The San Bernardino County Sheriff announced at 3:30 p.m., today, Friday, Nov. 22 that the two other sets of remains found with the bodies of Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife, Summer McStay, 43, in the Mojave desert have been positively identified as those of the couple’s two children – sons Gianni McStay and Joseph M. McStay.
The California Dept. of Justice DNA Lab notified the San Bernardino Coroner of the findings. No further information has been made available at this time, including the cause of death of any of the victims.
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Authorities confirm skeletal remains found in desert are that of the McStay family of Fallbrook
Authorities announced at a press conference today, Nov. 15 at 11 a.m., that the skeletal remains of four individuals found in the Mohave desert have been determined to be the McStay family of four from Fallbrook.
The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office used dental records to identify the remains of Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife, Summer McStay, 43, and believe the two other individuals are the couple’s sons, Gianni, 4, and Joseph “Joey” McStay, 3.
The family was reported missing in February of 2010 from their home in the Lake Rancho Viejo development in Fallbrook, east of Interstate 15, just south of State Route 76. The ensuing search for the family became global news as indicators appeared the couple may have disappeared into Mexico.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. launched the missing persons investigation.
Authorities with that agency have released the following statement:
“The McStay family, Joseph, Summer, and children Gianni, and Joseph, were last seen on February 4, 2010, at their home in Fallbrook. On February 15, 2010, Joseph’s brother contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department to make a missing persons’ report. Sheriff’s Homicide immediately initiated a missing persons’ investigation. During the subsequent investigation, it was learned that on February 8, 2010, the unoccupied family vehicle was located at the ‘Plaza Major Shopping Center’ in San Ysidro. After the investigation was initiated, it was discovered the vehicle had been towed from the international border and led investigators to examine video footage. As has been widely publicized, a grainy image had been captured which depicted a family closely resembling the McStays in the border area. Extensive video footage of pedestrian movement across the border into Mexico was examined with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).”
“Over the past three years, the San Diego Sheriff’s Office has conducted an exhaustive missing person investigation in an attempt to locate the family. Hundreds of tips have been investigated without success. The case was ultimately transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April of 2013, as they have significant resources throughout the nation and international liaison capabilities.”
Ultimately, authorities stated they believed the family had left “voluntarily,” although family members found that difficult to believe.
As a result of the findings, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detail is now conducting a homicide investigation and working with both the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. and the FBI.
“Every available resource will be utilized in this investigation to identify the suspects involved in this heinous crime and bring them to justice,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon.
Authorities said autopsies began yesterday (Thurs., Nov. 14) on the remains and are expected to be completed today.
“The manner of death has been determined to be homicide; the cause of death will not be released to protect the investigation.”
Anyone with helpful information is asked to contact the Homicide Detail, Detective Armando Avila, at (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.
Update – Wednesday, November 13, 2013 4:35 p.m.
Investigators have completed the scene examination; there were two graves where remains were located as well as additional skeletel remains that were located near the graves. A grave site recovery is a very meticulous process in efforts to preserve all possible evidence. A third site was excavated however, no evidence was found and the location was determined to be unrelated to the grave site.
Investigators have recovered the remains of four persons. Autopsies will be conducted with the assistance of a forensic anthropologist to determine causes of death, ages and gender.
Are skeletal remains found in desert the McStay family of four from Fallbrook?
A press conference is to be held this morning by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept. regarding the skeletal remains of four people that were found in the Mojave Desert on Monday, Nov. 11.
Family members of the McStay family of four from Fallbrook have stated publicly that they feel it may be the bodies of Joseph McStay, 40, his wife, Summer, 43, and two young boys ages 3 and 4.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept., “On Monday, Nov. 11, at approximately 10 a.m., deputies from the Victorville Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the desert area between Quarry Road and I15, north of Stoddard Wells Road in the county area of Victorville, following the report of possible skeletal remains being located by a motorcyclist. Deputies responded to the location. Coroner investigators were requested and confirmed the remains were human.”
Late Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 13, authorities said investigators had completed their examination of the scene.
“There were two graves where remains were located as well as additional skeletal remains that were located near the graves,” authorities stated, adding that a total of four individuals were found.
The specific identification process may take some time as authorities have said the remains have been in the shallow graves near Victorville for an extended amount of time. It may require extensive work by forensic anthropologists to make final identifications.
The McStay family was reported missing from their Fallbrook home in February 2010. A case that has intrigued the public globally, investigators have not been able to secure any substantial leads in the case and said, ultimately, they believed the family had gone to Mexico voluntarily.
Watch this site for updates as more information becomes available.