GIANNI AND JOSEPH JR. MCSTAY – CASE FAR FROM OVER – USMCC000404LTWH – UPDATED 02.10.2014
GIANNI AND JOSEPH JR. MCSTAY
The McStay family disappeared, for years their family questioned where their loved ones could be, then the McStay’s bones were found in the desert, bringing tremendous grief and no more answers, only more questions. Yet still the McStay’s relatives remained strong and determined. A memorial was held, true to who Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joey Jr. were and surrounded by everything they loved. The news started to taper off as the public was swept up in newer, more current cases – and still the McStay’s loved ones have remained committed to finding answers.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detectives took over the case from the FBI and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, and has refused to discuss the investigation publicly. However that does not mean that the investigation has been pushed to the background. The McStay’s family members have stated that the detectives have asked them to remain silent surrounding their investigation, and it is a request which the family members fully understand and support. “I don’t want to jeopardize the case. I want to do what they have asked me to. I just want them to catch whoever it is, I want justice,”” stated Tracy Russell, Summer’s sister. The autopsies done on the McStay family have been sealed, and the exact cause of death has not been released.
Rick Carlson, a retired San Diego police homicide detective, who is NOT associated with the McStay case, has stated that San Bernardino County Detectives will “have to play catch up from all the information that San Diego provided.” The process will not be a quick one. “Everybody would like to see the suspect in jail right away, but you have to have the proof that is going to put these people in jail. It’s frustrating sometimes even for the detectives. They want to solve the case, but they don’t want to jump the gun.” Homicide detectives must be methodical and must be patient. Carlson also says that investigators may be getting new leads from forensic evidence found at the grave sites.
The book “No Goodbyes” written by Rick Baker about the McStay family’s disappearance has been one of the most volatile and explosive controversies since the McStay family’s bodies were located. The book has proven to be a completely misleading theory of events which occurred involving the McStays’. The very public battle between Baker and Joseph McStay’s father, Patrick, has been charged with emotion, and has ended with Baker conceding that his book was little more than a work of fiction. In a blog post a few months ago, Baker wrote that most of his theories were wrong. He has offered refunds to anyone who bought the book before the family was located deceased, and asked the public to stop purchasing the remaining copies still on the shelves in their local bookstores. He has since remained rather quiet.
The McStay family’s story is far from over, and we will remain vigilant until justice is served for the four incredible souls that were lost.
MCSTAY MEMORIAL – A BEAUTIFUL TRIBUTE TO AN INCREDIBLE FAMILY
Yesterday afternoon hundreds of people gathered together to celebrate and honor the lives of Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joey Jr. McStay in a way which was true to the life the family lived. A life that centered around the beach, ocean, family and friends. Joseph’s mother, Susan Blake is grateful for the support the public has shown. She found comfort in the outpouring of love she and her family have received since the family’s bodies were discovered.
“It’s a sad day but, They’re in heaven. There’s so much love in there today … It’s hard … very, very hard. We know we were loved and they were loved.” Although the ceremonies were beautiful and honored the McStay family, Susan says they do not provide any closure for her. “The worst pain any parent – period – could feel and now, it’s like a boulder on your chest. I need those unanswered questions. I need justice. I waited almost four years with hope to find them … That chapter of hope is closed and I need to start a new chapter of justice.”
Susan also commented on the public’s support saying “I wanted to show the whole world appreciation for all the love and support you’ve given us.” Joseph’s brother Mike also spoke of the ceremony, saying he found peace “remembering the goodness” of his family.
Family friend, Linda Cooper, called the ceremony beautiful, intimate, precious and sweet. Summer’s brother, Ken Aranda, spoke of his sister’s memorial, “This is something they loved. This is something we all can enjoy and it’s something to remember them by, so definitely going to get some closure.”
Following the church ceremony, surfers paddled out into the ocean at the San Clemente pier. The group formed a circle holding hands, honoring the lifestyle the McStay family loved. Friends and family gathered on the pier throwing orchids into the ocean, as the group of surfers cheered and splashed water at each other, choosing to remember the family for their loving, compassionate, kind ways, rather than focusing on their deaths.
