crime as it was not released, I wouldn’t say it sounds personal at all. Personal would be against one person. The entire family was taken down though. Normal people in the world are not very good at “expertly” covering up crimes.

    • Missy

      I know a lot of people wont quite understand this, but not leaving evidence at a crime scene is not something that only career criminals can accomplish. Ted Bundy, Jeffery Dahmer, hell even the Manson Family repeatedly committed crimes and left hardly any DNA, if any was left at all, not just because they were experienced killers, when Ted Bundy first started killing he wasn’t a “career criminal” he had just started killing people. Also, the West Memphis Three case, every piece of DNA or evidence at the crime scene were things that could be considered and is considered by a jury nothing but second hand transfer. So just because it was a clean crime scene, that doesn’t mean some cartel hitman killed the family. With that said, it is a possibility, but highly unlikely…especially considering children, very small children were killed and to kill a child is a rare thing for the cartel. They would rather sell them into sex trafficking, or groom them to become part of the cartel. Another thing, you cannot really speculate as to how passionate the crime was unless you know how they were killed. I agree with why they aren’t releasing it, but if they were each killed with a gunshot to the head then its more likely it was a hitman, if one of them or all of them were beaten extensively, then the crime was more passion based and was probably a close friend or family member. Just some things to consider:]

  • Hmm

    career criminals on the other hand….

  • nachost

    might be drug related! Mexican cartels did kill young children before and after the Mcstay vanished. The car left at the border could be a signature. Who knows? Its not like cartels always proceed the same way when they execute people. It would be ignorant to pretend mexican cartels only do their business in mexico. Surprisingly Joseph did a job in Tijuana fews months before they disappeared. Im just thinking maybe it is too soon to eliminate this possibility.

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    I actually think that it was very personal and the fact that the bodies were buried so close to the interstate, in shallow graves & the children in separate graves are very telling clues to me. The killer had some type of remorse and if it were a cartel they would’ve just dug a big hole & dumped all he bodies in the middle of nowhere. Sadly, this happens!

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    @ Anony mouse-Very interesting stuff! I’ve been away a few days. I will definitely look into this & get back to you w/my observations. But again, from the little bit you said, he again is playing detective, a very common trait of unsubs trying to stay close o an investigation. Yet there are so many incidences documented online where someone claims to have sent in tips to the McStay website & they were never contacted or followed up on. That flashes a huge alarm to me. The only reason not to follow up, is because you already know the truth and know it cannot be credible. To me, the fact that the bodies were found very near to the interstate & in shallow graves w/the children being buried separately screams of remorse. A cartel would’ve dumped all the bodies in one mass grave in the midst of nowhere. This is hard to even type, because of the horrific imagery it brings to mind, but I picture them just being shit execution style in the head and pushed into the graves. It would account for the lack of an official crime scene & DNA evidence. Very probable that the burial site is the crime scene and don’t be surprised if that does in fact be the case that someone may have still been breathing when they were buried. This is just a horrifying ordeal no matter what!

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    @ Anony mouse-Very interesting stuff! I’ve been away a few days. I will definitely look into this & get back to you w/my observations. But again, from the little bit you said, he again is playing detective, a very common trait of unsubs trying to stay close o an investigation. Yet there are so many incidences documented online where someone claims to have sent in tips to the McStay website & they were never contacted or followed up on. That flashes a huge alarm to me. The only reason not to follow up, is because you already know the truth and know it cannot be credible. To me, the fact that the bodies were found very near to the interstate & in shallow graves w/the children being buried separately screams of remorse. A cartel would’ve dumped all the bodies in one mass grave in the midst of nowhere. This is hard to even type, because of the horrific imagery it brings to mind, but I picture them just being shit execution style in the head and pushed into the graves. It would account for the lack of an official crime scene & DNA evidence. Very probable that the burial site is the crime scene and don’t be surprised if that does in fact be the case that someone may have still been breathing when they were buried. This is just a horrifying ordeal no matter what!

