E! Investigates films segment locally on missing McStay family of four

The internationally-aired program E! Investigates came to Fallbrook in mid-October to begin filming a segment it will produce on the McStay family of four that has now been missing from their home here for over 21 months. The family, last seen Feb. 4, 2010, includes Joseph McStay, 40, his wife Summer McStay, 43, and sons Gianni McStay, 4, and Joseph McStay Jr., 3.

Unless something dramatically changes between now and mid-December when the segment will air, the piece is destined to create intrigue over the family’s mysterious disappearance rather than provide new information that has been learned, as law enforcement doesn’t seem any closer to solving the case than they were at the very beginning.

The film crew has been working throughout the county interviewing individuals they feel could relate the disturbing story to their viewers. One of those they interviewed was Village News Editor Debbie Ramsey.

“I told [E! network associates] that I didn’t know anything that anyone else didn’t know at this time, but I agreed to be interviewed about the details of the case as I understood them,” said Ramsey. “I am glad they are doing the segment because I am hoping in keeping the public aware of it, it could possibly ultimately turn up some new leads for law enforcement. This is a very troubling situation. Law enforcement has diligently followed up on all leads they have received and reached dead end after dead end.”

The Village News has also shared all stories staff members have written relating to the case with the E! Network.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detective Troy DuGal has been the lead on the case since the beginning.

“It is still a very open and active case; it always has been,” said DuGal. “Nothing has ever changed on the status of the case, however. I continue to get what appear to be new leads and we exhaust every one of those possibilities.”

DuGal said his team continues to work on it.

“We are current on all leads we have received to date; we have followed up on leads people have called in saying they’ve seen one or more of the family members all across America and south of the border,” said DuGal.

The family, who was living in a house they had purchased in the Lake Rancho Viejo development in Fallbrook, just east of Interstate 15, was reported missing by Michael McStay, Joseph’s brother. The family’s car, a 1996 Isuzu Trooper, was found in an impound yard just north of the Mexican border four days after they were last seen. The vehicle had been towed from a strip mall parking lot.

Officials, when reviewing tapes of the United States/Mexico border crossing point at San Ysidro, thought an image of the family walking across the international boundary had been captured on tape, but relatives didn’t agree on whether it was indeed the McStay family.

Reports of possible sightings of the family in Mexico turned out to be unsubstantiated, DuGal said.

DuGal is determined to resolve the case and makes a point of keeping McStay family members in the loop.

“I try to keep the family members informed of the leads we have followed up on, even if they aren’t that credible, I want to keep them informed,” said DuGal. “Most of the calls I receive are from Joseph’s brother, Michael, but I reach out to both sides [of the family.]” Michael McStay has created a website, www.mcstayfamily.com to receive incoming tips from anyone who feels they might have a lead as well as to post updates for those interested in keeping abreast of the latest news on the case.

The E! Investigates segment on the family is also welcomed by DuGal.

“I am glad to see media attention still focusing on the case and keeping it in the spotlight,” he said. “I always tend to get new leads after one airs or something new is published. Then I go to work trying to prove or disprove the tip. To this point, unfortunately, no tip has given us any real direction in the case. It’s baffling.”

The segment being produced by E! Investigates is tentatively set to air on Dec. 15 and will be available to viewers nationally and internationally. To verify air date and be aware of any programming changes, go to E! Online and look under “shows” an E! Investigates option.

To comment on this story online, visit www.thevillagenews.com.

29 Responses to "E! Investigates films segment locally on missing McStay family of four"

  1. maggie dean   November 18, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I too am very glad this story is not forgotton. I have been following updates on Google and hope they are found safe.

  2. ???   November 18, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I was wondering why the McStay family web site is down anyone have any info? and yes I am very glad to see this horrible story has not been forgotten

  3. diana   November 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    it kinda feels strange having their home on the market. so empty and lonely.

  4. laura k   November 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Were the workers involved in their home renovations questioned? Was the stored contents of their home finally delivered or could it have been headed instead to Mexico?

    really unsettling story

  5. Michelle   December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I just watched this story on Discovery Disappeared, its really tragic!!I live in johannesburg south africa, just wanted to let you know the story has reached this far! I hope they find the family safe and happy!

  6. Anna   December 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Watched the story on Discovery Disappeared yesterday. Could not even sleep properly last night after watching it.Cannot imagine the distress of the families. My hunch is that the kids would have been kidnapped and smuggled out of US to Mexico and parents done away with. Because if Joseph or Summer are alive they somehow would have tried contacting their families given their close ties and stable personalities.