Four white leis were released into the ocean symbolizing each member of the McStay family. Family and friends watched as the leis disappeared and whispered their final goodbyes as they shared their memories of Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joey Jr. Family friend Guy Joseph stated “This is what we do for our fallen comrades. We paddle out and show the love. When you were around them, you just kind of wanted to be a better person.”
The beauty of the memorial was overwhelming. Watching family and friends share smiles and laughs, spoke to just how incredible and how loved Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joey Jr. were. While this story is far from over – the McStay family can now rest in peace. They will continue to be honored and celebrated, and they will continue to inspire those whose lives they touched. Their family will also continue to fight to seek justice for them, and those who are responsible for their murders will be held accountable. However, what has changed now, is that the family can seek this justice with a small amount of peace, knowing that they have honored and celebrated the lives of Joseph, Summer, Gianni and Joey Jr. in a way that would make the McStay’s proud.
When it comes to sharing with the public how to honor the family, Mike McStay said it best.
“For today, just remember them. Remember my brother. Remember my sister. Remember my nephews. Celebrate their life.”
McStay Family Memorial Set For Saturday, January 4, 2014
The McStay Family Memorial has been set for this coming Saturday, January 4, 2014. The Memorial will be held at the Vineyard Community Church at 27632 El Lazo Road in Laguna Niguel, CA. The church ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12:00PM. Be sure to arrive early, as seating is limited.
A paddle out at San Clemente Pier will then be held at 2:00PM the same afternoon. OC Sheriff will be helping with the traffic abatement at the Pier as parking and access may become congested. During the beach ceremony, four leis will be released into the ocean in honor of Joseph Sr., Summer, Gianni and Joseph Jr. McStay. Orchids will also be released and candles will be lit.
The family is asking everyone to join them in honoring the true essence of the McStay family, who loved the beach and ocean.
A statement from the McStay’s family members was released on the McStay Family Website regarding the showing of support for the family reading:
“My family is overwhelmed by the love and support that friends and strangers have shown us from around the world, including the donations made on the family’s website. If anyone has a question about the donations I feel like because of the generosity of the public, I would be remiss if I didn’t give full disclosure for the donations received, in total $4483.02. McStay Family and Friends would never even consider prospering during this tragedy.
All donations are going toward our operating expenses, such as flyers, private investigative work, a potential reward fund, and any other expenses that arise. All donations are monitored by a third party not related to the family for integrity. Questions or concerns can be emailed to him directly: firstname.lastname@example.org”
Please feel free to stop by the website and show your support for the family if you are unable to attend the Memorial.
I would like to ask all members of our Lighting Their Way Home Family to light a candle in honor of the McStays Saturday evening. By all accounts the McStays were a wonderful family that loved one another fiercely. While we do not have answers to the questions surrounding exactly what happened to the family, we know all we need to know to honor a family whose lives were taken far too soon.
To the entire McStay family – from our family to yours, we are deeply sorry for the tragedy you are experiencing. Our thoughts and love are with you all at this difficult time.
PLAYERS IN THE MCSTAY FAMILY’S DISAPPEARANCE AND MURDERS – WHO ARE THEY?
Four names have been floating around the news in connection with the McStay family recently, Dan Kavanaugh, Vick Wyatt Johansen, Chase Merritt and Michael McFadden. CBS News 8 has done a great job of investigative reporting and have put together some great information about each of these men, allowing us to take a closer look into their lives and history. All the information in this update is taken from the numerous articles published by CBS News 8. So let’s recap what they have uncovered.
Dan Kavanaugh, 32, was an employee of Joseph McStay’s. As a web designer by trade, he had been in charge of developing the online presence for Joseph’s custom fountain design and manufacturing business, Earth Inspired Products.