    • kitty

      Yep that is what I believe too. I believe they were either lured, out to this Chase guys house(who had a home very near the gravesite), maybe on the pretense that he had money for Joseph. They immd. took the drive to get the chk, or whatever money, sign a deal perhaps? Who knows the invesigators will hopefully piece it together. It is a fact though that there was some sort of emotional attachment/remorse there for sure. I also picture in my mind, that all were shot execution style, & possibly by someone who had NEVER committed a murder before(hence the graves being so close to the hwy/shallow etc), in other words may be just a kid or young adult that was ordered to carry this brutal heinous murder out, was commanded to do as they were told. They may have not even wanted to partake, perhaps they were made to feel like they “had” to to gain the respect & approval from their adult figure/mentor. I do not believe this was a cartel hit. Not at all. This stinks of “revenge”, “anger” “making a pt”, “trying to feel better about whatever it was that the killer/killer’s perceived, was an effrontery or slight, or whatever. I do not believe they wanted money. I think it was well planned out, just not carried out with no trail. The trail is there now. The crime scene exits, the remains of these poor people/babies have been found. NOW LAW ENFORCEMENT can do their job, and solve this horrible crime.

  • matt smith

    At first I though mexican cartel, drugs, owed money, but the more you think about it, if it was drug hitmen, or cartel, etc,, they would not
    even bother burying anyone, because the longer they would be with the bodies the bigger chance they would get caught. If it was a “hit”, it would be quick and over, let them lie where it happened, in the street, car, etc…and walk away. Besides, even a hitman, owed drug money, etc, would not usually kill innocent children. I would consider it a robbery, like perhaps, they went to buy drugs, had a substantial amount of money, and got robbed by whoever they were buying from. Possibly this guy everyone is wondering about?

  • NotAnArmchairDetective

    @ Kitty. Chase lost everything after Joseph disappeared. His living was dependent on Joseph being alive and someone could’ve placed those bodies in close proximity to him for exactly the reason to set him up. Also, he’s the only one close to Joseph who has kept his silence and been respectful this entire time by not talking and he is also the person who alerted the McStays continuously that soemthing was wrong and a well being ck needed to be done and the family reported missing. Also, biz gone bad does not normally include children. Hell, the mafia doesn’t even like to wipe out entire families. I truly think it was because something got out of hand and the two little boys would’ve been able to have recognized the perp so that is why they too were targeted. I also find it highly curious that Joseph and Mikes mother was in there fiddling with and cleaning up the crime scene. Her thoughts could be she already lost Joseohs entire family and didn’t want to lose Mike as well….it happens. Also, why wouldn’t you have taken their things and stored them in a persons garage or rented a small storage unit? You would only toss out and get rid of their things if you knew they were in fact not returning! Anony mouse made an extremely valid point earlier in this thread that I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of. Why when Mike McStay finally went to check on the status of the fam, would he have taken his wife and kids along? If a similar incident occurred in my fam, I’d be terrified that I’d be walking into a crime scene finding bodies or something if my loved ones were gone, disappeared w/o a trace and no contact. My sights have solely been set on Mike McStay the entire time, since very early on in this case, but if I were to have any other thoughts to anyone, it’d most definitely be the web designer, Dan Kavanaugh who previously threatened Joseph and was embezzling money after the disappearances. But I personally would never look beyond those two individuals. They both had motive, means and opportunity and either one would be easily recognizable to the boys. Dan Kavanaugh reminds me of Skylar Deleon, so I wouldn’t be too terribly shocked if he had his hand in this somewhere. Law enforcement are going to make sure they have a case that sticks and they may only have been waiting for more physical evidence such as the bodies. This will be a huge capital case. Whereas I like discussing this case w/others since I’ve been following it for so long, it still sickens me deep in the pit of my stomach to imagine the absolute horror these people must have encountered and those two beautiful baby boys!

    • anony mouse

      Interesting.

      Last night, late, for some reason this dreadful thought came over me. I had read a comment from someone on another internet news article which I thought was a joke, but then I started to get sick with dread over thinking about it. The comment was something like, “in 2000 years they’ll be dug up by archeologists” (I’m really paraphrasing here, I cannot find the comment but it’s on a site that does not require Facebook (like this one)).

