Saturday, December 17, 2011

Did Summer McStay Suffer from Paranoid Schizophrenia or BPD?

Update to this post dated 1/31/2012: I have not been able to verify Patrick McStay's current status. Numerous people have left comments stating he was successfully extradited from Texas to New Orleans to face charges on alleged financial improprieties. I've heard conflicting reports about whether or not he posted bail. Most seemed to think he was still being held, which makes me wonder if bail was set prohibitively high since he had previously been a fugitive with regard to the Louisiana warrant. If anyone has media or press confirmation (please don't leave any unsourced comments or I'll just delete them) as to his current status I'd be interested to hear. Also, if anyone knows the exact nature of the charges or if any additional charges have been filed--particularly if any of these charges were related to the McStay family disappearance. I'm doubting the latter is the case and am leaning towards the idea that P.M.'s legal woes are probably separate problems from any problems which might have been the reason for the McStays' disappearance. But we will see what we will see, I guess. For the record, as of this date, I believe the McStays are all alive and well, and that they disappeared of their own volition. For my reasons regarding this, just go to the homepage of this blog and look at the left hand side for the most read blog posts on this site and you'll see several other posts I did exploring several diverse theories which I feel are plausible explanations of the reasons for the family's disappearance.

12/28/2011 MCSTAYS UPDATE: I just put these two things together tonight: Does this creep you out the way it creeped me out? I wanted to believe the reasoning in the post below this was the right reasoning because it ended with all the McStays alive and well. But this is worrisome.

IMPORTANT UPDATE ON MCSTAYS CASE: PATRICK ROBERT MCSTAY SOUGHT BY LOUISIANA LAW ENFORCMENT: WARRANT ISSUED. This might be the key to solving the mystery of the McStays' disappearance. Or it may prove to be unrelated.

I used to think Summer McStay was either involved in criminal activity or had a lover who killed Joseph McStay (with or without her consent).

But after that Laura Ling documentary on E!, I'm happy to say I think they're all alive.

I had thought Summer McStay might suffer from some sort of mental illness, but because she seemed to be high functioning, I was thinking it was more a mood disorder or some form of mental illness that was tangential and possibly a contributing factor to the disappearance. I didn't put so much weight on it to see it as the primary cause of the disappearance. But with the new facts released this week, I totally do.

Now I think she probably suffers from either paranoid schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder, and that she and her husband are in a co-dependent relationship in which one partner's irrational paranoia has resulted in the other partner agreeing to a completely irrational flight--first out of the conventions of society--and later out of society altogether.

The search for a non-existent drug called ANGER. The five outdoor playhouses INSIDE the house. The frequent name changes.

I did a GOOGLE search for "schizophrenia" and "changed names" and this is something very common in paranoid schizophrenics. It's also apparently common in those suffering from borderline personality disorder. They often change their names multiple times.

They get paranoid and they want to escape. They want to hide. But the "solutions" never last. The moves go on and on, the name changes, the delusions etc.

This might explain why the home births and the home schooling. She probably mistrusted everyone.

I remember her making a really strange comment in the one video where they are driving to the new house. She says something about the proximity of the truck stop, which seems to make no sense or only paranoid sense.

Both of these mental illnesses often involve wild flights and disappearances. I could see Summer McStay suffering from either one of those. The question is whether she was actually hallucinating (paranoid schizophrenia) or not (borderline personality disorder). Did she imagine that drug existed? Or was it real and she was just inquiring at the wrong place. Anger is a component of borderline personality disorder. I don't believe she was bipolar because any manic episode (which could involve paranoia) would have ended after a period of time.

And I couldn't see Joseph McStay not contacting his family but as it said in one article about a schizophrenic woman who changed her name frequently, "It is virtually impossible to have a relationship with a person like this unless you let them rule you."

So I now believe that's what happened.

I was basing my judgments before on the idea that the family couldn't survive in a foreign country without resources. That docu disabused me of the notion because they had hella resources (cash, land in South America, etc.). They probably had more than anyone could even guess. What did Susan Blake say about how good her son is with putting money away?

This is great news because I again completely believe they're all alive.

Because all that new information in that show leads me in one direction and only that direction: paranoid schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder.

It's more than a little curious that Summer McStay's mother has always shied away from publicity or helping publicly in the search for her daughter.

I'm not implying any involvement, obviously, and the detective on the case said he understood she was dealing with this situation in a different way than McStay's mother and brother--that it's a temperament issue.

But it could be that she knows her daughter is mentally ill, knows her patterns by now (or has promised silence to her daughter?) and does not fear for her daughter's well-being at all.

That would make sense of why she's not going on t.v. and through the media asking people to help find her daughter.

Either way, I suspect we have no idea what kind of hell these people live in. And if you have a paranoid schizophrenic (or person afflicted with BPD) with huge resources like that, the delusions could be totally indulged.

No wonder Joseph McStay is having panic attacks. Anyone who shared a paranoid schizophrenic's or person afflicted with BPD's world in an indulgent manner would probably be having hellacious panic attacks.

And I think that's what we're seeing here.

This explains the mad dashes about. It's irrational because this woman is irrational and her husband is doing everything to help keep her feeling safe.

And, unfortunately, I feel this involves his not contacting his family.

They probably don't see American television and they probably lead a very isolated existence.

I think they left the hundred thousand behind for two reasons: not to trigger a criminal investigation and to be responsible--that there would be funds for unpaid bills left behind.

I know the age of onset in schizophrenia is between 18 and 25.

That's the normal range.

(If it even is schizophrenia and not BPD) maybe she's the exception and it was a case of later onset. I was just reading some accounts of paranoid schizophrenia that presented virtually overnight and one of the people was about the age she is now. That person suddenly thought he had to flee his life.

Borderline personality disorder would probably allow the person suffering from it to have periods of relatively high functioning. And being a real estate agent you can have long "down" periods and short bursts of focused activity and still be engaging in the "career." It's not the same as a 9-5.

But maybe people covered for her. If she actually hallucinated.

I've known schizophrenics who could seem very normal for extended periods of time. Maybe she just hid the delusions and paranoia from everyone except her husband.

But Summer McStay has the traits in superabundance which line up with one or the other of those mental illnesses.

It's not something people think of much, because I did a Google search for "Summer McStay" and "schizophrenia" together and nobody seemed to even be thinking along those lines.

And I wasn't either. Until that Laura Ling documentary.