So what does Kavanaugh have to add to this mystery? Well, within a week of the McStays’ disappearance, large amounts of money began to be transferred out of Joseph McStay’s business bank account, and it turns out that Kavanaugh was involved in these transactions. Kavanaugh was the recipient of thousands of dollars from the account, AFTER the McStays went missing. And what is Kavanaugh’s explanation for these transactions? Well, he states that the money was used to keep the business going while Joseph was missing. He also told CBS News 8 that he was actually working with Joseph’s brother, Michael McStay and Joseph’s mother, Susan Blake, when the withdrawals were made. “I actually transferred it to myself with Mike’s knowledge, none of that money went to me. That money went to vendors, welders and manufacturers. … Mike and I and his mom tried to salvage and run the business that we had built for a long time.” Kavanaugh stated. The business would not stay up and running for long though. In July of 2011, Kavanaugh sold Earth Inspired Products to Matthew Schneider and Joaquin Quintero who then in turn created the corporation Water Feature Supply Inc. The sale of the business, however, was messy and resulted in a lawsuit being filed which detailed ownership disputes between Schneider and Quintero and another individual, Patrick Maloy. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed resulting in Maloy retaining ownership of the Water Feature Supply domain and business. The selling of the business did not go well with Joseph’s father, Patrick McStay. Patrick states that Kavanaugh had no right to sell the business in the first place. “So, are you going to tell me that Kavanaugh was running the company? He had no authority to run anything. He was a nobody. He was a web guy. He took care of the web and that’s it. I think he wanted to gain access to the business and sell it.” stated Patrick. Kavanaugh responded to Patrick’s statement saying “I didn’t just do the web site, I created all of the traffic to the site. Joe did very little. He just answered the phone. I built the entire business.”
After the McStay’s disappeared, Kavanaugh did have a few run ins with the law resulting in domestic violence charges against him, however there has been no evidence uncovered that Kavanaugh was involved in the McStay’s disappearance. Kavanaugh also has a pretty solid alibi for the time surrounding the McStay’s disappearance being that from January 4, 2010 to February 17, 2010 – Kavanaugh was in Oahu, Hawaii on a surfing trip. I do think that Kavanaugh isn’t the all around nice guy that some are trying to portray him as. I do believe that there was some shady moves made regarding Joseph McStay’s business, including both the financial transactions and selling of, and while this is not evidence of murder, it definitely adds fuel to the speculation that there is more surrounding Joseph’s business, the family’s murders, and the connections between the two.
The bottom line when it comes to Dan Kavanaugh – is that we need to do some more digging and uncover the entire truth about his role in every aspect of the McStay family’s lives.
VICK WYATT JOHANSEN
Vick Wyatt Johansen is the ex-boyfriend of Summer McStay. In fact, Summer and Joseph met while Summer and Johansen, an ex-marine, were still dating and living together, and Summer became pregnant with her and Joseph’s first son Gianni, very quickly after their meeting.
Now Johansen isn’t a really nice guy, he’s not even close to it. This man’s violent tendencies are well documented. A neighbor who lived next to Johansen and Summer in 2004 actually had a restraining order filed against Johansen after he began making death threats to kill her and her children. While the woman understandably does not want to be named, the incidents have been clearly described in court documents.
“On April 20, 2004 I was standing in front of my dining room window facing my driveway when I saw a person with bleached blonde hair pass by and head for my back yard. I went to my sliding window off of my living room and opened the door to see this defendant walking up on my patio deck. He started taking off a dog run leach that he loaned us months ago. It was hooked around two trees next to my deck. As he was up on my patio deck to take the cable off of the trees he was looking at me yelling, “I am going to kill your son” over & over & over. And then said, “I am going to kill you and your daughter.” I told him that my son doesn’t live here anymore and he said, “You better stay away from my house.” As he was going to the other tree to finish taking down the dog run he was shaking a 1 ½ foot metal pipe and yelling, “I am going to kill you, your son and your daughter. I was a Marine and I know how to kill.” As he was leaving my back yard he was still yelling, “I am going to kill you, your daughter, and your son” over & over.”
Another documented incident …
“My daughter and her two friends were walking down our street and when they walked pass (sic) Vick Johansen’s house. He walked out with his dog and followed the girls very closely. As the girls got scared and walked faster, he also walked faster. The girls called me on their cell phone and they were crying & shaking because they were frightened that Vick was going to hurt them.
My son went into the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton – San Diego, CA. Now my 12 year (old) daughter and myself are alone in our house and have to fear that Vick Johansen might keep coming by our house and harassing us. Or he might follow my daughter again while she walks by his house on her way to and from school.”