  7. mark   December 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    After months of extensive review, I have concluded that it violates rational thinking that 2 adults would voluntarily disappear with no effort to contact anyone at all, let alone to cross the mexican border, and with absolutely no evidence of any precipitating factors or warnings. They left abruptly with an apparent intent to return home but obviously didnt-this concept alone strongly suggests a foul event occurred. Since the 2 children (at that age) essentially could say very little to object, I speculate that summer has done something to Joey and now has the children with her somewhere and has no desire to contact anyone; hence the extreme difficulty in finding the remaining family. I also believe she may have a male companion further muddying the waters, and unfortunately it will be difficult to impossible to find this family

  8. Charles S   December 15, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    I believe Summer met somebody, and she and her new lover likely killed Joey and started a new life somewhere outside the United States. They managed to to get fake identifications and may never be heard from again. Summers new man might have dual citizenship, which would have made their exit from the U.S. much not much of a problem. Also very little has been reported from anyone in Summers side of the family. I have a funny feeling she has contacted her family and asked them to not speak to the media.

  9. Kim   December 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I believe from the prior mention that Joseph was sick for some time prior to their disappearance that Summer may have been poisoning him and that she had met someone else and that is the man seen walking across the border with her and the kids. I don’t believe Joseph McStay would leave his oldest son and family with no explanation. If you watch the video of them going to look at the house prior to buying it, Summer is very sarcastic to him and she makes it quite clear she does not want to live that far from the beach. I believe this woman just snapped. Who changes their name just for the heck of it, that’s weird! My hope is that when these boys get older, they will figure it out and come forward..wherever they are. Sad story.

  10. dulcia   December 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Yes the wife seems a little crazy to me. I believe she has gotten your self into trouble over the years and it can finally caught up to her or lile kom said,she has been planning this and has met someone else.

  11. Mike   December 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    The Joey friend in Costa Rica may be lying. They should investigate that friend more. He seemed to get uncomfortable when the reporter pressed a little more and then even offered up a “i’m not lying”. He seemed defensive and made reassuring comments that he was sure Joey was alive. For somebody who “has not” been in contact with their friend for a while would show more concern than what that guy did.

  12. Dave   December 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I can understand why people would want to disapear. I have started over from scratch 4 times already. I plan on doing it again. Costa Rica was my next choice, as the US is falling apart. This country is a joke now more than ever. Taxes, liberals, illegals, social justice, spread the wealth. This place is really starting to suck. There are places where people aren’t so nosey and don’t ask so many questions. No laws were broken, they just left. I think the friend is lying and knows whats going on. As long as you know your loved ones are ok, why contact them. When you start over, it takes a commitment that most people can’t handle. It’s all in your head. Once you learn how to let go, it’s easy.

  13. ?   December 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I had a theory too. Do to the fact that she changed her name and age. Wouldnt that be something someone would do if they are trying to hide from someone? For example witness protection program does it for mob witnesses and such. What if someone is after her from her past and she changed her name for that reason. And that would also explain why they would disappear. Maybe they found she found out that this person/ or group found her whereabouts, and she needed to leave so her family wouldnt get hurt. And the only safe way of doing that is disappearing and not telling anyone. Not even family.

  14. MMN   December 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

    It is so wrong to blame Summer for this family’s disappearance.
    If they ran to disappear they would have cashed out their bank accounts. They loved their extended family and their dogs. I have a strong hunch they were taken by child trafficers for the children. Michael McStay kept putting his little boys on you tube with their long hair and partially dressed, and then showed how to get to his new house on you tube. Predators shop you tube and order these kids.
    It makes me sick to say it. I am sure Michael was unaware of these possiblilities. It is heartbreaking.

  15. Margie   December 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I believe the man in the video crossing the boarder is not Michael McStay. The family is so sure of that, but they do believe the other three people in the video are Summer and the boys. Also, Summer called a store looking for some homeopathic remedy for "anger". What’s that all about? Perhaps a natural way to calm the kids for a while? I do believe the key to unlock the mystery is held by Summer. By all accounts, Michael’s life was moving forward, buying the house, the way he was expanding his business, and in general his plans for the future. However, Summer’s life seemed less grounded. Something about her does not sit right with me.

