Friends, family and Victorville residents gathered in the desert Wednesday to post crosses as a memorial for the members of the McStay family whose remains were found there earlier this month.
Many people who had never met the family traveled into the desert Wednesday to pay respects to the family, some who had also lost loved ones. Four white crosses marked the area where the bodies were found, names of each member written on the crosses and flowers covering the ground below.
The brother of Joseph McStay, Mike McStay made the journey to the desert to see for himself where his brother’s body was found.
"What was hidden is out in the open, and we can catch the individuals who did this," he said.
Timeline: McStay Family Mystery
The San Diego family had been missing since 2010, and the discovery of the remains leave more questions unanswered as the open-ended mystery of the missing family of four has baffled law enforcement, relatives and anyone who actively followed the case.
Another woman who visited the memorial said Joseph was her uncle’s best friend.
"For myself, this just really hits home," Mallory Cummins said through tears.
Others who came to the memorial had not even met the family.
"There were two kids, and mom and dad," said Victorville resident Gabriel Espinoza, who came to help create the desert memorial. "It’s just not your everyday kind of crime that you hear."
"This whole time they’ve gone missing and they were found right here in our desert," said resident Renee Burke. "We were here to pay our respects to the family."
The group released a flock of doves and sang “Happy Birthday” for Joseph, who would have turned 44 years old Wednesday.
Condolences have been pouring in for the family from people across the world through social media.
San Bernardino County officials are expected to release autopsy reports on the family, though that could take days. Meanwhile, law enforcement sources say the investigation remains active.
A motorcyclist found skeletal remains Nov. 11 in the area between Quarry and Stoddard Wells roads, just north of Victorville, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Victorville Station said. When investigators began to analyze the bones, they came across another set of remains in a shallow grave about 6 to 8 feet away, sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller said.
Joseph McStay, of Fallbrook, Calif. and his wife Summer were last seen with their two children, then ages 3 and 4, in February 2010, NBC7 San Diego reported. A group resembling the McStay family were spotted on surveillance footage crossing into Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing on Feb. 8, 2010.