Big Bear Lake Sheriff deputies arrested Johansen on April 20 of 2004 and charged him with one misdemeanor count of making criminal threats. The then 27 year old pleaded no contest and received probation. Johansen was also ordered to attend a 24-week anger management program, however Johansen failed to enroll in the program and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. Johansen would eventually complete the anger management program, but the truth is that it did nothing to rehabilitate him.
Over time Johansen kept in contact with Summer McStay, but the contact was far from a healthy just staying in touch friend sort of way. In fact, it seems that as the years passed, Johansen’s obsession with Summer only grew. According to Patrick McStay, Johansen “swore up and down that she was his soul mate and that she was going to bear his children, and no one else was going to bear his children.” Of the numerous emails Johansen sent to Summer, one reads:
“Summer, I am sincerely happy for you and your family, I am proud of you.
I assure you I am a true friend of your family.
You can still call me if you ever need help with anything.
Don’t forget about me,
I am still out here.
I genuinely care about your well being, and all those that you love.
Friendship can be the most beautiful of true love.
The trials of life will always reveal the truth.
I believe in you Summer. Don’t forget. I truely (sic) believe in you.
Knowing you’re out there gives me faith in the world.
Knowing that you are blessed with a child shows me that you’re beauty is
blossoming into the world.
All of my heart goes out to you.
Another email Johansen wrote to Summer was sent only 6 weeks before the McStays’ disappearance read:
“I love you for ever.. Happy Birthday Summer.. for ever and ever.. –Vick”
Vick Johansen only gets creepier and creepier folks. It turns out that Johansen wasn’t content with just emailing Summer, no, he needed to do one better and moved out to San Clemente, and his violent and erratic behaviour continued to escalate. On January 10, 2010, deputies arrested Johansen on charges of interfering with a business and resisting a peace office after he refused to leave the OC Tavern. Guess what was next door to the OC Tavern … an office building which Joseph McStay leased to operate Earth Inspired Products. The home where Johansen was living at the time of this arrest, was only two miles away from the home which Joseph and Summer McStay had rented prior to purchasing their new home. Johansen did plead guilty and was sentenced to one year probation and was required to provide a DNA sample. However, Johansen didn’t tame his wild ways. Johansen is currently residing in the Mono County Jail in Bridgeport, CA, on a vandalism charge for allegedly breaking out a door window of a bar in Mammoth Lakes. Apparently Johansen is known as a transient veteran in the small town who has quite the criminal history in the town. In August of 2011 Johansen picked up a felony vandalism conviction when he destroyed a roommate’s $800 computer. In June 2013 he picked up a misdemeanor disturbing the peace conviction after threatening a teller at a Bank of America. (This guy sure likes to make threats.) A month later his probation was revoked after he RETURNED to the same Bank of America, violating a court order.
So what is the bottom line for Vick Wyatt Johansen? Well – this guy is shit ass NUTS! He is clearly unpredictable and he has violent tendencies. Combine that with his obsession with Summer – and well, I wouldn’t rule anything out.
CHARLES (CHASE) RAY MERRITT
Charles (Chase) Merritt is a metal worker and was a former business partner of Joseph McStays. Merritt seems to be a hard man to find. CBS News 8 reports that after searching extensively to locate Merritt, they have turned up nothing (and they have looked into numerous addresses, phone numbers, emails, and even attempted to contact friend and family of Merritt’s.) Merritt did make one statement to an online news source only days after the McStays’ remains were found.
“I was the last person Joseph saw. He came to Rancho Cucamonga on February 4 to talk to me about a huge business deal we had going on in Saudi Arabia.
We met for an hour-and-a-half for lunch. He was so excited. We had the Saudi Arabian project and a few other things going on. The business had never been so good and we were looking forward to the future. He did nothing to suggest there was anything wrong or untoward.
We both left and went home and I spoke to him on the phone about two or three times on his drive back to Fallbrook, all standard business stuff. The last time I spoke to him was around 6 o’clock.”
The last call ever made from Joseph’s cell phone was to Merritt, the call lasted 1 minute. Merritt states that he never answered the call. During the early investigation into the McStays’ disappearance, Merritt was asked by law enforcement to take a polygraph test, Merritt obliged and passed the exam. So far it all seems pretty straight forward. Until we dive into Merritt’s past, and unfold the rap sheet as long as I am tall.