      Anyway, if you look at the family website Michael McStay keeps for “clues”, etc, there is a photo section. Mike set this up, he chose the pictures, he put them in order and uploaded them I am assuming. Did you ever look at them in order, then look at them in reverse order (82 pictures)? They sort of tell a story of archeology, digging, bones, discovering, kids covered in wet dirt/mud, the dad lying down, eyes closed, in sand, the mom and two boys dressed for Halloween in dinosaur costumes and then the dad and two boys at a museum looking up dig sites/bones, etc. There is a picture of one child using truck equipment, the pink care bear is in the pictures as well, the first day given (birthday present, perhaps) and in the dirt with the child playing with it.

      What I’m trying to say is the pictures sort of tell a tale of bones being discovered in some kind of unearthing….sort of like a morbid comic strip of sorts which predicted their FATE before the bodies were discovered as bones in dirt dug up as if some archeological find.

      BUT what bothered me most was this overwhelming feeling (yes, I felt this and this is pure speculation, so forgive me, but I have to say it)—WHAT if the reason the Mexico trip was searched was to either SELL the children or to KIDNAP one or two of the children to either make $$ from their sale, or to LIVE with a chosen child (one child, the younger with a restricted vocabulary due to age).

      There were THREE graves dug (I’ve read recently). Perhaps, one for each victim, the older boy (who can spill), the mom, the dad, and the younger would be taken over the border (to start a new life), or to be sold, outright.

      IF Michael had some big brother conflict–because Michael is the younger brother to a successful Joseph (older brother), he (Michael) may never felt he could measure up, perhaps he started “missing” his brother long before his brother went missing. There were two young sons, the “two boys” which made Michael objectify the two little boys as “things” in the way, or “things” to own himself to use or sell…

      Michael made it a point to state (on film in the Tim walkthrough) that he had the okay to walk through the house because the detectives stated the home was not a crime scene. AND he made it a point to state that the wife’s camera was missing.

      Did the mom, the wife, Summer, video something Michael did not want public because he was very concerned when Summer’s brother said there were many more, 20 or so SD cards hanging around. Michael said he could take them and send copies of what was on them to whomever.

      Was Michael involved in any pedophile activity with one or more of the nephews? Sounds bad, but perhaps this is a motive and/or perhaps Michael was caught & allowing $$ to be taken from Joseph’s account for “hush” money from someone in the know or someone involved.

      Of course this is all speculation, and I mean no one any offense or hurt, but there is something wrong with how Michael has acted and statements he has made/makes. The picture of late, of him and his wife, in sunglasses, standing in the center of the four crosses with others all fooling around, smiling, giving the same hand sign Joseph was known to give in his photos, IF you saw that, you’d wonder, HOW in the world could ANYONE, (never mind his own brother/their own uncle, her own brother-in-law) STEP among their graves smiling and monkeying for the camera?!

      Joseph McStay’s father made it clear he does NOT, at all, suspect the business partner who gave the interview with the Daily Mail.

      • Treymon

        Dear Lord!

  • doubtydoubt

    Knowing the fact Chase and Joseph had lunch the day the family disappeared, I thought maybe Chase asked for more money in future contracts. Maybe they had an argument and Joseph left angry.
    When Joseph was on his way back home Chase called him multiple times…Maybe they could not agree and armed Chase decided to go at the Mcstay’s house with a sketchy revenge plan…I dont think so.

  • doubtydoubt

    I think Chase had financial problems BEFORE the family disappeared. I am sure he wanted more money for his part in Joseph’s business. Maybe he cleared Joseph thinking he could handle the business and the contracts all by himself…not really

  • lindsay

    the 3 suspects are???????????????

    • Treymon

      1) DK(former web-designer for Joseph’s business and friend – they’d recently had a falling out and DK was threatening JM). It was discovered by PI hired by Joseph McStay’s father that money was in fact missing from one of Joseph’s bank accounts. The money was withdrawn from JM’s account via PayPal into DK’s grandfather’s bank account during the week after the McStay’s disappeared but BEFORE they were reported missing.
      2) MJM, current husband of Joseph’s ex-wife. Step-father of Joseph’s son with her. Allegations of child abuse (maybe JM’s son from 1st marriange – I’m not sure who the child is that he may have hurt or tried to hurt). Claims that MJM is a dirt bike enthusiast who frequents Mojave in the very area where the bodies were discovered. He has a serious rap sheet a mile long.
      3) Not sure of 3rd possible suspect.

