By Gina Yarbrough
SAN DIEGO—Skeletal human remains found in a remote area of a California desert were confirmed as missing Fallbrook family, the McStays, San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department officials say.
Using dental records and a forensic anthropologist the coroner confirmed the identities to be Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife Summer, 43. The other remains are believed to be the couple’s children, Gianni, 4, and Joseph, 3.
Investigators say the remains have been in the desert for an extended period of time. The remains were discovered in a shallow grave.
On Monday, deputies from the Victorville Sheriff’s Station were called to the Mojave desert between Quarry Road and Interstate 15, north of Stoddard Wells Road in the area of Victorville, following a report of human remains discovered by a motorcyclist.
“Every available resource will be utilized in this investigation to identify the suspects involved in this heinous crime and bring them to justice,” San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon said.
The McStays were reported missing in February of 2010 to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
The family were last seen on February 4, 2010 at their home in Fallbrook. On February 15, Joseph’s brother contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department to make a missing persons’ report. Deputies immediately initiated a missing persons’ investigation into the disappearance.
During the investigation, deputies learned that on February 8, 2010, the unoccupied family vehicle was located at the Plaza Major Shopping Center in San Ysidro. The vehicle had been towed from the international border.
Investigators say grainy video footage had been captured which depicted a family closely resembling the McStays in the border area. Video footage showing pedestrian movement across the border into Mexico was examined with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Over the past three years, San Diego Sheriff”s Department deputies have conducted an extensive investigation in an attempt to locate the family. Investigators say hundreds of tips have been investigated without success. The case was ultimately transferred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 2013.
The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Homicide Detail is conducting an investigation. Investigators are working with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact law enforcement, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.