Bodies in California desert confirmed as missing family

Bodies in California desert confirmed as missing family
San Diego Sheriff's Department
Friday, November 15, 2013 - 4:11pm

Two of the four sets of remains found this week in a Southern California desert are those of a couple who disappeared in 2010 -- Joseph McStay and his wife, Summer -- San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said Friday, citing dental records.

Authorities believe the other two sets of remains are those of the McStays' sons, Joseph and Gianni, but those identities still need to be confirmed through DNA records, McMahon said. The manner of the deaths was homicide, he said.


(CNN) -- San Bernardino County, California, authorities have called a news conference Friday to discuss what they know of four bodies found in the California desert near Victorville.

According to CNN affiliates, at least two of the bodies belong to members of a Fallbrook, California, family who vanished from their home under mystifying circumstances in 2010.

CNN affiliate KFMB-TV in San Diego cited Patrick McStay in confirming that two of the bodies were of his son, Joseph McStay, and son's wife, Summer. CNN affiliate KGTV-TV in San Diego, reported the same thing, citing an unnamed source close to the family.

KFMB reported Patrick McStay said authorities have told him the other two bodies are still being identified and it is not clear if they are those of the couple's children, Joseph and Gianni.

"Somebody harmed him and for no real good reason," Patrick McStay said of his son, according to KFMB.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, a motorcyclist reported finding possible skeletal remains Monday in an area not far from Interstate 15 near Victorville.

Investigators found two graves that contained remains. Other remains were found near the graves, the sheriff's department said.

The McStays vanished on February 4, 2010, after apparently leaving their home in a rush. The family's dogs were left without food and water.

Investigators later found the family SUV abandoned in San Ysidro, California, not far from a border crossing into Mexico. Investigators said surveillance video of the crossing may show the family walking into Mexico, but from there the trail goes cold.

Although investigators said someone had been researching travel to Mexico on the family's home computer, the McStays' sudden disappearance and the fact that their credit cards and bank accounts went unused raised suspicions.

"I've been in this business for over 35 years, but I've never seen anything like this," Lt. Dennis Brugos of the San Diego Sheriff's Department told CNN at the time.

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