  • Ian

    Mike may not have done it ,but he knows who did at least!He needs a full polygraph and a 20 hr. shake down in a small room. He will crack. Ive known this fam 4 many years and Mikey is sketching hard in his interviews. If le is reading this…PLEASE go hard on Mike. HE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED!~

  • melissa

    I’m with you….definately someone close to the family, definitely not bus partner (no motive), Definately need to take a close look at the brother. Has he been asked to do a polygraph?

    • mat

      Motive is clear. JM wasn’t able to pay rent in San Clemente, only because someone he lent money to promised to pay him back and didn’t. Mcstays move to new house, start remodeling, and now they really do need that promised $ to remodel. This is causing spousal problems because JM lent a bunch to MM, and Summer is growing upset. JM informs MM he needs to repay the loan. MM eliminates them and now he doesn’t owe them $. He wasn’t trying to take JM’s bank acct, but he was just taking off the burden of debt. He then capitalizes on the situation by selling the story to the media. “I will entertain any reasonable offer to produce a show covering my brother, sister[sic]*, & nephews”–MM
      *sister-in-law

      • batiana

        how can someone buy a new house when they are not able to pay a monthly rent?? Not sure ‘the debt problem” is a reliable information.

        • Treymon

          I also question those allegations. Even if they had stopped paying their rent, it could be because they’re landlord was not fulfilling the lease agreement. Joseph and Summer could have figured the landlord has their security deposit so they decided they were not going to pay their last month’s rent – or something along those lines.

        • Jerry Lamonica

          I’ve always thought it strange that after closing on a new home the McStays still had 100K in the bank. I’ve purchased a few home in my lifetime any after each closing we ate macaroni & cheese for two weeks. I find it strange for middle class people to have that much left after a home purchase.

      • Susan

        Very plausible. I think your theory is a good one. I feel that MM could very well be involved.
        The fact that he mentioned “two” shallow graves as oppossed to four or maybe three or just one, makes one wonder.

        But a bigger question is: Why kill two defenseless children?

        Very sad.

  • Treymon

    Michael McStay and the rest of the McStay family have had to become detectives because the San Bernardino sherrif’s department came to the incorrect conclusion very early in their “investigation” that the McStay’s left their home and the U.S. voluntarily. The SB sherrif’s department ridiculously based their assumption on the terrible cctv video of what they believed to be the McStay family entering Mexico (I believe on the same date that their vehicle was located in San Ysidro). If anyone has ever crossed the border or been in the area around the CA/Mexico border, they would know that there are cameras EVERYWHERE. That footage only shows a silhouette of what may be a family of 4 walking across the border. However, since there are cameras EVERYWHERE why did the sheriff’s dept not look at the at better video footage of people passing through the checkpoints? Why not cameras around the parking lot where their suv was located? If the McStay family entered Mexico they would have been captured on more than 1 cctv. Also, the children’s birth certificates were not with the McStays. Summer’s passport was expired. Only Joseph Sr. had a current passport. How would they have been able to walk into Mexico?

    From all the tv interviews I’ve seen of Michael McStay he’s always appeared genuinely and sincerely concerned with the whereabouts and welfare of his brother, sister-in-law and his nephews. I’ve always heard him speak in the present tense about his brother and his brother’s family (until their remains were discovered). I’ve always heard Michael say he believes or hopes his brother, Summer and their boys are still alive. He has always stated he does not believe they left voluntarily.

    If Michael and Joseph had a sibling rivalry – so what. That’s pretty normal in ALL families. Michael first reported the family missing to the police on Feb 13th, 9….that’s NINE days after anyone spoke to or physically saw them. I’ll admit that does seem a long time but the thought that not one but 4 of your family members have all met with foul play and disappeared is extremely unbelievable. Michael called or went to the sheriff’s office again on Feb 15th concerned the police weren’t taking the report seriously (which he was right about – the local police weren’t until November 15, 2013 – 2 years and 10 months AFTER they were reported missing). That’s what in any normal world is considered bad police work. Unless the sheriff’s dept was pretending to believe they’d left voluntarily to through off the perpetrator(s) in hopes they (the perp) would become very confident and careless leading them to be easily found out; it’s shoddy police work when officials grab on to one theory and refuse to entertain other possible scenarios. Also, what type of detectives would take that terrible cctv border footage seriously?

