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Book Reviews, Missing Persons

Disappeared: the McStay family, missing 3 years, and my review of the book “No Goodbyes.” [UPDATED]

Update I: This article was originally posted on August 29, 2013. The McStays have since been found. On November 15, authorities confirmed that human remains have been found which have been identified as the McStay family. My more recent blog post about that discovery is here.

Update II: On November 8, 2014, police made an arrest in the McStay case. Charles Merritt has been charged with the murder of the family. That story is here.

The McStays are no longer missing persons. Thank you to everyone who read and commented. The text of the article below is as it originally appeared on August 29, 2013.

Millions of people across America and the world have heard of the McStay family–so many, in fact, that I scarcely need to recap the facts here. On February 4, 2010, parents Joseph McStay (age 40), his wife Summer (43), and their sons Joseph Jr. (age 3) and Gianni (4) vanished from their Fallbrook, California home for no apparent reason. It is extremely rare for an entire family to go missing in the way the McStays did. The case has attracted so much publicity that I believe, if it is not conclusively solved, which it may never be, the McStays will probably turn out to be the most famous missing persons of the 21st century, rivaling Joseph Crater and Jimmy Hoffa in the last century. Books are already being written about them, and more doubtless will be. If a movie about the McStays isn’t already in the works, I’m quite sure one will come along eventually.

What Do We Know Happened?

What we do know about the McStays is this. This family of four, functional and happy by all outward appearances, lived in a middle-class home in Fallbrook, California. Joseph owned a business custom-designing water fountains, and Summer worked as a real estate broker. Their marriage was their second for each of them and Joseph had a teenage son who didn’t live with him. On February 4, 2010, a neighbor’s security camera saw the McStays’ vehicle leave the driveway of their house at 7:47 PM, presumably with them inside. Joseph made a cell phone call to a business associate at 8:28 PM. That was the last confirmed contact with any of them.

When authorities came to their house after they were reported missing (a week later), they found the house in a curious state. It looked like the family had stepped out for just a few minutes. Food was left out on the counter, including eggs. Two cups of popcorn, evidently prepared for the children, were found on the couch where the kids usually watched TV. The place was a mess, but the family hadn’t been in the house long and Joseph was still remodeling.

On February 8, the car, a white Isuzu Trooper, was found in the parking lot of a strip mall in San Ysidro, California, 80 miles away. Police found in the car the toddlers’ car seats and some recent purchases, still wrapped up, including a large “play kitchen” set, the kind of stand-up toy you see in children’s play rooms. There was no sign of the family themselves.

The strip mall is only a few blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities examined video from the border crossing station for that night, and found a tape that shows some people who may be the McStays–but no one is sure. The tape has since become infamous. Here it is. The people thought to be the McStays appear at 30 seconds in–the two adults walking by (man first, woman in a white jacket), each holding the hand of a young child.

After February 8, 2010, there have been several reported sightings of one or all of the McStays, including at restaurants in Baja California, Mexico and Southport, North Carolina. These sightings have not been confirmed, but few such sightings ever are, particularly in the wake of such a high-profile case.

In searching the family’s home computer, law enforcement discovered that in late January someone at the house did an Internet search for information on what documents would be needed to bring young children into Mexico.

The Leading Theories

With as famous as this case is, everybody seems to have a theory. These are the theories I can recall having heard, read or seen discussed more than once on the Internet. Without offering editorial comment on them, here they are:

  • The family voluntarily fled, and are currently residing in Mexico. It is often asserted that law enforcement and/or the remaining members of the McStay family believe this to be the case.
  • The family did cross the border into Mexico of their own volition, but met with foul play shortly thereafter.
  • The family met with foul play before reaching Mexico, and one or more members, especially the children, were taken into Mexico against their will.
  • The family did not go to Mexico, but went somewhere else, voluntarily.
  • The entire family is in the federal Witness Protection Program.

joseph mcstay 2

Joseph McStay loved the outdoors, surfing and his dogs–which were inexplicably left behind, without food, at the family’s house.