Merritt is an ex-con with a criminal history of burglary, grand theft, petty theft, receiving stolen property, criminal trespass, and NUMEROUS parole violations. His most recent felony conviction was for burglary and grand theft after he admitted to stealing $32,000 worth of welding and drilling equipment from San Gabriel Valley Ornamental Iron Works in Monrovia, CA. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail for this conviction. It would seem that Merritt just never learned his lesson and went right back to his criminal ways. Between 2001 and 2010, Merritt violated his probation several times, failed to appear in court on numerous occasions and had at least SEVEN warrants issued for his arrest, not to mention the various traffic citations he consistently received. When confronted with his criminal past, Merritt tries to do some fancy talking, but falls right on his dumb ass with the most asinine and ridiculous excuses I have ever heard. Merritt stated “Nine out of ten people on this planet have got some kind of criminal background. I am an old man. I got into trouble here and there when I was a kid (uhhh, sorry Merritt – you weren’t a kid in 2010 when you were still racking up convictions and violations.), but I do not have some long criminal history (Bahahaha), which is what people have tried to imply (you can’t imply the truth jackass).”
The bottom line with Merritt is that this guy is a scum bag. He is arrogant and self serving. I would never associate with someone like him. Did he murder the McStays – well I doubt he did … but let’s face the truth folks, you can’t really say for sure because when someone is this untrustworthy and dishonest, you just never know what they may be capable of doing next.
MICHAEL JAMES MCFADDEN
Michael James McFadden is the husband of Joseph McStay’s ex-wife, Heather, and the stepfather of Joseph’s now 17 year old son. It is being said that on February 4, 2010, only months before the McStays vanished, Summer filed a CPS complaint against McFadden. As these investigations are confidential, no comments can be made regarding the complaint at this time, and the actual content of the complaint is unknown. Patrick McStay alleges that after the complaint was filed, McFadden actually threatened Summer and Joseph in relation to the complaint but has not elaborated.
Just as the three men above, McFadden does have a criminal record – and his does include convictions for exceptionally violent crimes. In July of 1998, Huntington Beach police officers arrested McFadden after he viciously assaulted his then girlfriend. The woman’s statement reads:
“Michael McFadden broke into my house and repeatedly punched me, head butted me, choked me, kicked me … telling me he was going to kill me. I believe had I not escaped I would not be here today. … I ran to my brother’s house. The ambulance was called. Michael McFadden fled the scene to his house in Laguna and was arrested shortly thereafter. I am afraid for myself and my four children.”
Photos included with the report show that the woman suffered from a concussion and 30 stitches in her forehead. McFadden was charged with eight felony counts, including burglary, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, corporal injury to a spouse or significant other, terrorist threats and attempted murder. McFadden ended up pleading guilty to assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and terrorist threats. He was sentenced to 32 months in prison, and ended up only serving 15 of those months.
McFadden has been very closed lipped about speaking with any press or media outlet. The only possible communication from him was a statement posted on the crime-sleuthing web site, Blink on Crime, reading:
“I am Michael J. McFadden… I am not a criminal nor did I murder the McStay family… My family is trying to get through this horrible tragedy as privately as possible but I am growing tired of all the name calling and mudslinging toward me… I liked Joey and he was my friend so knock it off!
My “rap sheet” is all from one terrible night in my life. That night was the last time I consumed alcohol. I have been a solid productive member of society since. I am a father, husband and business owner. I love life and have a positive outlook… I committed a crime… years ago. That crime involved myself, my girlfriend and another man. Period. I’m not proud of it but frankly I served my time and never looked back. My family attends church and love God. We love each other and have good lives.”
So there you have it folks – knock it off! I know you are all dying to see what I think the bottom line is when it comes to McFadden, so I won’t keep you in suspense. The bottom line for McFadden is that he clearly can be violent – he didn’t just beat his girlfriend – he nearly killed her. But does that make him the one who killed the McStay family? In my opinion no. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like this fool in any way, anyone that beats a woman is a coward. However I cannot ignore that after being released from prison he has lived a pretty straight forward life not adding to his rap sheet, and that was 15 years ago. We don’t have to like McFadden, but I am not willing to label him a killer.
