Joseph and Summer McStay were the all-American family. The southern California couple had two kids, Joseph managed a successful company that manufactured fountains while his wife was a licensed real estate agent.
Then one day the entire family went missing.
It didn’t take long for the media firestorm to erupt and the story went on to dominate the news cycle. After all, an entire family seemingly vanished into thin air without a trace.
On February 4, 2010, at roughly 7:47 pm, a neighbor’s surveillance system recorded a vehicle, which would be later confirmed to not belong to the family. Unfortunately the recording showed the vehicle, but not the driver or anyone else that was inside. Later, at about 8:28 pm, records indicate that a call was placed from Joseph’s phone to his business associate, Mr. Chase Merritt. It should be noted that the two associates met for lunch earlier and Mr. Merritt would be the last person to see Joseph McStay alive.
Mr. Merritt eventually tells the police that he didn’t answer that particular call as he was tired and watching a movie. Police go on to find that Mr. McStay’s cell phone actually pinged a tower in the town of Fallbrook, CA. Of course family and friends had became pretty frantic after being unable to reach anyone in the family and went on to contact police.
After notifying police, on February 15, Joseph’s brother, Michael, ended up climbing through an open window in the family home where he would find no trace of the family, only the family dogs which were unattended the backyard. It has been stressed that this is uncharacteristic of the family as they, like many of us, treat animals as part of the family. When police arrived there were no signs or of any type of foul play, but police did note that it’s possible that the family left in a hurry after finding a carton of raw eggs on the kitchen counter as well as two containers of popcorn still sitting on the couch.
After the story hit the news, the the press went wild and conspiracy theories flew like there’s no tomorrow. As usual, everyone on the internet became an instant detective on the case that gripped the nation and news cycle of the moment.
The McStay family vehicle would later be found near the Mexican border, which would even cause more conspiracy theories to be tossed about.
On an off-chance incident in 2013, a motorcyclist came upon four sets of human remains buried in two shallow graves in the Mojave desert near Victorville, California in on November. Then, after a long wait, police would go on to charge Mr. Chase Merritt after recovering DNA evidence. Authorities believe that all four of the McStay family were beaten to death with a 3-pound sledgehammer in their Fallbrook house and then driven to their graves approximately 100 miles away in the desert.
Charles Chase Merritt has pleaded not guilty, and his counsel has maintained authorities have built a case based on circumstantial evidence.
In this situation one would think money would be the motive. But would it be more than that? People Investigates will explore this bizarre case on 11.20 at 9PM in the ID Network, which just happens to be Joseph’s birthday.
In the meantime here are the thoughts of some on Facebook:
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