The name change thing is what makes most people (and I thought that way too) think she had to be engaged in some sort of criminal activity. We don't, as a culture, associate multiple name changes or aliases with mental illness. But apparently it's quite consistent with these two conditions.

If you Google it in conjunction with BPD, you get even more accounts of people doing this repeatedly.

And as to why nobody believes that is Joseph on the "crossing" videotape, I cite what someone commented on this blog a long time back:

June 27, 2011 10:12 PM
Anonymous said...

I think it was them going into Mexico. I think McStay cut his hair & that's why his mom didn't recognize him without his normally big hair.

I didn't believe the Merida sighting was Joseph McStay until I landed on the paranoid schizophrenia/BPD theory.

And now I believe the Merida WALMART sighting was accurate. He had shaved his head.

In the following article, note the section about the problems with identity. Summer didn't only change her name multiple times; she also even changed her ethnicity. She is of Colombian descent, but told some people she was of Italian descent, others that she was partly Asian.

And here's the intense anger to the degree that would scare a person into trying to control it. But the paranoia from the BPD (or schizophrenia) is probably keeping her away from treatment. She doesn't have the trust to enter into psychotherapy or treatment and she has an enabler and the resources to hide and avoid treatment. This is why the home births and the home schooling. I'm convinced of it. Her financial status has victimized her. If she had been poor, she (ironically) would have probably had better odds of getting treatment. I honestly believe this is exactly what this disappearance is all about

My ears also pricked up when this article talked about the person suffering from BPD demonizing others. If she irrationally believes the McStay family is evil, then she's going to make it a live or die requirement of her husband that they avoid these people.

Sometimes you love someone so much you just go right into their madness with them.

The more I look at this article, the more I think it's BPD, rather than schizophrenia. I mean look at this statement: "They tend to view the world as generally dangerous and malevolent."

Doesn't that fit her pattern of hiding and hiding her children from society?

And now it's probably progressed to the ultimate stage. Only the four of them can exist.

The world has to go away.

I completely believe now this is what happened.

It would be interesting to know if Summer McStay had ever harmed herself (been a cutter say) or made suicide attempts.

It's not the sort of things people like to divulge about family members (especially suicide attempts) but in this case I think it would be relevant.

From the Wiki article on "Borderline Personality Disorder":

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder described as a prolonged disturbance of personality function in a person (generally over the age of eighteen years, although it is also found in adolescents), characterized by depth and variability of moods.The disorder typically involves unusual levels of instability in mood; black-and-white thinking, or splitting; the disorder often manifests itself in idealization and devaluation episodes, as well as chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior; as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation.

Splitting in BPD includes a switch between idealizing and demonizing others. This, combined with mood disturbances, can undermine relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. BPD disturbances also may include self-harm. Without treatment, symptoms may worsen, leading (in extreme cases) to suicide attempts.

Signs and Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis about which many articles and books have been written, yet about which little is known based on empirical research.

Studies suggest that individuals with BPD tend to experience frequent, strong and long-lasting states of aversive tension, often triggered by perceived rejection, being alone or perceived failure.Individuals with BPD may show lability (changeability) between anger and anxiety or between depression and anxiety and temperamental sensitivity to emotive stimuli.

The negative emotional states specific to BPD may be grouped into four categories: destructive or self-destructive feelings; extreme feelings in general; feelings of fragmentation or lack of identity; and feelings of victimization.

Individuals with BPD can be very sensitive to the way others treat them, reacting strongly to perceived criticism or hurtfulness. Their feelings about others often shift from positive to negative, generally after a disappointment or perceived threat of losing someone. Self-image can also change rapidly from extremely positive to extremely negative. Impulsive behaviors are common, including alcohol or drug abuse, unsafe sex, gambling and recklessness in general. Attachment studies have revealed a strong association between BPD and insecure attachment style, the most characteristic types being "unresolved", "preoccupied", and "fearful".Evidence suggests that individuals with BPD, while being high in intimacy- or novelty-seeking, can be hyper-alert to signs of rejection or not being valued and tend toward insecure, avoidant or ambivalent, or fearfully preoccupied patterns in relationships. They tend to view the world as generally dangerous and malevolent.

Individuals with BPD are often described, including by some mental health professionals (and in the DSM-IV), as deliberately manipulative or difficult, but analysis and findings generally trace behaviors to inner pain and turmoil, powerlessness and defensive reactions, or limited coping and communication skills.There has been limited research on family members' understanding of borderline personality disorder and the extent of burden or negative emotion experienced or expressed by family members. However the effect of expressed emotion by family members may actually be opposite (paradoxical) from the anticipated effect on individuals with such illnesses as depressive disorders and schizophrenia. For BPD such effect may be neutral or positive as opposed to negative, a counter-intuitive result.

Parents of individuals with BPD have been reported to show co-existing extremes of over-involvement and under-involvement. BPD has been linked to increased levels of chronic stress and conflict in romantic relationships, decreased satisfaction of romantic partners, abuse and unwanted pregnancy; these links may be general to personality disorder and subsyndromal problems.

Suicidal or self-harming behavior is one of the core diagnostic criteria in DSM IV-TR, and management of and recovery from this can be complex and challenging.The suicide rate is approximately 8 to 10 percent. Self-injury attempts are highly common among patients and may or may not be carried out with suicidal intent.BPD is often characterized by multiple low-lethality suicide attempts triggered by seemingly minor incidents, and less commonly by high-lethality attempts that are attributed to impulsiveness or comorbid clinical depression, with interpersonal stressors appearing to be particularly common triggers. Ongoing family interactions and associated vulnerabilities can lead to self-destructive behavior.Stressful life events related to sexual abuse have been found to be a particular trigger for suicide attempts by adolescents with a BPD diagnosis.


Diagnosis is based on a clinical assessment by a qualified mental health professional. The assessment incorporates the patient's self-reported experiences as well as the clinician's observations. The resulting profile may be supported or corroborated by long-term patterns of behavior as reported by family members, friends or co-workers. The list of criteria that must be met for diagnosis is outlined in the DSM-IV-TR.

Borderline personality disorder was once classified as a subset of schizophrenia (describing patients with borderline schizophrenic tendencies). Today BPD is used more generally to describe individuals who display emotional dysregulation and instability, with paranoid ideation or delusions being only one criterion (criterion #9) of a total of 9 criteria, of which 5, or more, must be present for this diagnosis.

Individuals with BPD are at high risk of developing other psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Other symptoms of BPD, such as dissociation, are frequently linked to severely traumatic childhood experiences, which some put forth as one of the many root causes of the borderline personality.