Rick Baker’s No Goodbyes: The Mysterious Disappearance of the McStay Family

I recently read Rick Baker’s book No Goodbyes, which was released on February 4, 2013, the third anniversary of the family’s disappearance. Rick Baker is a free-lance writer and radio show host who became fascinated by the McStay case and who wound up dealing extensively with certain members of the extended family, but before the book came out the family ceased cooperating with him and have since denounced the book.

The chief investigative asset that Rick Baker presents appears to have been access to email correspondence of certain members of the McStay family, especially Summer, the wife. Much of the book is based on this correspondence, and Baker presents many emails verbatim and unedited. On the basis of her emails which he presents in the book, he casts Summer in a relentlessly negative light, and stretches to reach his judgments regarding her. It would take a blog post much longer than this one is going to be to analyze the numerous logical errors, out-of-context cherry picking and unwarranted conclusions presented in the book. I expected an informative study with a very even-handed, journalistic tone, carefully vetted facts and logical arguments. I didn’t get that. The book is very opinionated, with a generally unorganized narrative, and the arguments are illogical and lack internal consistency. In comparison to other books written about missing persons cases–I’m thinking specifically of Richard J. Tofel’s Vanishing Point, about the disappearance of Judge Crater–No Goodbyes simply doesn’t measure up.

summer mcstay 2

Summer McStay, whose email correspondence was analyzed–inaccurately and unfairly, I believe–in Rick Baker’s book “No Goodbyes.”

I was puzzled that Mr. Baker’s assertions and conjectures, especially the negative ones about Summer McStay, never make it into a coherent narrative or even a theory about what happened to the McStays. However, in mid-January, Mr. Baker gave at least one media interview, to a San Diego ABC News affiliate, in which he stated his theory on the case:

“I personally believe that Summer probably killed Joseph and we should be looking for Summer and the two kids, rather than a family of four that decided to just flee on their own,” said author Rick Baker.

It’s noteworthy that this theory does not appear in the finished version of No Goodbyes.

In my opinion, this theory is absolutely ludicrous. There’s not a single shred of evidence to support it. It’s entirely inconsistent with what we do know about the McStay case, what we know about Summer and Joseph McStay and their marriage, and the psychological profiles of persons who are capable of committing murder–much less the murder of a loved one. Furthermore, for reasons I’ll explain below, I believe that whatever happened to the McStay family happened as a unit; meaning, each member of the family shared their fate. After reading No Goodbyes, I don’t believe this book moves us any closer to a solution.

Did They Leave Voluntarily?

Logically speaking, the key fact in the McStay case could be what law enforcement found on the family’s computer: that someone at the house had searched for information on the Internet regarding bringing young children into Mexico. Assuming this fact has been reported accurately, it’s hard to square it with anything other than a voluntary desire to flee. It’s not likely that anyone other than Joseph or Summer McStay searched for that information on their computer in their house. The fact, if true, proves that someone in the house was thinking about Mexico, and about bringing Gianni and Joseph Jr. there.

But why? Tijuana–which is the city in Mexico just across the border from San Diego, where the San Ysidro border crossing is located–is a pretty rough and wild place. There must be a compelling reason to expose young children to the risk of going there. Furthermore, the more money you have to navigate a place like that, the safer you’ll be. Joseph had about $100,000 in a bank account at the time of his disappearance. It wasn’t touched after he left. if the family went to Mexico, what did they live on? If they did this, surely they must have had a plan.

jr mcstay 2

Joseph Jr. has a very distinctive birthmark on his forehead. These sorts of things seem trivial, but they’re actually huge assets in missing persons cases.

The flight-to-Mexico theory does have much to commend it. For instance, it would validate both the border crossing video and the subsequent “sightings” of the family in Mexico. But even if true, how come the family hasn’t been seen–or seen more often–in Mexico? It’s not like they blend in very easily. Summer McStay has a very distinctive face, Gianni is the spitting image of his father, and Joseph Jr. has an immediately recognizable birthmark on his head. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think these folks can lay low in some sleepy Mexican village for long. This is 2013 and people have Internet connections and watch the show Disappeared on Investigation Discovery.

Witness Protection?