    Ok so now a bunch of you are going to criticize Michael McStay because after the remains of his brother’s body and those of his entire family were discovered, he allowed a tear to linger on his cheek and did not wipe it away during a press conference? Now if he didn’t cry or pretended to cry without any tears you’d all be saying something negative about that. And if no one from the McStay family would have had the courage to speak at the press conference you would all be proclaiming that their refusal to speak before the cameras as evidence of guilt or knowledge of the crime. Guess what? Michael McStay DOES in fact wipe the tear away during the press conference. Not with his hand. He bends his face into the left side or left sleeve of his tshirt.

    Also, if Michael did make a comment that Joseph would be found, along with the others, in a “shallow grave” so what. Are you kidding me? You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to have that kind of theory. Sadly people when people are murdered they are FREQUENTLY found in shallow graves. Murder is difficult and digging a grave is a lot more work than most realize.

    And wow! Michael McStay and his wife had on sunglasses in the San Bernardino desert where the bodies were discovered? Really? Geez that’s really weird (sarcasm here). Who wears sunglasses when they’ve been crying for days and nights on end and their before cameras and their in the desert with sunshine all around?

    Also, if memory serves me correctly it was Dan Kavanaugh (web master for Joseph’s business) who first contacted Michael McStay claiming he’d been trying to call Joseph for a few days but had been unsuccessful and was “worried.” Dan Kavanaugh and Joseph McStay had recently had a falling out. By all accounts Joseph was being mature, professional and civil and even gave DK money to make a clean break but DK was threatening Joseph. Joseph was sad about the situation because he considered Dan Kavanaugh a friend. Joseph’s children referred to him as “Uncle Dan.”

    It had recently been reported that contrary to SB sheriff dept claims that the McStay family bank accounts were untouched after their disappearance that money from at least one of the McStay accounts or perhaps Joseph McStay’s business account was being diverted to DK’s grandfather’s bank account by way of PayPal. Joseph McStay’s father was so disillusioned by the shoddy police work he was compelled to hire a private investigator who discovered that money had been taken during the week after the Mcstays last being seen and heard from. DK is the person to watch.

    They were murdered by an individual they knew. The children were murdered because they could id the murderer. I believe the person had been a friend and employee of Joseph McStay’s but it’s not his business partner who is responsible for the crime.

    This crime will be solved within the next 2-2.5 months. It is a white male in his early or mid-30′s with brown hair and blue eyes who worked with Joseph McStay and was friends with the McStay family. This person was envious of Joseph; jealous of his business success and coveted his family. This person is charming and intelligent. But he’s narcissistic and even worse a psychopath.

    Joseph’s only fault was that he didn’t realize it until it was too late.

    PS- The only drugs involved are the illegal ones which the perp uses. I don’t know if he’s an addict or simply uses recreationally but drugs are indeed involved. However Joseph and Summer are not the druggies and they were not buying, selling or transporting drugs. This crime has nothing to do with Mexico drug cartels.

    • Affe

      And Michael offered up to $1000 reward !!!!

      • ceci

        Mikey did not offer any reward at all… that reward came from a different source

    • Curious George

      I can’t get past the shallow grave quote.

  • Treymon

    I meant late 20′s/early 30′s. The perp is a very jealous vindictive narcissistic psychopath. And meant to write “they’re” not “their.” It’s late in the east.

    My condolences to Joseph and Summer Mcstay’s family and friends.

  • sammy

    I would like to know how DK managed to take money out of Joseph’s account via paypal..after the disappearance.

  • Bethswann

    Has anyone heard if chases alibi of watching a movie with his girlfriend is true? Has the girlfriend confirmed this? Strange that the last call made was to him and was after the car had left the house….. Sounds like chase got joes phone and called himself to prove that his own phone was at home when he himself was at joes house.