So there you have it – a whole lot of my unsolicited opinions! The fact is folks, we may never know what happened to the McStay family, but that does not mean that we will ever stop looking for answers. The McStay’s were all around good people, and we need to honor and celebrate their lives. We do also need to seek justice and that does mean digging around and investigating every person in their lives. We just need to remember that the majority of people that surrounded the McStays are good, loving and hard working people, that are devastated by the loss of this beautiful family.
Thank you to CBS News 8 for all of the hard work and time they have put in to bringing this information together!
UPDATE – NOVEMBER 21, 2013
Yesterday a small memorial for the McStay’s friends and family was held at the site where the McStay family’s bodies were discovered. A local group had contacted the McStay’s family members and had received permission to raise crosses in their honor.
White crosses were erected for each member of the family, as doves were released. A balloon was tied to Joseph Sr.’s cross and Happy Birthday was sung on the day that was also Joseph’s 44th birthday.
Emotions ran high and Mike McStay had a message for those responsible for the family’s deaths “You guys are cowards, and all of America is coming after you. And we’re going to find you. And we’re going to prosecute you. I’m going to be there every step of the way. And I’m going to be there when you meet your fate.”
It has been announced that a formal memorial and ocean send off will be held for the McStay family, but has yet to be set for a date. We will keep you all posted as memorials and funerals are planned.
UPDATE – NOVEMBER 19, 2013
As the ongoing investigation into who murdered the McStay family continues, Patrick McStay, Joseph Sr.’s father, is continuing to share his frustrations with the public. Most recently, he has spoken about the author of the book No Good-Byes, written by Baker, about the McStay family. Patrick claims that years back he and Baker had been in negotiations on a book deal where Baker would be the ghost writer. He claims the two signed a contract, which Baker later backed out of and wrote the book alone. Honestly, I am a little disappointed that the Patrick McStay was even thinking about writing a book during the time when he should have been focusing on finding his family. I am even more disappointed that in a time when he should be mourning and looking to have answers about who murdered his son, daughter-in-law and grandsons, he is instead bitching about a book. In my opinion, it is tacky, and completely ridiculous. HOWEVER – do not mistake my opinion on Patrick’s questionable behaviour for ignorance to his loss. Grief is a funny thing, and it comes in all shapes and sizes, each person handles their grief in their own way. I’m still sorry that the entire McStay family is enduring this nightmare, none of these people ever deserved to be taken for this sick, twisted ride. I still fully support the McStay’s, Patrick included, as they navigate through this difficult time.
The book is no longer for sale after the discovery of the McStay’s bodies completely discredited everything stated in the book. Baker’s blog regarding the McStay family was also taken down the day the bodies were discovered, it has since been put back up, although I just don’t see why Baker is still insisting on being a part of this tragedy that he used to gain fortune and fame. The McStay’s family disappearance was used by Baker to serve his own personal agenda. Baker’s book claimed that Summer McStay murdered Joseph McStay, and then fled to Mexico with Gianni and Joseph Jr. Patrick McStay, despite the fact the he was looking for a book deal, echo’s my sentiments on Baker. “He’s a flat, outright liar. He’s done nothing but use the pain and suffering of my family to advance himself.” Patrick stated. Between the sheriff’s department and the others Patrick has lashed out against in the media since learning his son was murdered, I have to assume that anger is where he is in the grieving process right now. I understand that the anger displayed, is only a reflection of the hurt this man is feeling. All I can hope for is that Patrick stand down, and grieve in private, just as his son Michael asked the media to allow his family to do. Going out and bashing anyone who has any link to the case, is not conducive to grieving privately.
UPDATE – NOVEMBER 16, 2013
The disappearance of the McStay was a baffling one. The questions were abundant, but the answers were few. The family just up and disappeared, and to know the McStay’s, is to know that they would NEVER just get up and leave without so much as a word. Over the past 3 years we have continued to search, to speculate and to hope for the family’s safe return.