Aside from the Summer-murdered-her-husband theory, the theory I buy the least is the “Witness Protection Program” scenario. Clearly the business and personal relations of Joseph and Summer McStay were complicated. But what’s totally missing is any evidence of a link, even an innocent one, to criminal activity that would put the family in danger. In order to qualify for witness protection, a person must be under live threat by a high-value target of a criminal investigation.

The word witness in Witness Protection is important. The nature of the witness protection program is that the person being protected eventually takes the stand to testify against a powerful defendant, like Sammy “The Bull” Gravano did against mob boss John Gotti. Where, and against whom, have Joseph or Summer McStay testified since 2010? Trials must be public, you know–it’s in the Constitution–and after 3 years you’d think they would have testified by now or that evidence that came from them would appear in open court. And why would the FBI and local law enforcement waste time and resources investigating the disappearance of a family who they already knew was safe? The witness protection scenario sounds dramatic and exotic, but it’s not a very likely explanation for what happened to the McStays.

All For One, One For All?

Logically speaking, it appears to me that what happened to one member of the McStay family probably happened to all of them. This is one reason why the Summer-murdered-her-husband theory makes little sense. If she did that, she would not only have to conceal the body of her husband, but also prevent herself and her two children from being seen in public without Joseph, because a sighting of just her, or her plus the children, will tend to increase suspicion about why Joseph is no longer in the picture. Consequently, if something happened to both parents and something different happened to the children, why haven’t one or both of them surfaced without the parents? The fact that none of the four have ever been conclusively sighted again tends to suggest that whatever happened, happened to all of them, not just some of them. Note also that the inconclusive sightings of them (in Mexico, for instance) follow this same pattern; the family is usually said to be together.

gianni mcstay 2

Due to his cherubic looks and long hair, Gianni McStay is often mistaken for a girl.

The Missing Four Days and the Toys in the Back of the Car

The part of the McStay case that intrigues me the most is the time gap between February 4, when the family took off in their SUV, and February 8, when the car was found and the border video taken. What happened to them during those four days? Rick Baker argues there were no missing four days; he says the border video does not depict the family and that the SUV was parked in the strip mall parking lot on February 4, not February 8. If that’s true, how come no one paid any attention to the car for four days? What about the toys in the back of the SUV?

This is a detail that does not square with virtually any theory regarding the case. My understanding is that the toys found in the back of the car were purchased from a Ross store, though perhaps not the one where the car was found nearby. Why buy a bunch of very large, awkward toys–I remind you there was a “kitchen set” type of thing–and leave them in the car right before bundling the kids off to the border crossing? As a red herring? Were the toys bought days earlier and just left in the car? Maybe the family left Fallbrook in a hurry, fleeing from some perceived threat that arose very suddenly, and the toys were just along for the ride. Still, it’s very odd.


I have no idea what happened to the McStays. No one does–that’s one reason why this case fascinates people. Every possible solution you can come up with suffers from some logical or evidentiary defect that’s very difficult to overcome. As missing persons cases go, the McStay family is pretty much a perfect storm: the clues all lead in different directions, you can never solve it, but you also can’t leave it alone.

This is why I predict the McStays will be the most famous missing persons in American history for the next 50 years, or maybe 100 years, barring a development that solves their case for good. And writers coming out with conjectural books like No Goodbyes does not count as “solving.” How many times have various writers claimed to have “solved” the Jack the Ripper murder case, for instance? One of the proposed solutions to that famous case may in fact be the right one, but we have no way of knowing which one; until and unless we do, theories, sensationalist books and blog posts like this one will continue to swirl until the end of time. If the McStays did indeed choose their fate, as some believe they did, they seem to have done a fantastic job of it. They’re going to keep everybody guessing what happened to them for years, possibly decades. Few voluntary missing persons have ever been that successful.


  1. NH

    Levelheaded write up on a case I have somehow missed, focusing on the older cases.

    The car with the toys certainly seems like a red herrinrg. Why go out with two young kids, who should be close to bedtime, drive 80 miles to get toys that certainly should be available closser and not leave provisions for the dogs who most likely would have a walk before bed? If it was right before a holiday or maybe a birthday — maybe you would make a late night trip but why so far?? Then the four day gap. . .