Family members

It is common for those with borderline personality disorder and their families to feel their problems compounded by a lack of clear diagnoses, effective treatments, and accurate information. This is true especially because of evidence that this disorder originates in the families of those with it and has a lot to do with psychosocial and environmental factors (Axis IV), rather than belonging strictly in the personality disorders and mental retardation section (Axis II) of the DSM-IV construct. Conceptual, as well as therapeutic, relief may be obtained through evidence that BPD is closely related to traumatic events during childhood and to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), about which much more is known. Recovery can be faster with the help of family members and loved ones, however those involved must be trained for their assistance to have an effective impact.


Onset of symptoms typically occurs during adolescence or young adulthood. Symptoms may persist for several years, but the majority of symptoms lessen in severity over time, with some individuals fully recovering. The mainstay of treatment is various forms of psychotherapy, although medication and other approaches may also improve symptoms. Two forms of therapy in particular have been shown to be effective with BPD: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Schema Therapy. Both of these are influenced by Cognitive Behavioral therapy. While borderline personality disorder can manifest itself in children and teenagers, therapists are discouraged from diagnosing anyone before the age of 18, due to adolescence and a still-developing personality.

There are some instances when BPD can be evident and diagnosed before the age of 18. The DSM-IV states: "To diagnose a personality disorder in an individual under 18 years, the features must have been present for at least 1 year." In other words, it is possible to diagnose the disorder in children and adolescents, but a more conservative approach should be taken.

There is some evidence that BPD diagnosed in adolescence is predictive of the disease continuing into adulthood. It is possible that the diagnosis, if applicable, would be helpful in creating a more effective treatment plan for the child or teen.
[edit] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines borderline personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
Chronic feelings of emptiness
Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

Lastly, I was reading just now on message boards the incredible pain and frustration experienced by loved ones of people suffering with BPD who had suddenly just vanished out of their lives and refused to make contact.

The one site included this telling statement: "Additional Details...There are 14 pages listed at the bottom of this link I'm enclosing which shares similar situations where BPD people just vanish out of relationsips/friendships with no explanation or discussion.

And none of them were dead.

Many showed up after varying lengths of time (often long periods).

If you do searches on BPD you will see this is a common experience.

And they weren't buying land in South America for no reason.

I know they're not on that particular piece of land right now, but it means they're invested (in more than one sense) in that part of the world.

Postscript: I'm probably not making enough of the fact that Joseph McStay probably had his own reasons for indulging his wife's antisocial tendencies.

Because the American economy was tanking really bad when they disappeared.

You can keep the business in place and watch it slowly die while you throw good money after bad, or you can get the hell out of Dodge, give your wife the ultimate retreat from society she's been begging to have for years, and keep all that money and not have to declare it on income tax.

Hence the $100,000 left behind. Just in case the IRS gets cagy about any dangling finances or taxes left behind. They can plead that there is the next tax return. But if they are NOT found, they neither have to face the IRS about any money that never landed on an income tax return nor deal with the repercussions of their bankruptcy And how many years will it be until the bankruptcy clears and they don't even have to file that income tax anymore? They only have to hide what? Seven years? Ten?

And then I'm guessing they can just swoop that money up.

Because my guess is if they can last that long in hiding, there is no retroactive clause for tax evasion prosecution. Any tax attorney reading this who can tell me if that drops off a certain number of years? When you would not be prosecuted? Or does it hang? If so, they probably planned on never coming back.

These are much smarter people than most people give them credit for. They understand money completely. Both of them.

But I still stick with my claim that she's suffering from BPD and this is what contoured the relationship in the direction of the flight scenario. Because that sudden move to the new house and then the sudden abandonment indicates they were thinking another direction, but changed their plans.

You don't leave in April or even March, because that's likely to trigger "tax evasion" logic. But February 4th is just far back enough that it's not high on your list of first ideas when looking for a theory.

Suddenly, J.M. had his own surprise reasons to follow his wife's intuition--once he saw the economy going south.

And now they are living modestly and enjoying a very isolated stretch of beach and enjoying lovely dinners.

They're not lying in any ditch.

But my how their plans have been messed up by Investigation Discovery.

He had his own reasons for doing this.

You need two people willing to disappear for this to happen.

These aren't your everday middleclass Americans. Not by a longshot.

Everyday Americans don't usually own land on an island off the coast of Costa Rica.

These are two smart cookies.

But I do believe she's mentally ill and that it's borderline personality disorder.

Those people love to pull the "disappearing act." Go on a BPD message board if you don't believe me.

It drives others (family members, etc.) crazy.

But they're going to find it hard to stay hidden with the way this case is exploding through international media now.


  1. This is why I think people were covering for the McStay's during Laura's investigation. ;)

  2. I have known Summer since she was 13 and know that everything you are assuming is completely and utterly false!!!

    1. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend , and their family ... try not to let other peoples theory's bother you ... Keep the faith ,

  3. Often, people with borderline personality disorder don't know they are suffering from a mental illness. They think they are just perceiving reality in a correct way.

    In the phenomenon known as "splitting" a BPD person will suddenly (irrationally) believe a person is all good or all bad.

    I suspect this is what happened in her relationship to her in-laws. She wants no contact with them and has somehow convinced J.M. to go along with this.

    I found this online, which backs up WHY people with BPD will often change their names numerous time...or even their ethnicity. S.M. routinely changed BOTH:

    "...impaired ego integration - a diffuse and internally contradictory concept of self. Kernberg is quoted as saying, "Borderlines can describe themselves for five hours without your getting a realistic picture of what they're like."

    This is why people who had "normal" social interactions didn't see into her illness.

    It probably worsened as she reached the fourth decade of life.

    Possibly "change of life" added more stress to the mix.

    If you really are her friend (and people lie online all the time, especially anonymous people) I hope she's found.

    Even if you're not her friend I hope she's found.

    But I don't think she's dead. I don't think any of them are dead.

    They are just living with a serious mental illness in their lives and behaving irrationally because this mental illness is being indulged and not treated.

    Many people with mental illness have no clue that they have one. They think this is just how "life is."

    I've been in that position myself.

    BPD people disappear all the time. And they aren't found until they want to be found usually.

    I totally believe they're alive.

  4. This reminds me of my Sister. One day I got a call that she had stopped calling her Son, we searched places (Morgue, Arrest list, friends, etc)for 2 weeks. Then, all of a sudden a month later she contacted her Son. Acting like disappearing from everyone was normal.