Sadly those hopes have ended. The bodies found buried in shallow graves in the Mojave Desert, on November 11, 2013, have been confirmed to be those of the McStay family. An off-road motorcyclist had noticed a few scattered bones and called in a report to the sheriff’s deputies, stating he did not know if the bones were animal or human, but something compelled him to report them.
As deputies investigated, they located the two shallow graves containing 4 sets of skeletal remains. The graves were a mere 2 feet deep and were about 20 feet apart. They were able to assert that the remains appeared to have been there for an extended period of time, and that animals had scattered some of the bones, however most of the skeletons were intact.
Dental records were used to confirm the identities of the adult size skeletons as Joseph Sr. and Summer McStay. The two child size skeletons are being matched to DNA analysis of Gianni and Joseph Jr. McStay. Investigators did confirm that clothing was found with the remains, but would not release any more information stating that there was “evidence at the scene that will help complete the investigation.”
Their deaths have been classified as homicides, however autopsies are in the progress of being completed to determine the exact manner of death. An exact cause of death will not be released while the investigation is ongoing.
Patrick McStay, Joseph Sr. McStay’s father, has not been shy about sharing his disappointment and anger over how his son’s disappearance was handled by the San Diego Sheriff’s Office.
Patrick has called the investigation “the most botched, inept investigation I’ve ever seen in my entire life”, and referred to the San Diego’s Sheriff’s Office as the “dumbest, most corrupt organization” he’s ever seen. According to Patrick, the Sheriff’s Office did not contact him when the remains were discovered, instead he was sent a message on FaceBook by a friend alerting him to the discovery. In February of 2011, Patrick filed a complaint with internal affairs, and states that he had not heard from the Sheriff’s Office since that day.
He claims that he is responsible for uncovering most of the evidence in the case, ad was the one to give the authorities information that they had failed to uncover, including credit card transactions and e-mails which he believes contained important information regarding his son’s, daughter-in-law’s and grandsons’ disappearance. Patrick stated “Detective Dugal is the biggest schmuck in the world, he should resign.” He believes that authorities came to the conclusion that the family left on their own, simply because they didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on the investigation. He states that this was done to “take the pressure off.”
Jan Caldwell, the public affairs director, responded to the attacks stating “No one wants to find the answers more than we do. We conducted hundreds and hundreds of leads that yielded no investigative substance. While this case went cold, we never stopped working on it.” Regarding Patrick’s blatant anger, she responded “I understand he’s angry, and I hope that this tragic outcome will yield clues that we need to get him and his family the answers they deserve.” Caldwell stated that while the department had “reason to believe” the family may have been in Mexico, that was not the only “investigative avenue” they explored. “Everything that came to us, every single thing no matter how large or how small, we looked into it. We investigated until there was nothing left.”
Joseph Sr. McStay’s brother, Michael McStay, spoke at a press conference after the remains were identified. Through tears he said “It’s not really the outcome we were looking for, but it gives us courage to know they’re together and they’re in a better place.” It was difficult to watch Michael speak, as you could see his heart breaking with every word.
He spoke of the difficult time his family has been though and kindle asked that the media give his family space to grieve the losses of these four incredible people. “I know the sheriff’s and the FBI and everybody wants to bring this to justice. I just want to know when it’s over.” Michael stated as he finished speaking.
We will continue to follow this investigation and will update the post with new information as it is released. For the family and friends of the McStay family, all of us here at Lighting Their Way Home want to extend our condolences for your loss. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.
Date of Birth: July 9, 2005
Height: 3’0” Weight: 40 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
Missing: February 4, 2010 From: Fallbrook, CA
Joseph McStay Jr.
Date of Birth: January 31, 2007
Height: 2’6” Weight: 35 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
Missing: February 4, 2010 From: Fallbrook, CA
Distinguishing Features: Birthmark on his forehead.
Gianni and Joseph Jr. disappeared with their parents, Summer and Joseph Sr. McStay. The family was last seen in Fallbrook, California on February 4, 2010. A surveillance camera from a neighbour’s home security system shows a car pulling out of the driveway at 7:47 p.m.. The last contact was when Joseph called a business associate at 8:28 p.m.. None of them were ever heard from again.