    Perhaps something happened to them, at least the patrents, in the US and the perp set it up to look like they fled to Mexico.

  2. Sorry you didn’t like the book. What happened as a result of the book and the controversy surrounding it is that the McStays have become infamous. Set in everyones mind is a theory and a realization that this case is yet to be solved. They can picture each member of the family. Priceless in the world of missing people. Perhaps someday a stranger will pass by and say hey I know you you’re Joey McStay, your family is looking for you! Their images are set in stone in everyones mind and you know what, Rick Baker helped do that for the McStays. Again, I say that’s priceless. No disrespect meant.

    • Sure. But that doesn’t change the obligation of a non-fiction book, especially one about a recent case involving living people, to be as well-supported, even-handed and reasonable as possible; “No Goodbyes,” in my view, fell short of this standard. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Just so you know, “No Goodbyes” was published by a vanity press; the typist would have paid to publish it.

  4. I’m not saying that it was the best non-fiction book written. I don’t think that was the goal. I was glad that Rick Baker didn’t worry about organizing the book to literary satisfaction. It was rushed, he threw in lots of information that to this day is being discussed. You could feel his need to write this book, to get people to listen and take action just like he is on his blog. Still say it was priceless to the McStays and their cause even if it wasn’t totally even-handed. He’d probably acknowledge that too (if the lawyers weren’t on his back).

    Are you going to read the sequel? I bet you are! Infuriating isn’t it.

  5. Julie

    I think Elizabeth is giving WAY too much credit to this Rick Baker guy. I’ve never heard of him nor his book or the supposed controversy surrounding it but I am well-versed on the McStay case. To say that it’s because of Baker that their case has become infamous and is so well known is pretty ridiculous. I am sure that some people knew nothing about the case until they read his book, sure, but let’s have some real perspective here. The vast majority of people who know this family’s story do because of news programs (48 Hours, Dateline, etc.), blogs, newspapers/magazines and crime shows (Disappeared, Nancy Grace, etc.).
    Obviously every mention of a missing person helps the cause – every article, every book and so on. But Baker’s contribution into making this disappearance well known is incredibly minimal. Let’s be realistic.

    • Julie, you’re right there have been important television shows “investigating” the case, but there is nothing, in my opinion, like a writer taking on a case. To date and although flawed, he’s the only one in the community that’s taken an interest and put it to print.

      Did I exaggerate his importance? Hmm. Better question, do I like him, and that’s obviously more than you do. He’s a radio guy who writes and this time he investigated and self-published a book on the McStay case. I think that’s great. He’s been a thorn in the side of the investigators not unlike father, Patrick McStay. Together and apart, I believe they have kept this case alive.

      You have another opinion and that’s okay with me.

      • Is a poorly-written book about the McStays better than no book at all? It might be, if this case was in any danger of being forgotten by the public but-for such a book. But I don’t think that’s the situation. This is the most talked about missing persons case of the 21st century so far, and as I said in the main blog, if it’s not solved it will go down as one of the truly iconic ones, like Judge Crater. I’m skeptical about the amount of publicity for the case generated solely by this book. (For instance, I was planning to do a blog post on the McStays long before I ever heard of the book. Most people I know of who are active in the missing persons community have not heard of the book).

        I would like to see a more substantial piece of journalistic investigation into the case, a book with documented footnotes, a precise documentation of sources (bibliography, if you will) and rigorous third party fact-checking. That sort of book–which remains to be written–will, I think, have the potential to move our understanding of the case forward in a way that I don’t think “No Goodbyes” did.

      • john lyttle

        All four found dead in the desert today. anything to say now about the pain baker put the missing family’s relatives through? any more credit you;d like to give him?

      • Opinions are not facts, and it would seem that what most people object to with regard to Rick Baker (who in light of the discovery of the bodies of the McStay family has elected to be begin scrubbing his internet presence on this matter) is that he presented his opinions as facts.

