McStay Family Murdered: Will Desert Graves Yield Their Killers?

Deserted in the Desert

Gianni Family Photo

 

 

 

 

Gianni Martelli McStay had rock star hair at only 4years old.  His little brother Joseph, affectionately nicknamed Chubba- did as well.  They both rocked a beanie like no other little dudes.

Chubba Family Photo

Gianni and Chubba were as inseparable in life as they were in death when they were recovered in a shallow grave in the Mojave Desert on November 11.

Their parents, Joseph, 40 and Summer McStay, 43, were located in a separate grave nearby.

A 3rd gravesite was found-but empty.  A protected source not authorized to speak to the media has confirmed that at least one of the parent’s remains was bound by an electrical cord.

While formal DNA comparisons and autopsy protocols are pending, the manner of death in all four victims have been declared homicides.

Just about 50 yards off the intersection of Route 15 and Quarry Rd the family that San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDCSD) believed was “likely” voluntarily missing on their own and living in Mexico, was recovered in a 30 hour excavation process.   An off road motorcycle enthusiast called the San Bernardino County Sheriff when he came across what he suspected was human remains.

Last April SDCSD forwarded the McStay case to the FBI based on their conclusions that the McStay’s had McGone to Mexico, following a lengthy complaint of their handling of the case by Patrick McStay, Joseph’s Father.   Troy Dugal, previous lead investigator of the McStay case, appeared on several news and cable television programs over the last three years explaining there was “overwhelming” circumstantial evidence the family of four that was pictured crossing the border into Tijuana, Mexico the evening of February 8th, 2010 was in fact, the McStays.

Following the recovery, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office will maintain jurisdiction of the investigation.

Frenemies..  Frenethieves.. Friends.. Family or Cartel?

Who brutally murders innocent children and dumps them in a hole they dug in the desert?

Logically- someone who is very familiar with the area.  Of course it is just as shocking and horrific to murder anyone,  but it takes a specific brand of evil to murder a baby.  Make that two.

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that either Joseph or Summer McStay had any ties to drugs, associates with ties to drugs or cartel, at any time.   None.

Contrary to a top selling book on the case, “No Goodbyes” by Rick Baker, there has never been any evidence whatsoever that Summer McStay was some sort of closeted psychotic and homicidal type.  The book goes on to malign members of both Joseph and Summer’s families and in some cases outright accuses same of extortion or stealing.   Baker’s subsequent public theory is that Summer murdered Joseph and everyone should be looking for her and the boys in Mexico.

Not surprisingly , Baker has requested Amazon pull his book from available stock and has offered refunds to prior purchases.   Popular online sleuth sites previously promoting “No Goodbye’s” have since either deleted it’s hundreds of posts endorsing Baker, or moved them to a member’s only private viewing area.

Albeit obtusely, Baker does touch on a troubling and serious abuse allegation concerning Joseph McStay’s oldest son from his first marriage, Jonah, and his step-father, Michael McFadden.  He writes summer filed a complaint with Child Protective Services after she and Joseph recorded a conversation with Jonah and placed a copy of same with a private party for safekeeping.  Blinkoncrime.com has been able to independently verify that is accurate, but that the investigation was not known to be completed until shortly after the McStay’s disappearance.  Under California probate law, Jonah would be an heir to the McStay estate or as otherwise provisioned in the instance of an existing will.

Interviewed by Laura Ling for E! Investigation, Joseph McStay’s web administrator Dan Kavanaugh claims he was the first to become concerned.  In Baker’s book, he refers to him as a suspect and details how he alleges he was funneling cash from McStay’s business account before he or anyone else knew the family was missing.  Kavanaugh has an unrelated open criminal matter in San Diego County according to court records.

Chase Merritt- Joseph McStay’s business partner in his water fountain design and installation business was the last number ever dialed from his phone at 8:28PM on February 4th.  Merritt joined McStay in a lunch meeting earlier that afternoon where they discussed a proposal for a very large car wash chain to feature custom fountains in each facility.   According to family friend MacCargar McGyver, McStay was very excited about the opportunity.  Merritt claims he passed a voluntary lie detector test, and that he was adamant that Joseph McStay would never have taken his family to Mexico and has always believed they met with foul play.

McGYver spent several days leading up to February 4th at the McStay home due to a painter Summer hired not returning to complete the job.  McGyver introduced Summer and Joseph and by all accounts was a close confidant of the couple.

Patrick McStay, Joseph’s Father living in Texas has had some harsh words for the investigation into the disappearance of his son, daughter in law and grandsons.

“…most botched, inept investigation I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

He also believes very strongly that the list of suspects with motive to kill his family members is very short.  Three, to be exact.

He said the department didn’t even bother to contact him to tell him his son’s remains had been found.

“I got a message from someone [on Thursday] on Facebook telling me to go and read an article,” McStay said. “The minute I read the article, I knew it was him.”

“I have exhausted and have so much information on three possible persons of interest. All have a motive.”

The three individuals are not connected to each other, but all of them seem like likely candidates. Patrick says one of them seems to be a particularly likely suspect: he’s a wealthy man with a long rap sheet that includes charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and burglary. McStay says he, too, has a motive for killing his son.

Although Mr. McStay did not reference him by name, he may be referring to Michael James McFadden, who was arrested in July 1998 and charged with attempted murder and a litany of other felonies including great bodily harm to a child:

459/460(a) PC – Burglary 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Assault 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
273.5(a) PC – Domestic Violence 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
12022.7(d) PC – Infliction of great bodily injury on a child under the age of five … 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Assault 07/16/1999 02/25/2000 Dismissed
240 PC – Attempt to inflict violent force on another person. 07/16/1999 02/25/2000 Dismissed
245(a)(1) PC – Assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm 07/16/1998 01/18/2000 Pled Guilty
12022.7(d) PC – Infliction of great bodily injury on a child under the age of five… 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed
422 PC – Criminal Terrorist Threat 07/16/1999 01/18/2000 Pled Guilty
664-187 PC – Attempted Murder 07/16/1998 02/25/2000 Dismissed

You will note some of the charges are from 1998, others 1999 on the anniversary date, McFadden successfully negotiated a plea agreement and only pled to criminal terroristic threats and assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm.  Both felonies.

In the complaint he lodged against the detectives in SDCSD, Patrick McStay specifically references failure to interview key suspects he provided to LE directly.

Given the location of the bodies, it would seem that whoever is responsible would at least want investigators to think McFadden was involved.  As a self-proclaimed mountain bike “racer”, McFadden has participated in several bike events in various locations all along the Route 15 Mojave corridor.  SBCSO says they will be re-interviewing everyone in the case and have no suspects.

There have been no named suspects to date and the investigation is ongoing.  Memorial or Funeral arrangements for the McStay’s have not yet been announced .  LATE EDIT: The family and friends of the McStay family will gather at the grave site in Victorville,  on Joseph’s McStay’s birthday.

To be continued in Part 2:  Analysis of the last day of their lives points to involvement by someone they knew.

 

 

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1,603 Comments

  1. rose says:

    SB-DA County investigators did not subpoena neighbors’ surveillance footage:
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sbsun.com/2019/01/09/video-surveillance-from-neighbor-of-mcstay-family-reviewed-in-court/amp/

    It gets way worse. This neighbor testified that there were additional vehicles and or activity of interest she showed detectives and they did not either copy it or submit as evidence. In particular, she gets up due to some noise she heard about 28 minutes after the alleged 7:47 pull out of McStay driveway and turns on her front porch light but does not remember what caused it, or if there was any additional vehicle activity. Consider the State will be presenting evidence that someone was on the Mcstay home computer after 8 PM as well- will be interesting to see how that is received. In essence, SD LE should have flashed her entire drive, reviewed it, and go from there- to my knowledge they took select one hour intervals from 2/3 and 2/4- most judges arent letting that in without the LE testimony and accompanying expert- its possible she was taken out of order, but the defense may not have objected because it was obviously a major LE and prosecution error- the tape itself seems to include Merritt’s vehicle as we saw in opening.
    B

  2. rose says:

    Is this a weak case?
    The prosecutor seems to be milking the
    family members in the trial rather than the
    sentencing phase.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/mcstay-family-deaths-trial-brother-testimony-mexico-disappearance-504140441.html%3famp=y

    Very. Pains me to say so because at the very least, I believe Merritt was involved somehow. Its only the first week of the State’s case, but worst opening week I have ever seen in a capital case.
    B

  3. Alli says:

    Blink, all great points! And especially about a bank fraud officer not being involved if Joey called the bank about fraud to his accounts as has been stated in the past.

    I don’t believe the family was killed in the home either. And since family and friends were in the house cleaning before LE got the warrant, it could be said evidence was planted to make it fit the DA’s case. Ramos jumped the gun on this case IMO.

    In addition- I rewatched an impromptu Dan Kavannaugh interview a few weeks after the bodies were located. I can tell you that his interview directly refutes Susan Blake’s testimony. If what he said was true about all sorts of cards and accounts were linked into the business paypal account, and Jim McGee can prove at the very least that $17K from the SA fountain was paid to Kavannaugh directly (via paypal) then DK has big problems. If the business account was linked, and it definitely appears it was, I am also not understanding why Blake had to use her own funds (if she did) either.

    The house was never processed forensically for any latent evidence until Aug 2014- if one can even believe that. The State is not going to be able to use the “time passed” as an excuse for not producing any evidence of an uber violent quadruple homicide in a home with a total of 10 foot sideyards backed by a canyon with a neighbor videotaping any comings and goings across from their house. Its just not reasonable for any juror to “buy” and I definitely believe this case is going to come down to that very issue.

    B

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