  • Leonardo

    I am interested on what happened to this family,especially for the kids,and what i can say is that the cartels of drug just kill the people right on the place or leave the bodies visible to send the terrorific message,why buried them?and why take their truck to the border to make it appear they crossed the border…walking??come on,you are gringos and i am mexican but i am not stupid.That picture showing the brother as if they were in disneyland makes me sick,looks like he or them were celebrating a kind of victory,i am indignated as well.

  • vicky

    Everyone has there own thoughts and suspicions lets let the detectives hopefully get it right/seeing how they were so off on the fact they were in Mexico *I didn’t even believe that when aired on the show Disappeared. Here is a question that may not have been thrown out there yet/since the house they just moved into had only been lived in for a short while-who lived there previous?? Maybe someone was looking for the former owners idk just a thought/so many theories hopefully the police will get it solved. What pisses me off is that they were so hell bent on the fact they went to Mexico, that wasted so much time. GOD BLESS THE FAMILY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!!!!

  • Leonardo

    @Affe,do you know if the brother paid the motorist who found the remains of the bodies?

  • Jim

    Sancelle is the only one with any sense on here.
    99% of murdered bodies are found in shallow graves.
    The house is not a crime scene.
    You morons need to get lives of your own and let the police solve the crime.
    I have a speculative scenario that makes more sense than anything I have read on here, but I’m going to wait and see if I am right.
    Your speculations are overlooking many facts in the case.

  • lynn martin

    I believe that Mike McStay and his Mother are protecting the person the murdered this family. It is something they feel they have to do – to protect Joey’s oldest son. They discovered what had happened to their family – and were protecting the murderer and have been ever since. Their actions shout out cover-up at every opportunity.
    It is the stepfather to Joey’s oldest son. Take the time to think back and review the actions of Mike and his Mom; they are covering for someone……….think about what was found on the seat of the truck that Summer hadn’t even had a chance to share with Joey yet.
    The letter from Child Services……..I believe McFAdden flipped with the allegations………..and lost it on Joey and FAmily……..and took them out…….

    • ceci

      Yes, Michael McFadden is the most violent character of the three suspects and it seems he threatened the McStays over the CPS filing. He has the most motive, he wanted them gone, all of them.

      • ceci

        And, I agree with you on Mike McStay and Susan Blake’s involvement.

  • kyle

    3 suspects, 3 possible motives. Kavanaugh (money), Mcfadden (revenge) or Johansen (jealousy). We will see…

  • kyle

    3 suspects, 3 possible motives…Kavanaugh(money), Mcfadden(revenge) or Johansen(jealousy). We will see!

  • Georgie porgie

    I can bet you a million bucks that the person or people who did this to this beautiful family might be on here reading all these comments. If they are I just got one thing to say. I hope when they find you I hope you burn in hell. I do think Mike has something to do with this crime . He always has a quick answer to any question asked . He seems to love when the camera is on him. It’s almost like he’s celebrating what he did to his brother and his family. He has this HAHA type attitude like HAHA look what I did and look I’m getting away with it. Interesting

  • Bip

    I believe that the dad was murdered and buried first. Murdered by Summer’s secret boyfriend, who than ran to Mexico with Summer and the boys. He later killed the three when Summer went off the deep end due to stress thus risking exposure of the murder of Joey, and buried them near the dad. That is why there are two sets of vehicle tracks to the graves, and that is why there are multiple graves. The explanation for the third grave, which was empty, could be that the killer, initially not being an experienced murderer/grave-digger, buried Joey too shallow, and reburied him in one of the two graves containing the other three bodies. In reviewing Summer’s phone and email records, law enforcement may be able to determine the identity of the boyfriend and solve the case.

  • http://google Jemma

    When viewing the video once again of brother Mike walking through the house with the Texas EquSearch guy Mike goes outside to talk to a neighbour and tells them if they have any info to get in touch with him/gives them his mobile number. He did not say call the police. When someone mentions a white truck seen the night the family vanished Mike quickly chimes in in precise detail a description of Chase Merritt's truck. When in fact Mike McStay owns an all white Dodge Ram. Interesting how Mike/Joey's mother made sure house was stripped of anything of value in a short time after disappearance. They sold the brand new appliances shortly after they went missing. No family member even attempted to keep up the mortgage payments on Joey/Summer's house even for 2-3 months as if they know for sure they weren't coming back.