        Here’s hoping nothing dreadful ever happens to you that catches the interest of an idiot like Rick Baker who then writes half truths and lies that slander your memory.

  6. I would like to see that book written as well. Until then, we have a book about the case written by Rick Baker who threw himself over the coals to investigate and write one. I’m glad he didn’t wait until the case was solved to throw his thoughts into the mix.

    Just as my overly enthusiastic expression has been pointed out, I’d like to point out to you that the 21st Century has just begun and the McStay case is already seen by many as that family that went down to Mexico and was never heard from again. It’s the two curmudgeons, Rick and Patrick McStay, Joey’s father, who are trying to save this case from that history.

    People may not have heard about the book “No Goodbyes” .. wait I find that difficult to believe. If someone is on top of this case, how could they not have been exposed to the conflict it’s created within the McStay family?

    For now, and until someone else writes a book about the case, my hat goes off to Rick Baker. Challenge to all writers, let’s move this case forward.

    • I have to say elizabeth that I had heard of the McStay family but had never heard of the book No Goodbyes. I at this point am thankful I had never heard of it and wish I had never heard of it now. Why would you continue to support the flawed view of an idiot?

  7. reenie

    Sadly, this family (I think) felt the need to leave…and that is exactly what they did. I think if they met with foul play the car would have had some evidence… show signs of struggle- the house shows nothing but a hasty departure those are really the only facts that all us “sleuths” can agree on… they perceived danger or just flaked out. There does seem to be some unstable emotional need to leave, and although Rick Baker does raise some good points that the family was having some BIG problems, I think they were living a suburb panic attack- this couple both had some arrested development and mid life crisis clues linger with me as I watched the first manic Joey trying to convince his wife the cookie cuter vanilla gross house was “beautiful”…I really think in the midst of the renovation..his business taking off a full blown panic invaded the surfer and the women who suffered from chronic control issues..had home births..plans to home school her kids and from what I can see on different media reports, some real family problems. I think this was totally voluntary and I believe the full plan was devised over the 4 day gap. The car being left in the parking lot also proves no masked killers would take a chance leaving a car in a well lit parking lot, but a family not realizing the entire world would be searching for them would take care parking in a safe spot even if they were making their way on foot to the boarder, no killer would take the time to leave the car and risk being noticed-this lot was well attended with security so, seriously, they just parked got out and left the car. Remember, they didn’t want the car, they ditched the car..and I think they had either a car on the other side waiting or, re-entered the US with new identity and had a different car waiting- remember, they had 10-12 days to escape before the brother called the police, however he had already invaded the house and took control of the computer, and we should ask WHY. Soooo, LAPD Investigators all reported that the driver seat position was consistent with Summers height and it was mainly she that drove this car-coffee cup is in the cup holder, and water bottle, both I assume are with their DNA only. I think the toys in the very back are only a sign that they didn’t know when they were going to ck out but that the possibility and consideration was there thus the computer search weeks earlier on kids entering Mexico…The toy kitchen was obviously bought for one of the sons up coming birthday and therefor it was covered with a sheet so the kids wouldn’t see. Again, this was a hasty exit..a mental health issue… I think the toys only prove that this plan was harvested quickly, very sudden. Not proof that they were taken by crazy people that can subdue 4 people and leave no signs…I think one of the couple was having some issues with society and esp suburban living…this was a reaction of the other partner to comply and lets face it, I think Joey forced this move and felt guilty for the results of marital discord.. I do believe the family has had help from someone…and the money in the bank ( Rick Baker could have not been more wrong)…is not a sign that Joey was killed, or that they met with foul play, but more importantly it was left to be used for the son of Joeys upbringing. To me that was so obvious. I think this is the biggest clue, Joey left that money in the bank for his teenage SON. Of course that is why Michael McStay was so freaked to get the money, get the computers and bank statements.. he most likely knew this is what Joeys wishes ARE and he is willing to take any criticism (as any brother would) even if this looks like he somehow used the money for himself. if the family now all agree that the family left voluntarily I think we should wake up and smell the obvious. The fact that the dogs were left outside is also a glaring act of a voluntary leaving.. the only hope for survival for the dogs was to either leave them out so their barking would alert someone and I think another glaring clue here is Summer also arranged for the guy helping her paint to come back that weekend…guess what..via text so one way or the other she probably felt the dogs would be found and cared for. The search on the computer and the fact the boarder video show kids with those EXACT hats, come ON- it is clearly a family of four, kids with distinctive hats and Summer in a jacket she always wore…no signs of foul play..and the money left to cover his son….please! So back to more clues… both phones are pinging off the same tower before they ‘die’…, they symbolically threw them off that bridge near the house as they either left or shortly after Joey made the last call to his partner, which I still feel was a signal…or code to alert the business partner or the other members of the family… they both got rid of their phones in the same area..If Summer killed Joey or vis versa the phones might not have been thrown at the same time..mistakes would have been make in the height of panic. This has some hallmarks of a chaotic exit from the house, but not criminal, why lock the door..these people did things true to their habits, simple things not totally chaotic just deliberate and not the result of a home invasion, they locked the doors and left the dogs out so they would be feed…they left all together in the suv..they threw the phones in the same direction and location, they left money in the bank that I believe this was for Joeys older sons child support. They hid out for 4 days to get false ID’s and the plan was completed… I think Joey cut his hair, the video at the boarder was indeed them. I do think they alerted had contact with the mom or brother and were asked to give them a few days.. time to escape. I believe they ran from some issue…Perhaps not legal but emotionally driven..but they did this voluntary as you said as a unit…..I think pressures and emotional illness makes the most sense.