    My sister likes to "run" when things are becoming stressful to her. Thinking that changing her surroundings will help.

    Life is not an easy and simple family movie.

  5. Hi TvWatcher.

    Hope your sister's doing much better now.

    I'm sure people went through hell when she did that.

    And I agree: "Life is not an easy and simple family movie." Hell naw it ain't!

    I feel almost guilty for only being able to equate her many name changes with criminality. I used to call them "The McShady family."

    But that's because I was going by the facts available then, which pointed that direction.

    But now that it appears their money was earned legitimately and they are (from all appearances) good people, I really think it's mental illness.

    Her changing her name consistently, her ethnicity, her age by 12 years.

    Totally points to BPD type problems with fragmentation of identity.

    And those people just take off, quite often.

    I think she just wants to feel safe. And he wants her to feel safe.

    But I doubt she feels safe, wherever they are down that way.

    Oddly enough, a lot of sites said that BPD is probably more amenable to talking theory than it is to drugs sometimes.

    I'm glad they ran that documentary. Because before that--I really thought J.M. was probably dead and S.M. was with some psycho.

    I don't buy the C.I.A. operatives or any of those outlandish theories. That house was checked and clean. I can see why people thought (sudden flight). But it was probably a decline in mental health and "giving up" on things. That house's interior totally looked like dysfunctionality and mental illness.

    Thanks for your comments.

  6. This case is fascinating! My question is why do we not know more about Summer or Joseph's past? What about her first marriage? Did the first husband notice any mental illness? What about his first marriage? Where did she grow up? There is not a lot of information about their past! What about their current friends and business dealings? I would think more people would have something to say, people who knew or worked with them. Very strange!

  7. Dear Commenter, Agreed. But in general investigations don't usually feel knowin the distant past of people helps all that much. They tend to focus on the present or near past. But I agree with you that it's a little curious we're not hearing from more people. I think it just underscores what is already a notable fact in the case--how insular these people were. Well, actually, I think it was Summer who was the one who felt she needed to hide. I really do think she suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. Probably she didn't even know she had it. That can actually be typical. Even for intelligent people, and she's clearly very intelligent. But either all those aliases are suspicious (criminality) or they're mental illness. I can't think of any other reason on earth. Or why you'd change you're ethnicity and age all the time. But it's classic BPD behavior. You never really know a BPD person unless you live with them 24-7. I don't think Joseph shared these tendencies at all. One of the last things before disappearance we know of him doing was going to his kids' soccer game. So even though Summer hid, I don't think her kids suffered from her mental illness (it affected her and her social relations alone is my guess...and maybe put stress on Joseph). But I believe they both love each other very much, I believe they are in this together, and I believe they are keeping their kids safe. And I would NOT have said that before the last documentary. But everything fell into place for me with that. And Joseph had his own reasons to flee. The economy was flatlining right then. It might not have been the most rational thing to do, but I suspect they've been living with irrationality for a very long time. I don't think any of them (or their family) are "bad people." The McStays just got desperate. A lot of people got deseperate at that stage in the economy's collapse. But most of us didn't have the money to flee to another country, a border very near us, or even the flexibility to restructure our lives and do something that drastic. I feel they did. And I'll do you my intutition: Joseph is talking to his 15 year old son or told him his plans. I haven't seen that kid anywhere in the media and by all accounts Joseph loved him to death. So I don't believe he would leave him hanging. But I think he did leave the others hanging. For whatever reasons. They're not going to tell you if there's any bad blood. Or else he just underestimated how much they loved him. Either way.

  8. I agree that Summer may be bipolar, that would explain the lack of friends coming out and talking about her and the case. The search of passports to Mexico and buying the program to learn Spanish seem like things to throw everyone off track. I think if they did disappear on their own they are somewhere other than mexico. The answer could be that they just ran out to pick something up or get something to eat and were car jacked and robbed and killed. I heard somewhere that Joey was known to carry a lot of cash or could have been carrying a lot of cash. Those people may not have been them walking over the border. It could have taken those 4 days for whoever killed them to ditch the car.
    I heard the bridge area where their cell phones were last pinged by was never checked? Why would that area never be checked for their bodies? I bothers me that when they found the car they said there could not be anyone else in the backseat of the car because the tupperware container with medicine in it would have been knocked over, could someone just pick it up if it was knocked over? That seems weird! Lots of questions about this case!

  9. When I saw a program on the McStays for the first time about 3 weeks ago, this was EXACTLY my theory. Well said!

  10. Hi. Dear Commenters, thanks for your thoughts and words.

    If you go to the top of my blog and scroll down, you'll see the BIG news that Patrick McStay (Joseph's father) is now a wanted fugitive. New Orleans' D.A.'s office wants him extradited from wherever.

    And I just got a comment on another post (as yet unverified) that the McStays are now listed as VOLUNTARILY MISSING adults by the Department of Justice.

    After that documentary, I totally believed they were all alive (not just three of them).

    I'm guessing the government knows exactly where they are now, despite their best efforts.

    But there might not even be any crimes they committed.

    Or some case might not be prepared fully yet where they're ready to extradite.

    But they could be completely innocent.

    Maybe the McStays got tired of the pressure and just "phoned in" and said "We're alive. Stop the search."

    I need to read more and see if this is just breaking online.

  11. Oh...and one clarification.

    My theory is that Summer McStay suffers from borderline personality disorder.

    Not bipolar disorder, which I live with.

    They're very different.

    Bipolar disorder is more about mood swings. We generally don't have any problem with "fragmentation of identity."

    BPD people do deal with that.

    It must feel awful. To have to keep running and hiding, changing your identity.

  12. Thanks for clarifying about the difference between bipolar and borderline perssonality disorder. And WOW! What news about his dad, guess all we can do is wait and see should be interesting!

  13. I have been doing a lot of research since becoming interested in this case a few days ago. Thanks so much for your insight and opinion, esp. regarding your theory that Summer suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. It is certainly plausible that it all "blew up" the night of Feb 4th and suddenly then enacted Plan C or D or E. That something triggered an event makes the hasty retreat noteworthy.

    I also believe that they threw their phones away while leaving and the area of the bridge is where the phones landed. Thus, the phones continued to receive texts in that area until both ran out of juice. It's off the beaten path, and I'm sure if there were mental illness driving them out of their home and lives that they would NOT take I-15 to San Ysidro. They would take back roads there. They would stay in small hotels or in their Trooper on the way. To hide, they would take their time. They would value stealth over speed.

