The McStay family vanished in February 2010. Nearly four years later, the bodies of Joseph, Summer, Gianni, and Joey Jr. were found buried in the Mojave Desert. Although San Bernardino County officials have identified the family, they have no idea how or why they died.
The family was last seen on February 4, 2010. Family members became suspicious when Joseph and Summer stopped answering and returning phone calls. On February 8, the family’s 1996 Isuzu Trooper was found abandoned in a San Ysidro, California, parking lot.
The McStays were officially reported missing on February 15. When authorities searched their home, they found two bowls of popcorn in the family room and a rotting carton of eggs on the kitchen counter. Although it looked like they left in a hurry, police determined that there had not been a struggle.
As reported by CBS News, search results on the family’s computer suggested they were planning a trip to Mexico. Video surveillance at the border confirmed authorities’ suspicions. The shadowy footage showed two adults and two small children crossing into Mexico through a pedestrian gate.
In March 2013, investigators concluded that the McStay family left the country voluntarily. However, their family was not convinced. They said the footage from the border crossing was questionable, and Joseph and Summer would not leave the country without telling anyone.
NBC News reports that Summer and Joseph’s remains were identified using dental records. Although the children’s bodies have not been identified, they are certain the remains belong to Gianni and Joey Jr.
Earlier this year, the investigation into the family’s disappearance was turned over to the FBI. However, authorities have not discussed what led them to the shallow graves, or any theories they have about the deaths.
A book written by Rick Baker suggests Summer and Joseph were having marital issues. According to CBS News, Baker’s book includes the text of several e-mails that indicate the couple argued about trust issues.
Authorities dismissed Baker’s claims, pointing out that a few angry e-mails do not explain the bizarre circumstances of the case.
The McStay family was finally found, but their disappearance and death remains a mystery.