Four days after they were last seen, authorities located the family’s white 1996 Isuzu Trooper parked illegally in a strip mall in San Ysidro, California, eighty miles from home and just a few blocks from the Mexican border. The children’s car seats were still inside the vehicle. The car was towed and put in an abandoned vehicle lot. The McStay’s weren’t reported missing until February 15, when Joseph’s brother asked police to do a welfare check on their home because he hadn’t been able to get in touch with him.
Summer is a licensed real estate agent and worked for a real estate business at the time of her disappearance, and Joseph owns Earth Inspired Products, an Internet-based business that designs decorative water fountains and ships internationally.
His brother stated he would not abandon his company and he left without warning. Authorities stated that although they found no hard evidence of foul play, nothing at the McStays’ residence indicated that they planned to be gone for an extended period of time and they were treating the disappearances as suspicious. The family’s dogs had been left outside without food and there were recently purchased groceries in the kitchen, including some items left out that should have been refrigerated. They had recently moved from Fallbrook to Laguna Nigel, California. Joseph and Summer had a good marriage.
Investigators could uncover no evidence of personal problems within the family, financial problems or criminal activity, although Joseph’s business partner has served time in prison for theft-related offenses.
Because their car was found so close to the border, authorities looked into the possibility that the family went to Mexico. They discovered a surveillance video from a border-area business that shows a man, a woman and two children walking towards Mexico at the San Ysidro point of entry at 7:00 p.m. on February 8, the same day the McStay’s car was found. The people resembled the McStays, but their family members who viewed the film were unable to identify them because the image quality was poor. Joseph may have occasionally gone to Mexico for business, but never took his family with him.
One of Summer’s friends stated that the two had discussed the idea of vacationing in Mexico and Summer said she thought it was too dangerous to travel there. Joseph had a valid passport, but Summer’s passport had expired and the children had never had passports. However, computer records show that shortly before they disappeared, the McStays had looked up the passport rules of children traveling to Mexico.
Since their disappearances, Joseph and Summer have not used their bank accounts, cellular phones or credit cards.
Authorities believe they went to Mexico intentionally, but it’s unclear what happened to them after that, and their family fears they may be in danger and may have met with foul play.
We are coming up on the third anniversary of the McStay family’s disappearance, and still there are no answers to the questions everyone is asking. Nothing has been found to indicate what happened to this family. There are simply no leads, nothing. The McStay’s family’s nightmare continues with each new day. It is clear that just simply disappearing is not something this family would do without some indication to their loved ones. Many theories have been thrown around, but in the end, nothing can substantiate any of the theories.
At every corner there seems to be a hundred new questions raised, with none of the old questions answered. Some believe that the entire family was kidnapped, some believe that the parents were murdered and they little boys were taken to Mexico, and still some believe this family simply does not want to be found. Due to the fact that the McStay’s were renovating their home at the time of their disappearance, many believe an immigrant worker may be involved in their disappearance. As far as the surveillance video in which authorities believe they may have captured the McStay family entering Mexico, well, it simply isn’t clear enough to determine anything. Some say it is the McStay family, some say it is the McStay children with two people wearing their parents clothing, some people say it is not the McStay’s at all.
Despite all the buzz surrounding the case, authorities are no closer to having an answer than they were on the day the McStay’s went missing.
The McStay’s family has a website dedicated to finding the McStay family and raising awareness of their disappearances. It is easy to see that this family loved each other fiercely, and Summer and Joseph are dedicated to their children.
Please take a look at the site, and leave your comments to support the family. It is important that they know that we are not giving up, and remain dedicated to searching for these 4 incredible people.
The only thing that can be done right now, is for authorities and the public to stay vigilant. To not allow this family to be forgotten, and that is exactly what people are doing, staying vigilant and hoping on all hope that soon they will find the answers surrounding this mysterious and heart breaking story.
Date of Birth: December 27, 1966
Height: 5’5” Weight: 115 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
Alias DOB: January 1, 1978
Joseph McStay Sr.
Date of Birth: November 20, 1969
Height: 5’9” Weight: 175 lbs
Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown
Distinguishing Features: Tattoos on both shoulders.
If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Gianni and Joseph Jr. McStay, please immediately contact the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office at:
The National Center For Missing & Exploited Children at: