Monday, January 02, 2017

Mystery Monday: The McStay Family

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...



Every Monday, I'm presenting a new mystery. Some have been solved...some remain unsolved to this day. 

Children disappear. Women disappear. Men even disappear sometimes. But when an entire family disappears, it can be a real mystery.



The McStay family wasn't unlike so many other families in this country. The dad, Joseph, owned a successful custom waterfall business.



His wife, Summer, dedicated her time to raising their two children.



On February 9, 2010, Joseph's business partner, Chase Merritt, called his brother to tell him he hadn't heard from Joseph in five days. After trying to get in touch and failing, the family notified the police, who entered the home.



The house was empty. It looked as though the family had left suddenly. There were two bowls of popcorn on a futon in front of the TV and raw eggs on the kitchen counter.



The last time anyone heard from the McStay family was February 4th. The police tracked down a neighbor's surveillance camera and found that at 7:47 pm, the family's SUV pulled out of the driveway and drove off. No other cars were around. It never returned. The police tracked the vehicle to a tow yard in San Diego. It had been towed from a parking lot near the border.



For a while, the police were sure the McStays had crossed the border on foot. They had this footage from cameras at the border on the night the family disappeared:



Unfortunately, the family isn't living a new life in Mexico. On November 11, 2013, a motorcyclist found the remains of the McStay family in the desert near Victorville, California. McStay's business partner, Chase Merritt, was arrested for the murders.



Chase was the one who initially called Joseph's brother to say he hadn't heard from him in five days. The trial brought out gruesome details about the McStays' final moments that I won't post here. You can click if you want to read more. It appears money was the motive. Police think the family was killed in the home and transported to the desert. The house was being painted at the time, so the killer could have easily covered any blood spatter.



Four crosses were erected at the spot in the desert where the remains were found.



This story was initially one of many unsolved mysteries that captivated me. The fact that it had such a devastating ending reminds me that often we're better off not knowing the truth.

37 comments:

  1. How awful. I can't imagine killing someone over money. I just can't.

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    1. Especially CHILDREN. Okay, fine, kill the business partner. You have a beef with him. But why the wife and children? I don't get it.

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  2. This was a mystery that bothered me too. I knew the bodies had been found, but didn't know they had caught the murderer. Thanks for letting us know what happened.

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    1. Yeah, the scary thing is that he did a TON of interviews about the family's disappearance. He seemed like the concerned business associate/friend who was the last person to see a member of the family alive. CNN re-aired one of the interviews after he was arrested:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD8iPEoj4eg

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  3. That man has the face of one sick bas----. I am still amazed at what folks are capable of doing.

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    1. I agree. I can't imagine how someone can be that sick.

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  4. I was already pretty sure who the culprit was when the business partner waited 5 days to call. Just saying. Business partners can be ever so deadly.

    Have a fabulous day. I miss seeing you from time to time. ☺

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    1. Good point. It makes me wonder why he called at all. Why not just let more time pass?

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    2. In the video it shows the brother taking the computer out the house before they started there investigation wat was that all about and bring it back what rhey had to get evidence off there to protect himself and maybe the brother put stuff on there to lead to merritt u say there's alot of evidence going towards chase but maybe the brother put stuff on there ro go after chase to get off brothers back because the brother he's the one who wanted to wait to call the police chase wanted to call (if it was chase do you think he would leave a trail of evidence facing him with the charges no he wouldnt he would do what the brothers doing people need to realize that

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  5. Beware of business partners even if they are family or friends! Money can draw people crazy and turn them into killers.

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    1. Greed is a particularly evil emotion.

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  6. HAPPY
    NEW
    YEAR!

    No devastating ending, please.

    Blue

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    1. I wish more of these stories have happy endings. Often when they do, I don't want to read about it because the person went through horrific things before being set free.

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  7. I remember this story, but didn't know it was resolved so unhappily. If I remember correctly, they left a pet behind with no arrangements for care, which always made me think it was foul play and not a willing disappearance. :(

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    1. Absolutely. And when they first visited, they thought the family must be okay because the dogs had fresh food. But they later found out someone had called Animal Control and they'd put some food out for the dogs.

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    1. I first saw it on "Disappeared" on Discovery ID...but when their bodies were found, it made national news.

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  9. Bad enough the father was killed but to kill the wife and kids....that's just unbelievable cruelty.

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    1. I don't understand why he had to kill the whole family. Of course, who understands murder at all?!

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    2. Because the wife and kids would have known who it was so that sick asshole had to kill all.of them so no witness

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  10. How awful! And what a horrible way to die. Sounds like they will have the guy locked up the rest of his life--good! :)

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  11. Wow, that is horrible. Happy New Year?

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  12. Wow that's sad! What a terrible thing to do--and to children no less! How could that have possibly solved the problem?

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  13. How sad! What a monster he was. He should be executed!!

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  14. I remember this well and what a sad ending especially since the little children were killed also. I wonder how many bodies are buried in the desert.

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  15. So sad. I don't understand these crimes and how anyone could commit them.

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  16. What a shocking and grisly crime. Can't imagine why money is important enough to do this.

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  17. That is heart-wrenching. To kill the kids, too. I'm glad it wasn't worth it.

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  18. I remember hearing about this mystery years ago. I was certain they were taken because the runaway scenario seemed strange with them going off so suddenly. Those things are usually well planned, especially when there is a family involved. So sad to find out the truth was so horrific. Why would this business partner murder the entire family? If he is guilty then he needs to either be locked up forever or put to death. Either way this is such a sad end to this story.

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  19. Yay! It's Mystery Monday! I haven't heard about this, but I clicked on your link and was horrified by what this guy did for money. Can't spend it in jail, right? Hugs...

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  20. I love mysteries, but prefer fiction. The real stories sometimes haunt my dreams, Especially children. There is a special place in hell for that evil man!!

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  21. It's terrible. Sometimes it's really better not to know, and to imagine people living a happy life somewhere else. On the other hand, it's good that they caught the murderer.

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  22. So sad!! All over money?? Horrible!!!

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  23. I always prayed and truly thought they would be found alive. Can't imagine the torture they must have gone through Rest In Peace family.

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