  16. Molly Hurricane   December 29, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    There are so many things that do not add up. The e story said there were eggs left on the counter. I cannot think of one thing that eggs would be used for by theirself. It doesn’t say that there was bread, milk, butter, cake mix or a pan. Seems like someone wanted us to think that they were just left there. Also why wasn’t the meeting with the employee discussed more? This seems to be the last person Joseph talked to. Were the people at Chicfolet interviewed to see if Joseph seemed anxious? Also who drives that far to meet with an employee? I cannot think of any job where a boss would drive that far to meet me and my jobs are at a professional level. Also if Summer bought beach bags, why wouldn’t she be carrying them across the border? E Investigates did a horrible job of introducing clues and then following up on them. Both my daughter and I had many questions that Ms. Ling did not even attempt to follow up on. Personally, I believe that Summer did something to hurt Joseph and now has the kids somewhere but of course I do not really know all the details. Just a feeling. The only reason I do not think it is witness protection is because a number of families every year have to be in WP and there are not stories about them missing so obviously they must have some way of letting the families know they are being relocated even if they cannot disclose their whereabouts. This truly is one of the biggest mysteries in the news. I wish there was one place that had all of the clues as well as follow ups to things like Joseph driving to LA to meet with employees

  17. Pacific NW gal   January 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    I clearer presentation of the facts pertaining to the story would be welcomed. Why would they research how the cross the border a couple days in advance of the disappearing and then appear to leave "suddenly" leaving the dogs behind? Why would someone buy beach bags and then not take them? If a family member had a warrant for their arrest, why not present that information? Why not question the last people to call their cell phones and all the people who worked in their house? Nothing can be assumed but information collected. Summer’s name changes do seem unstable but to assume anything could cost everyone the truth. I pray that more information surfaces and the truth is brought to light. My heart goes out to the family left behind who suffers because of this and pray that this family is safe.

  18. TROSE   January 6, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I totally agree that there are tons of families that are in the witness protection program and they are not missing family cases. If every family or person in the witness protection program were missing people cases then we would have a lot of "dissapearing family" cases on our hands. And wouldnt the authorities make sure that there is not a huge search after the people in witness protection program? I’m sure everyone would be notified on the down low. Because as investigators and family and writers pursue the answers about the "missing persons", they are also giving clues to whoever the people in the witness protection plan are hiding from. The authorities wouldnt let investigators run around like retards trying to figure out a case like this and all the while they are there thinking teehee those people are actually just on the witness protection program, yet they still let all this effort to find them go on. WTF. Ya right. Anyways, I think even if the wife isnt the main instigator of this whole mess, she sure as heck is a great place to start looking for answers! What normal woman gets married and has a close relationship with inlaws but fails to mention shes changed her name multiple times and her age? hmm. I just think theres something up with her, definately. and I think most people agree. When investigators find ANY inconsistancies they look there first and dig deeper. Thats a pretty big inconsistancy DONT YA THINK!?

  19. TROSE   January 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    & MARGIE I said the same exact thing. I said I think in the video it was Summer, the Kids and that one guy. Not the father. Because the family said they felt strongly that those kids were truly their grandkids, but the didnt think it was Summer or her husband. But then again, another family member did say that the woman in the video looked a lot like summer and that she was wearing clothing like summer would and was walking like her.

  20. Margaret   January 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    With all the speculation as to whether or not it was the family crossing the border into Mexico, I wonder if anything was done to have the travelling ‘family’ identify themselves assuming it was not the McStays.

  21. sammy   January 13, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I still believe the family had some dealing in "mortgage rescue"
    fraud, either directly or indirectly. I have not ruled out some kind of
    federal protection.

  22. JuJuBee   January 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I still don’t understand why the area where the cell phones last pinged has not been searched. LE must have a very good reason why they have not searched that area–a really serious, compelling reason. According to LE, Summer’s phone was on and receiving text messages for 3 days after they drove away. Both phones pinged from the same area south of their home. I would love to know why police have not searched that area. They held back the ping info for 18 months (If I remember correctly). Why? And what else don’t we know? It just seems crazy not to perform a search where the phones may be. Phones could hold fingerprints or other evidence could be found in that area. The police probably know more an just can’t say, which is fine. They need to protect the investigation. This case is so baffling. But why not start with the area where the cell phones pinged from??????

  23. rob   February 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Wife name changing means she been in a Federal Protection

  24. Susan   May 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    First I’d like to say that just because Summer changed her name, it doesn’t mean she was in “Federal Protection”. The question is why she changed her name (more than once) and why she lied about her age. I totally believe Summer is the reason this family seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. I also believe that she is the reason Joey was so sick before they went missing. I also agree with the couple of people who believe Summer met someone else .
    I pray I’m wrong and someday soon this family will return home and then they’ll be able to explain why they needed to leave so quickly and why they couldn’t come home. God bless them, their family and their friends.

  25. Anonymous   June 28, 2012 at 8:45 am

    I watched the investigation discover coverage on the you tube link and the police provide more details but just leads to more questions – nothing adds up to anything – for example – in the episode online it shows that the car of the McStay’s was moved from by the boarder where people walk into Mexico to the shopping center on the 8th at about 9pm that night – that to me is eerier (sp?) than them just leaving the car at the boarder – because four days after they drove away someone is driving the car to this shopping center on the 8th and leaving it in the parking lot – it was towed somewhere and the police investigated where it was towed from – what I don’t understand is they didn’t have any pictures of who drove the car into the shopping center and the guard apparently remembers seeing the car pull into the parking lot – the toys Summer bought for the kids are in the car underneath white blankets – toys that don’t appear to have even been opened yet – and we are talking about a lot of toys that are shown on the show – the story is very mind boggling because there are so many pieces to the puzzle and nothing adds up and I do think the police aren’t sharing everything with us that they can – obviously to protect the investigation – I’m wondering if we know now about the phones because they were hoping that would spark a lead – someone who didn’t realize that the phones were left behind in the area where they were found or someone who tossed the phones there – maybe they are hoping that the perpetrators will return to the scene of the crime – assuming one happened – by releasing the information about the pings of the phones and text messages coming in – there are so many things that appear not to have been investigated – though after watching this link they did research more than I felt from the beginning – the spotting of the kids makes it more baffling – I would think if the kids were somewhere that neighbors who knew the kids where they disappeared to would recognize the kids from the shows even if the kids were too young to remember or speak up – I am glad they are keeping the story out there – the suppositioning must be agaonizing for each side of the family but there may be some good questions brought up by the posters that could help the direction of the investigation – my thoughts and prayers are with the family – I don’t think it is impossible that one or more family members may know information pertaining to the case – they may not know where the family is – but they may have suspicions but think speaking up will cause them harm or problems and therefore are holding back – I got that feeling from the sister of Summer – I hope that the police are able to do a luminol test of the house – I just think there may be more answers there that would help – also – if there were any quirks of the family like weird food likes/dislikes that might help lead to where they are or allergies, etc – they each liked the water – have the beaches in Mexico been checked for possible sightings or residences?

  26. Feefee   July 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Joseph McStay’s mother said that when she viewed the video of the family of four crossing into Mexico, that it looked like Summer & the 2 boys, but the man crossing the border, did not look like her son Joseph. His brother also said that it looked like Summer, but not his brother. As for the 2 little boys in the border crossing video, those hats appear to confirm their identity, along with their size & resemblance to the McStay boys. Summer had alias names, lied about her age, and seemed to have some very strange, albeit secret happenings in her life, according to some media & news reports. And, that home video I saw on TV with Joseph & Summer together, shows her being downright rude to her husband. Joseph’s mother said that he hadn’t been feeling well, & she had the sense from him that something wasn’t quite right, though he did not acknowledge this to his mother. Also, where is Summer’s family in all of this? Do they know something that no one else seems to know, like Summer was having a possible affair for instance? Now, we here that Summer’s cell phone pinged a few times after Joseph’s cell phone was long dead, after their disappearance. Strange isn’t it? If I had to draw conclusions just from these known facts, it wouldn’t be good for Summer. My radar would be looking at the very real possibilty that Summer was having an affair, had her husband Joseph killed, and relocated to Mexico with her boyfriend and 2 little boys. I would suggest that the family of 4 seen on the border crossing video, was actually Summer, her 2 boys, and her boyfriend. And that’s why no one can identify Joseph as the man crossing into Mexico, but Summer is identified, and tentatively the 2 little boys. Oddly, when Joseph’s brother was asked by Nancy Grace about the possibility that Summer may have had his brother Joseph killed, he didn’t give an emphatic "NO" as an answer. Joseph McStay’s brother hesitated, then quietly responded, "I hope not". That makes me wonder what he really thinks of his sister-in-law? Obviously he’s not dismissing the possibility that Summer may have murdered his brother. I didn’t hear him say "To know Summer, is to love her". No, I heard him answer the murder question with a sad quiet response that sounded almost like a question itself, when he said, "I hope not". Now, don’t get all up in arms & say that I am accusing an innocent woman of murder. I’m not, and I don’t know the answer to this sad and tragic mystery. All I am saying is that if I were the detective on the case and had only the points I touched on as the facts, that is the direction I would be leaning toward. Anyone else have ideas?

  27. gina   August 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    something not quite right with the wife. and her family not saying anything to the media about her being missing. in my opinon i think she killed her husband and she crossed the border with her boyfriend, and kids. the kids would bever question her if she told them their dad had died. it might be years before the are old enough and check on their dads side of the family, just to find out they were said to be missing.

  28. Bryan   October 15, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Can anyone find the "E! Investigates with Laura Ling" on YouTube or anywhere else online? I’ve tried Comcast, E!Online, YouTube with no luck.

  29. Susan   November 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Yes, could someone please post the link?


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