    That's the mental illness theory.

    I just can't think of another reason that the family would leave abruptly with no trace. I mean, even if I had forgotten that we were supposed to meet a Craigslist seller and I said to my husband, quick, we've got to meet Mr. X, let's go! I'd still find time to put eggs back in the fridge. I would still find time to throw away a dirty diaper. Now, I might leave the boys' popcorn bowls out on the couch for when we came back, and the dogs outside for the few minutes we were to be gone.

    It was dark when they left, were lights left on? Was the tv on? Do we know?

    Why hasn't the family or families organized a search of the cell tower area?

    What do they know that they're not telling the media, or the police?

    This is the most curious case I have ever encountered. It's one thing for a person to slip away, but an entire family? Strange.

  14. Hi Cat. The answer to one of your questions is somewhere on this blog on another post I made but rather than search for it, I'll just tell you here. (Oh, and thanks for your comment and careful thinking on this baffling mystery!) You asked about why they didn't search this area. On the McStay family website, it says the military was going to use a drone plane to scan that area. Those planes can scan every square inch of large areas and have had notable success with locating bodies in past cases (both dead and alive). So if there was a body there (let alone four) they would probably have been found. Unless that drone search didn't take place. It was definitely planned so I'm assuming they followed through. We probably didn't hear much about the results since nothing was found--or we would have heard a lot more about that aerial search in that Bonsall area you're referring to (the last cell phone pings and the ones that lingered). It sure looks like they were pulled over to make plans or finalize details via the phone with the business associate or (darker possibility) meeting something there. Or possibly even sleep? We just don't know.

    The mental illness theory I tend to lean towards is just that. But either all those aliases point to criminality or they point to mental illness.

    Another fact I learned recently that again points me in the direction of Borderline Personality Disorder with Summer is the fact that she had no dental records. And someone who works in the field said that is highly unusual for a woman over the age of forty. But then what's ordinary about telling people you're 32 when you're 43, telling people you're Asian (and sometimes Italian) when you're of Colombian extraction and having six to eleven different names (different accounts)?

    Either she's hella shady or it's mental illness.

    Or both (unlikely).

    But those two possibilities are worlds apart.

    If people know Summer suffers from mental illness (you'd expect to see past suicide attempts with BPD, most likely) you'd think they might want to mention that so people might breathe a sigh of relief that this is just normal human irrationality (this disappearance) and not something much darker--meaning something criminal perpetrated by or against the McStay family.

    I really do believe they're all alive.

    But I didn't for the longest time.

    I kept thinking they were all alive except for Joseph McStay.

    But after that last documentary I think they are all alive.

    But they're going to have a hell of a hard time hiding now because this case has totally gone viral and international.

    I now get nearly as many people visiting this blog from South America as I do from the United States.

    So that means they're going to be found if they're down that way.

    Many think they went that direction to fool people.

    And that they might have even re-entered the U.S. or gone a different direction altogether (say Europe or something).

    We'll probably only know when we know.

    As the French say, Nous verrons ce que nous verrons.

  15. The only theory on this case which makes sense is the BPD scenario..

  16. So, they could have taken the 15 for a straight shot towards San Diego, though 4 days and that their cell phones pinged off the 76, his "long beach road" is that what he called it back towards PCH, their old stomping grounds San Clemente to the right (and city where his business was located?) or like Carlsbad to the left towards San Diego/Border seems like maybe eventually the 5 (or a reason to go in that direction anyway?) Not a long enough drive to require one the need to pull over for sleep off the 76. Doesn't seem likely they were camping out in their car 4 days? Ditching or made to ditch phones? When is it theorized that the cell phones were possibly left in that last location pinged from, around the same time of his last cell call made approximately an hour after the SUV left the home? The old bridge off an exit of the 76, visible from the highway with the tower that their cells pinged off in the foreground? Did she buy bags from (Ross?) that day. Backpacks, beach bags? Were they located in the car, the home, or couldn't be determined?

  17. I don't really agree with your tax evasion theory with the February pre-tax due date less likely departure.

    Business returns are due earlier than personal, so that the benefactors of the business can file their returns accurately with the business information. What type of businesses were they? Also, usually tax returns can be extended to August with the filing of a simple form. And even after that, it would take potentially years if ever for the IRS to take action if they weren't filed or inspect the return without specific trigger. Hell, it took the IRS a year to process one of my returns (we won't talk about that headache).

    After that, there is a 10 year statute of limitations. However, that 10 year goes from the last action, whether it's the taxpayer filing, the IRS assessing the return, or last payment, which can include payment from a lien.

    I would be curious to the structure of their businesses. That would probably shed more light on whether there was a potential tax issue. But even then, with that much money in the bank, there would have been definite options besides fleeing the country.

    The mental illness issue seems highly plausible. I also thought it was weird that Summer had so many different aliases, and it was sort of glossed over. And their pasts weren't really mentioned at all. Normally documentary pieces on E go well into "he was a boy that was raised in the surf of ...." for at least 5 minutes.

    I do think they tossed their phones off the bridge.

  18. Hey Marie here,
    ummm just saying reading all these comments makes me think you guys bring up really good points but i honestly think that summer and the 2 kids are still alive but i find it hard to believe that Joseph Mcstay is alive because it seemed so hard to believe as far as the case goes with Mcstay's dad well what happened with that, is there any info on it or maybe any more depth to it?

  19. Hi Marie.

    P.M. was extradited as a fugitive from Texas to Louisiana and then he made his bond and was freed.

    I should stress his problems seem to be money-related, possible financial misdoings.

    It could be related to his son's (and family's) disappearance or it could have absolutely zero to do with that.

    He's created a site to help in the search for his family.

    Allegedly, he's been critical of the way law enforcement's handled the case.

    I tend to agree with you that Summer and the kids are alive and in hiding.

    I think about 90% of me believes Joseph McStay is also alive, but there is that 10% of doubt that he might have been killed that first night of the disappearance.

    Thanks for your comment.

  20. Hi William,
    I've done quite a bit of research on this story and your BPD theory is the first theory that has struck a chord with me and makes sense. I've always thought there was something shady about Summer but leaned toward criminal behavior. The mental illness theory makes absolute sense and coincides with her strange behavior.