    • Wildcar13

      You should be ashamed of yourself! Clearly you are wrong – so sad how people think of other people and then seem shocked when the truth is out.

  8. ellajane

    Well, I have to give kudos to Reenie, you make a highly believable scenario!
    I think that there are two, maybe three things that could have happened…one being the scenario you posted, two being that for whatever reason ( most likely drug related ) someone tracked them down and killed them all at a location away from their car and their home….and three that they are safe in witness protection program/
    I choose to believe number three, and my reason is that IN MY MIND it is THE ONLY THING THAT MAKES COMPLETE SENSE AND GIVES ANSWERS TO ALL OF THE MISSING QUESTIONS…the FBI WOULD INDEED continue on this case or at least make the public believe they were soldiering on forward looking for this family even if they knew they were in the WPP….why because if they did not it would be a pretty gosh darn give away, WPP makes it so you have to give up your entire life as you knew it, it is like being born again, and starting over, NO ONE CAN KNOW, otherwise it would not be a successful protection situation.
    I know there are probably people that will not agree with my choice but I stand firmly, only because like I said before, it is THE ONLY SCENARIO THAT ADDRESSES ALL OF THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AND THE ONLY SCENARIO THAT MAKES COMPLETE SENSE!iIn closing I would like to add, that I would like to hope so much that iam right, because if iam at least the family is safe and well….and really at the end of the day that is what all of us healthy minded people want, if for them to have a safe and secure ending.

    • Thanks for your comment. In my view the witness protection program not only does not address all the unanswered questions, but it needlessly introduces more questions into the case that have no business being there. Contrary to what’s depicted in the movies, the vast majority of participants in WPP style programs are themselves hardened criminals. There is no evidence that the McStays were involved in crime, and it’s exceedingly rare that completely innocent people would somehow gain inside knowledge of a criminal enterprise sufficiently damning to create a motive for murder.

      I also think you’re misreading what the WPP does and how it functions. It does not “disappear” people off the face of the earth. Witnesses who enter WPP always reappear–in court. It’s just that after their testimony is given, they can’t be tracked down. It’s an anonymizer, not a vanisher. There’s an important difference between those two concepts. Again I cite the example of the most famous WPP participant, Sammy Gravano. Gravano did not “disappear.” Everyone knew he was alive and that he was testifying against John Gotti; it’s just that you couldn’t find him again once he had done so.

      If you still have doubts, I would recommend reading this article from “How Stuff Works” on how WPP actually functions, and perhaps you’ll see certain discrepancies that simply don’t match up with the McStay case. I found this passage particularly interesting:

      “The entire ­purpose of the witness protection program is to keep the witnesses safe so that they can testify at trials that could convict members of organized crime, gangs or terrorist networks. Perhaps the riskiest part of the process is when the witness returns to testify.
      A great number of precautions are taken, and security is maximized at this time. In his book, Shur describes bringing witnesses in mail trucks, helicopters and fishing boats. In one instance, an armored car was sent with a full police escort as a decoy while former Mafia member Joseph Barboza was snuck in through a side door of the courthouse.”

      Where, in what case, and against whom have Joseph and/or Summer McStay turned up to testify in a criminal case? They have never done so, which itself is a powerful piece of evidence against the WPP theory. There is no way such testimony could be kept secret; it’s a Constitutional requirement that trials be public. Therefore, even if the McStays went into WPP, they would not be a case of “disappeared without a trace,” but rather, we know for a fact they’re out there somewhere, we just don’t know where.

  9. Think simply about this .All the greatest sleuths have said “it’s the simplest solution that solves the case”. Most people are not that creative or diabolic. This is true. If one of the McStay’s were ” unstable ” “freaked out ” “a lunatic ” “unhappy with big social problem’s ” one would seek professional help for their beloved spouse. Not succumb to their instability with no regard to the children’s safety, security and completely disappear. Also it is not so easy to completely disappear. By all accounts Mr. McStay was sincerely devoted and deeply loved “all” his children. Dearest family members and closest friends testify to Mr. McStay’s devotion as a father, husband, son, brother, friend and, businessman. He was not portrayed as a person of poor character. Quite the opposite. I cannot believe that Mr. McStay would be so selfish, thoughtless and so very cruel as to abandon his first born son. To purposely destroy his first born with the cruel devastation of grief and leave him forever wondering…” where’s my dad and brother’s? “. What’s happened to them ? ” Even If Mr. McStay left him 100 million in the bank I do not believe he would walk out on his first born. From all accounts Mr.McStay deeply loved all his boys. I dont believe he loved the boys he had with Summer McStay more. Yes, parents walk out on their children everyday without ever looking back. Yes there are very bad people in this world. But not Mr. McStay. I have no theories or conjecture about what did happen to the McStay Family. Surely and definitely foul play was involved. It would be the only thing that could ever keep me from any of my children ever, Also the male in the video has been verified by authorities to be “to tall” to be Mr. McStay. But, could it possibly be Summer McStay and boys with……?

  10. vanessa

    I think the four people crossing the border are summer the two kids and her other man

  11. Its official, the McStays have been found. All dead and ruled a homicide. I just happen to know Summer’s sister, Tracy and the detectives left their home a little while ago. I also happen to live in the high desert, near Victorville where they were found. Hopefully the killer or killers left clues as to who they are and the police will track them down.

  12. I noticed Rick Baker’s website is down…guess he had nothing to say for himself. Know – it – all coward.

  13. My prayers and sympathies are with the relatives and friends of the McStays tonight.

  14. Tim

    Shows the Police incompetence! So many clues but they failed to follow through. The killer was someone who knew the family. Someone who planned this perfectly. So perfectly they made it look like the family planned to go to Mexico. So perfect they even had access to the family computer and made the bogus searches. I think they would look at some at someone who is friends with stay at home mom Sue. The whole thing of leaving the car by the border was a perfect set up so was the searches on the computer. Significant sums of money was withdrawn from their account but the incompetent police failed to follow through.

    Matters were not helped by the pathetic narcissist Mr Baker who relished the fame he got through his book. Before he deleted his blog (you can still google cache it) he says the missing bodies were not the McStays. He did not want closure as this would keep his book and the little attention he got alive.

  15. andy

    Sadly it seems as though the Mcstay family has been found. Hopefully their discovery will yield some clues as to what happened. I saw the Disappeared episode a while back and the case has always bothered me. I seem to recall several sightings of the family in Mexico. Whoever reported those sightings would be a logical place to start. It certainly seems that whoever is responsible tried to cover their tracks by doing searches on travel to Mexico on the family’s computer , and by leaving their car at the border…

  16. sakara

    i’m starting to wonder, after just finding out about this case a few hours ago, with the dead body news, if one of the parents was bi-polar, or on some drug, in which they were unable to stay put, or make sane choices….lets leave the house RIGHT NOW, lets buy a toy RIGHT NOW, lets go to mexico RIGHT NOW.

    Though even that doesnt explain how their bodies were found many miles into USA.

  17. I like too know who kill these Wonderful People those sweet presus Baby Boys. The sweets Family’s that walked this earth! ;-( I like too know who be too stupit too Devil like too do this! You know who done this God is watching you he hates what you have done only he will punish the one or others who done this!

  18. jeff

    They probably saw something they shouldn’t have seen, a crime, something big. They didn’t know the killers, which is one reason it was never solved.

  19. Lola

    First I want to start by saying how sad I am for the families of these poor people. I find it hard to believe that if you had read the book (which I did ) that anybody would come to the conclusion that either of these people had run off . Or that Summer had killed anybody . We all say things in anger to our spouses ,text ,email, etc. That doesn’t make us killers ! I never believed that…. at all !! I always felt it was someone they knew,someone that they would let into their home.Thus the computer search.Or maybe even someone very very good with computers possibly?! And that Joe was having a problems with … I wonder …wasn’t money missing from his account after his disappearance ?!?! HMMMMM

  20. Tea

    “Another dynamic is that Joseph had a 10 year old son (previous wife) and Joseph and Summer had been filing a CPS vase against the kid’s stepfather who has a long rap sheet! Supposedly he was furious with the lies Summer was telling Child Protective Services and he was out for blood.”

    Didn’t Joey make a complaint to CPS that his eldest son was abused by the boy’s step-father. Another old website state that Joey received a letter the day before he disappeared that CPS had investigated and found no basis for the complaint.

    Michael James McFadden: Orange County Superior Court website shows felony convictions for: 245(a)(1) PC 7/16/1998 Pled Guilty 1/18/2000 and also a 422 PC 7/16/1999 Pled Guilty on 1/18/2000 PC 245. (a) (1) Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm or by any means of force likely to produce great bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.
    PC 422. (a) Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family’s safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

    • Cecius

      BINGO! I hope LE is looking at this person. I suspect he got them to meet him (or maybe they thought they were picking up Joey’s son?). He has the most motive for this and couldn’t leave any witnesses because he could be identified.

  21. JJ

    I don’t think the McStay’s are the most famous missing person(s) case in the 21st century, I believe the Madeleine McCann case is, it’s been headline news around the world for several years now as recent as a few months ago when new information came out again…..Unfortunately Madeleine has never been found and her whereabouts are a mystery to this today. At least the McStays have been found and their families are able to bring them home and never have to wonder if they are still out there, I think not knowing would be the worst of all. I hope their killer or killers are caught asap and brought to justice just as I hope one day the McCann’s will find their daughter or at least find out what happened to her. My sympathies and prayers to the families of Joseph and Summer McStay.

  22. aoefe

    I admit I haven’t followed the case since the beginning, in canada it hasn’t got that much press. Blogs: Statement Analysis and Eyes for Lies have made me very curious about Michael McStay’s involvement. I think he warrants a close look.

  23. Here’s hoping nothing dreadful ever happens to you that catches the interest of an idiot like Rick Baker who then writes half truths and lies that slander your memory. that sounds great 🙂

  24. I would like too know who should hurt & butcher this Wonderful Family;-( ;-( ;-( ;-( who ever did turn your self in you will feel better about yourself! My Father always say those who do not turn them selfs in are cowers that’s what he always did told me! Who ever you are go too the Police turn yourself in. Any way I Belive more then 1 person did this they went intoo there home & order these Great People out of there home. I like too know Why the Nabors never had the nurvs too watch what they were doing. My Bother s dead too he was killed but not his fult he was killed on a road with no Camras I rely don’t know what happen too him. He was very smart. Always told me too wear a helmet before geting on his Motorcycle always he would put a exter one for me & my younger Sisters. Anyway I miss him. So I know what the Family’s going thrue. Please turn yourself in.

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