Remains in Desert ID'd as Members of Missing San Diego Family: Sheriff

A motorcyclist found the skeletal remains of what turned out to be four people earlier this week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Since remains found in the Victorville desert were identified as a missing San Diego family, a grieving father and grandfather of the McStay family speaks for the first time about the deaths. Patrick McStay says he thinks someone was hired to kill them, and all he wants to come of this is a killer's conviction. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    Human remains found in a Southern California desert were identified Friday as members of a San Diego family who have been missing since 2010.

    McStay Family Mystery: Timeline of Events

    Human Remains in Victorville Identified as San Diego Family

    [LA] Human Remains in Victorville Identified as San Diego Family
    The skeletons found in two shallow graves north of Victorville were the remains of the McStay family, missing since 2010, according to investigators. Tony Shin reports from Victorville for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the remains of Summer and Joseph McStay were identified through dental records. The other remains found nearby earlier this week are believed to be those of their children, McMahon said.

    McStay family members attended the Friday news conference at which the Sheriff's Department announced the findings.

    Remains in Desert ID'd as Family

    [LA] Remains in Desert ID'd as Family
    Human remains found in a Southern California desert were identified Friday as members of a San Diego family who have been missing since 2010. Jacob Rascon reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Friday Nov. 15, 2013 (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    "It gives us courage to know that they're together and they're in a better place," said Mike McStay, Joseph McStay's brother. "It's been a tough road."

    The deaths have been ruled homicides, but the cause of death will not be released to "protect the investigation," the department said in a news release.

    Michael McStay: "It's Been a Tough Road"

    [DGO] Michael McStay: "It's Been a Tough Road"
    The brother of Joseph McStay spoke at the news conference where officials positively identified the remains of his brother, his sister-in-law and his nephews. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    Joseph's father, Patrick McStay, spoke out for the first time Friday since his family's remains were identified.

    "You've got to be a cold-blooded killer to murder two children," Patrick said, "I think someone hired somebody to do this, and that's where all the evidence I have leads me."

    Remains Found in Desert May Belong to Missing Family

    [LA] Remains Found in Desert May Belong to Missing Family
    A SoCal family vanished without a trace more than three years ago. Skeletal remains found in the desert may belong to the McStays who were last seen with their young children in early 2010. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2013. (Published Friday, Nov 15, 2013)

    Rick Baker, the author of the book, "No Goodbyes: The Mysterious Disappearance of the McStay Family," asked Amazon to pull the book from its digital shelves after learning the remains were those of the McStays.

    Baker also had a popular blog about the disappearance of the family, but removed it from the Internet since the discovery.

    "The purpose of both of those items was to bring publicity to the case to find the McStays," Baker said. "Tragically, they were found."

    A motorcyclist found skeletal remains Monday morning 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.

    Investigators said they believed the remains were that of four people, and it appeared that the remains had been there for "an extended period of time."

    The announcement is a key development in solving the 4-year-old mystery about what happened to the San Diego family (pictured below). McMahon said he could not confirm that the deaths are linked to a drug cartel after being asked several times about that possibility at the news conference.

    "We're looking at all options in investigating who the suspects are," said McMahon. "It's too early for us to identify anybody as a suspect."

    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.

    Investigators with the FBI, which is handling the family’s case, said it’s believed the family went to Mexico of their own free will.