    Have you seen the E! show with Lisa Ling? There's a quick home video shot of the McStay's driving onto into their new neighborhood (taken from inside their car and shooting the new neighborhood) and you can hear Summer say, "I can't do this," referring to not being able to "do" the new neighborhood, it seems. I know this is a small point, but I've watched the video twice and her reaction to their new neighborhood struck me as quite odd. This little blip (along with her other strange behavior- name changes, age, etc) caused me to do a Google search and I found your mental illness theory. Thanks for providing a pretty solid theory that makes sense.

  21. Very plausible that SM suffers from BPD. I hope she sees your blog. No one in her family, even her mother has said anything. I think it's very likely they, or at least her mother, know that there is something off with Summer and don't want to make her mad by talking, but I think they know she's alive.

    I am not sure why families put up with this type of selfish behavior. I will bet that Summer's disappearance was not surprising to her family at all. Her behavior was in their face all her years. The least they can do is offer some information to the McStays to help them feel a little better. But I guess selfishness runs in that (Summer or whatever the name is) family. I am really p'd off by this.

    I am still not confident that Joseph McStay is still alive. More likely Summer and the kids.

  22. This might seem a little off-topic but I don't know where else to discuss this just a little.

    Does anyone ever wonder, where stolen kids go? I'm sure a good number stay alive. So, when they are 18, 21, 25, 35, 47, etc, maybe have been told they were adopted, maybe don't have a birth cert, notice that they don't look like other family, do they try and look for themselves? Children who disappeared 10, 15, 20 years ago, are now late teens, 20's, even 30's. Definitely old enough to be on their own, old enough to look for answers, old enough to demand answers and old enough to care for someone who loved them and still misses them.

    What about those kids we hear might have been sold into sexual slavery? I doubt they are still there at 20 or 30 years of age. They read the same stories we do, so they know that that lifestyle is out of the norm. If there were droves of children in sexual slavery, surely, one of them would have escaped by now and told their story later in life. Why do we never hear of this happening?

    I wonder about these things because they don't seem to make sense of how human beings behave. Humans survive, they live to tell a story. Why is there none here? They can’t all be dead.

  23. Hi JGenie. Re your not so "off topic" discussion of child slaves or people who survive sex trafficking, I would imagine the vast majority of books written on the subject are from a sociological or criminilogical perspective. I imagine a lot of people want to "get past" such experiences in their lives (if they even survive) and that there might be issues of (unwarranted) shame, etc.

    I'm sure if you Google this you will find some first person modern equivalents of yesteryear's "captivity narrative."

    And I'm sure they're horrifying.

    Why I don't believe the McStay children were trafficked or that that's what this case is about, we're constantly reminded by these true crime shows that kidnapping and sexual trafficking aren't just third world problems but happen here repeatedly.

    on ID, on the one episode of DISAPPEARED, the bipolar woman from my neck of the woods (Lancaster, PA--Toni...forget her last name...maybe Sharpless?) they had speculated when her car was found in a rough part of Camden (NJ) that she might have been forced into such an "existence."

    It's horrible to imagine such a thing exists anywhere but in the (formerly?) richest country on the face of the earth, what possible excuse could we have for not making any effort to stamp this out.

    I would point out you also don't hear a lot of heavy sentences for anyone involved in actually conducting human trafficking.

    I think it should be a mandatory life sentence, personally.

    But then I also don't see the point of keeping serial killers alive and spending enough money on each one of them annually that we could keep like four American families fed, housed, clothed, etc.

    You'll never reclaim a human being from a serial killer. At best, you might stop them from killing again.

  24. Hi Liz and Anonymous Commenter below Liz...

    Thanks. It's just one of the theories I have entertained re Summer McStay's pronounced tendencies to hide and seemingly not exist in many public databases, etc.

    I go back and forth. Sometimes, I think Borderline Personality Disorder is a real possibility. Other times, I lean in the direction of criminality and the idea that she (or someone she was involved with) had her husband killed.

    If J.M. died, I think it's fairly certain he died that first night of the family disappearance, probably killed right in that Bonsall area.

    And then Summer and the kids went their way, with either some "other man" or a mere escort to lead her through the tricky world of Mexico (and beyond?)

    I'm convinced that is Summer and the kids on the "crossing" video.

    I don't know if it's Joseph in that video.

    It could very well be.

    He could have altered his appearance and videotape like that can play strange tricks on the eyes, even when enhanced. Sometimes you just get strange distortions and misperceptions of things like height and even outline, etc.

    You'd think if S.M. were a criminal she would have slipped up at least a few times before her fourth decade of life and we would have heard about it.

    Maybe one of the most outlandish theories is actually correct and these people had double lives as agents for our government--or another government.

    I mean I don't rule anything else.

    But I don't think that would explain all the things that do look like mental illness.

    If you work in a field like that you have to be so sharp.

    And the weird stuff like calling fro that medicine "Anger" and all the kids' playhouses inside the house, and the Spanish language c.d.s and searching on your own home computer for the passport requirements in Mexico...all that stuff is sloppy, amateurish, etc. if we try to see one or both of the McStays as "secret agents" etc.

    I'm still not convinced the U.S. government doesn't know exactly where they are.

    Because I tend to think they would have updated their status from "Voluntary Missing" at this point.

    I tend to think that's a BIG clue the government is giving us that the McStays might not be such a mystery after all.

    Because you can go missing and government will not "out" you if they don't have reason to extradite you or something like that.

    Just because you're family wants to know where you are or if you're alive unfortunately "doesn't count."

    And if there's bad blood (or mental illness causing a rift) there simply might not be the desire to communicate.

  25. Hi. Correction for the comment I made to Marie.

    A commenter on another McStays post on this blog corrected me about P.M. having made bail. I had taken that "on faith" from a previous commenter.

    But according to this commenter...

    "Just an update:

    PM has not been released on bond. An additional case has been filed and he is listed as a fugitive with this case as well, which is New Orleans. The original case was Bossier Parish.

    He will be back in court today on motions hearings and has a court appointed attorney."

  26. While the poster offers an interesting analyis of Summer McStay's mental illness, sometimes the most simplest explanation is often the correct one.

    If that were in fact the McStays on video crossing into Mexico, they apparently were planning only a short visit (probably only a day trip), as evidenced by their lack of baggage. I used to take at least a backpack on day trips to Mexico, and children require a lot of supplies. The most simplest explanation is that Joseph was chasing a business lead that required his immediate departure into Mexico, and he brought the family along (for perhaps a day trip), and they met their fate there. Summer's alleged mental illness doesn't explain their disappearance, but may have just created the perfect storm. A rational and responsible wife and mother likely would've told her husband not to go to Mexico and would have refused to go along with the children.

    I don't buy the paranoia scenario so much. Summer may have been mentally ill and/or paranoid, but I highly doubt a rational and sane man such as Joseph would allow his wife's paranoia to uproot their lives, leave everything behind, including $100k and medication, and flee to a foreign country with NO RESOURCES. She couldn't have had that much control over him. Just a few days without resouces and crying and exhauasted children would've prompted Joseph to come to his senses and turn around and go home or call his family.

    I don't buy the theory that the McStays wanted to disappear either. People are that self-absorbed or paranoid to fake their disappearance are also too selfish and short-sighted to be that responsible and think about leaving behind $100k to take of their business or pay their bills. One action contradicts the other. Rubbish.

    Again, I propose that they left willingly and suddenly, expecting only to be gone a short time, and unexpectedly met their fate in Mexico, whether it was an act of random violence or a business deal gone bad. The real mystery is what the McStay's were doing, where they were, and what they were living off of for the 4 days prior to their crossing into Mexico. I suppose authorities checked for credit card activity for those 4 days and checked local motel logs?

    1. Yes, this sounds more like it. i live in Europe, and what i will tell you is going to sound strange, but I have been feeling really really close to this family, since its disappearance two years ago, and not so long ago i started thinking about them just out of the blue, really intensely. i have psychic abilities, by that means that I can sense life and death and i had at times very accurate clear visions of the future, that came true just as i envisaged them. not so long ago, to be more precise, within the last 48 h, i had started to concentrate on the mental environment of these people, because out of the blue i felt compelled to do it. i started trying to sense if they were still alive, and what happened is that i got a vision of Joseph slumped in a deep chair, looking down at the floor, and with his hair and clothes in disarray, I got the feeling that he was very very sad and trying to pass the message that he was the only one who was not in this world anymore. i have a very clear sense that he is dead and that the woman and the kids are still somewhere. i am trying to ask Joseph to tell me what happened but so far the only thing i can feel clearly is that he is dead.
      i think this story is much much more complicated than meets the eye and indeed summer is carrying much of the responsibility.

  27. Have you entertained the idea that Summer was connected to some sort of Columbian mafia in her past, hence the reason for name, age changes? And perhaps the entire McStay family didn't know anything about it? Summer changed her ethnicity, her age, her name, has a fake birth certificate to back up her fake age. Why? This is not normal behavior and is definitely not "typical American family" behavior.

    And why is Summer's family so quiet?

    What if Summer was in hiding (either of her own volition or in a program) but was found by people from her past. Summer clearly, almost obsessively, wanted the "white picket fence" life and was very controlling of her family. She made it a point to immerse herself in becoming "Suzy homemaker."

    It's possible that her past caught up with her and J.M was killed that first night (and possibly Summer) and the children were taken. The family is "90% positive" those are the kids in the survellience video, but not necessarily Summer or Joey. Because why kill the kids?

    And the waiter in Mexico recognized the kids, but not the parents. Same with the Walmart lady.

    I don't know... I just can't believe that Summer's name changes, lies about age, FAKE birth certicate, have nothing to do with this. Perhaps Summer recently had to tell Joey about her previous life, hence his failing health and stress. She knew she was found and started doing Google searches on passports to get her family the hell out of dodge.

    Regardless of the details, I'm convinced the answers lie with Summer.

  28. Thanks for your thoughtful reading of the points of the case.

    Colombian mafia? Who knows?

    I'm not sure whether I believe the name changes indicate criminality or borderline personality disorder.

    The other traits you, I and many others have noticed and mentally underscored (her reclusiveness, apparent control issues, etc.) could also be serious mental illness--she particularly fits the pattern of borderline personality disorder (or much less likely--paranoid schizophrenia).

    Borderline personality people do all the things Summer did, that 99.9% of people do not.

    But then so do criminals.

    Some studies indicate that borderline personality disorder and criminal behavior are linked. Some theorists seem to almost consider BPD related to sociopathy--BPD people can do seriously jarring things that go completely against the grain of conventional social behavior, etc. And sometimes these are criminal things. Sometimes not.

    Her identity issues really make me wonder if it might be BPD (I did a post on this elsewhere on this blog) and it might not be a matter of criminality at all.

    Because you'd expect a career criminal to get caught more than once by the fourth decade of life.

    There are a lot of things that look like mental illness in this case (the move and abandonment, the state of the house's interior, her behavior and comments on the YouTube video).

    BPD people can appear very high-functioning and "normal" from the outside.

    But inside a marriage I'm sure it's a tempest from Hell.

  29. I to am convinced the answers lie with Sommer.
    For all the coverage on a missing family of four, why have'nt the police been more involved in the media coverage. His brother Mike seems to speak for everyone, I thought it was strange in the E special, not one detective was interviewed, not one family member on Sommers side of the family. Who was the mysterious stranger knocking on the door while Sommer was on the phone and what time of night was it? Also Mike Mcstays says the police have viewed his financils and all money seems to be accounted for, he would have had to have stashed alot for a family of four.The more they interviewed raises more questions than answers, I find it strange his ex since they have a son together isnt saying anything. Whats your thoughts on why the dogs werent taken or even plied with food or water for days.

  30. If the police needed infomration, they might use the media. But what is known (or what they are willing to share) is already out there in the media. Massively. Summer's family's reticence is disturbing. But her sister did appear on the original DISAPPEARED episode devoted to the the vanishing McStays. No answer has ever been given or theory advanced that I've seen as to who was at the door that night. I think they knew the dogs would be taken care of. And they guessed correctly on that. Plus, if you're deliberately leaving your life behind to live as expatriates in hiding, you're not going to be able to take the dogs. I think it's either serious mental illness or else it's Summer and the kids with a different man and Joseph died that first night out by Bonsall. I'd go 99% certain that Summer and those kids are alive. With Joseph, I might go as high as 90%. I have about 10% doubt that he might have been set up to be killed that night. But only about that much doubt. I really think they're all alive. We don't know what bad blood there might be between the family or whether J.M. is indulging some mental illness of S.M.'s (if this is the casse, I think it's borderline personality disorder since she shows all the signs). I'm not completely convinced our government doesn't know where they are and just respecting their desire to remain "missing." Because I think it's odd that the government still has them listed as "Voluntary Missing." The adults, anyway. I completely believe that's Summer and the kids in the border crossing video. Even with the 100,000 plus people that cross each day. Because the proximity of the vehicle, the visual appearance with the Ugg boots and the kids' distinctive headwear, the timing most of all relative to when the family vehicle was abandoned/towed. But I'm not sure if that's Joseph in the video. Possibly his silhouette looks wrong to people who know him because he had shaved his head (as the witness in an alleged Mexico sighting avowed). And grainy video can do weird things sometimes with images. Sometimes people simply don't look like themselves on those things. But the constellation of the four and everything else matching up timewise is just too great a coincidence for me. Even if you had one hundred women wearing those Ugg boots in that timeframe--I bet when you narrow that down to a woman that height with two other kids it drops down to only a handful of people-and then narrow it down to the right ages and sizes for the kids--and you might end up with only one group of people in that time frame fitting that description. Just not sure that's Joseph. Sure hope it is. Thanks for your comment and input.

  31. This was shown on tv in New Zealand last night! I hope they are ok and have just skipped the country for whateva reason, but if so how could you put your family through that! Would like to know who was knocking at the door when summer was in the phone with her mother in law?

  32. Okay, so we have a few theories. A woman with mental illness. Are we to believe that she has been a functioning person with no clue as to a sudden departure, I argue she would not have planned the perfect disapperance, you simply don't take your kids shopping for new toys and leave them(toys) behind, nor do you leave your medicine in the car, as was the case with Joseph, I suffer from panic attacks and would NEVER leave my medicine, nor would Sommer leave behind her prescription sunglasses. There would have been telltale signs from behavior until the disapperance.The dogs would have at least enough food until someone came to check on them.
    You don't feed the kids popcorn one day and decide,"Oh it's time to leave this life behind and start fresh."Let alone start making your new house your new HOME!!Taking on painting projects etc.

    Theory two, the family is not in witness protection, if that were the case, they would not have been talking to family members on a regular basis, Joseph had the business for a period of time. Witness protection does not work that way.
    I also don't believe she was cheating on her husband, once again, cell phone records and her com

    puter would have told the tale there.
    What I do believe is life for the Mcstays was going along and at 7:47 the Mcstays went to go about their lives and came to a fateful tradgedy, in regards as to what, I don't have a guess, could be, someone wanted the kids, robbery, or who knows.
    While i know a lot of people fall into dependant relationships with sick, alcoholic, abusive people, I do not believe that is the case with Joe. Crimes that are never explained as to motive happen every single minute around the world.
    THe answer could lie with the individual who was helping with the painting, could be the business partner, what would he have gained with having Joseph out of the way?
    If Sommer was truly mentally ill, why has'nt her family let the media know?
    Feb, 4 is coming soon, and I would pray that all their loved ones left behind find the answers and closure.

  33. You ask about the business partner. I saw this tonight on the site Websleuths. Let's keep in mind the source is allegedly P.M. (who was recently extradited as a fugitive from Texas to Louisiana for felony charges).

    But still. Troubling if true.

    I've posted elsewhere on this site some troubling things I found about D.K. just looking online very casually.

    The set-up here: After the McStays disappeared D.K. apparently sold the company and P.M. asks here...with what right and what legality?

    "Probably because the company was SOLD by DK (unauthorized and possibly illegally as I understand) to someone he (DK) owed a great deal of money to. Wonder why that wasn't discussed in the E piece? One of the many reasons for Mr. PM's frustration with the media and LE.

    MOO of course...based on information I have gathered from PM"

    (source: Websleuths)

  34. I stumbled upon your website in searching for more info about the McStays. At first I thought that they might be in witness protection, due to Summer's past and several name changes, but after reading your posts find the BPD theory a more plausible reason for the quick disappearance.

    I am confused by the grainy unclear video of the border crossing, This is the best they have?. I find it hard to believe that they only have video from one security camera. I have never been to this border crossing, but would imagine that there would be many cameras all throughout the area. What about when they would show documentation to cross over into Mexico, wouldn't that also be on camera? Was anyone interviewed that worked at the border, to see if they remembered the McStays? How about the cameras on the Mexican side, this should show their faces as they are walking into Mexico. If this is the only video they have of them, which I find hard to believe, can't it somehow be enhanced to see if it is really the family. I somehow feel that there might be more info from the border that is being withheld. I might expect to see an unclear grainy video of a family walking into a McDonald's at night, but this is our border with Mexico, where I would expect that they have the most advanced high tech cameras available.

  35. Hi. Believe it or not that IS the enhanced video you're seeing. It's actually much worse before enhancement. And that's the only one right there. None on the Mexican side, believe it or not. One show explicitly stated that. It could very well be all four of them. I've always believed that was Summer and the kids (the distinctive Ugg boots and the kids's somewhat unusual hats, and most importantly, the timing and proximity to the abandoned vehicle). I think it's quite possible J.M. just doesn't look like himself on the video but it is still him. Those aren't always the best quality images. Others have pointed out if the Merida (Mexico) sighting was real his head was shaved there and it might have already been shaved here, pre-crossing, obviously giving him a vastly different shadow profile. Thanks for your thoughts and the comment.

  36. I really wish these discovery, etc. shows did a better job reporting. Just because their families say they were just a "normal happy family" is just one example of complete inaccuracies! Both Joseph and Summer were not at all normal or typical, and so their whole life is puzzling to figure out. But I can't believe they have alluded all cameras,police, etc. as to their whereabouts since Feb. 4.
    This is an absolutely fascinating case.

  37. MY mother has BPD. I have no tolerance for her idiotic behavior. Good riddance to her !. I have not spoken to her in 3 years and it has made my life much better. I am in my 40's and I should have done it 20 years ago. The mental disorder destroys families. In a a nutshell almost all people with this disorder are selfish

    1. I have a sister with BPD, also. My mother never discussed her 'issues' with me, except to tell me "you don't understand." My sister once told me she is always right, and her friends don't know how to deal with her because of it. Needless to say, we're estranged now. I do understand where you're coming from.

  38. I had a friend with it and I too felt it best eventually to break off communication (she did it first but it was playing games with my caring about her). I'm getting too old to continually start over again from zero which is what you seemingly have to do with these people. I try to have empathy for her position since I suffer from a different condition, bipolar disorder, and have aggravated many people myself because of my dysfunctional behavior in the past. So I don't judge her for what she has to live with and feel bad she was dealt these cards. But I think we are just terrible for each other--as you got tired of feeling shitty. It's a shame it had to be your mother. That has to make it much harder. I hope you do work it out though. Because people die and that is your only mom. Maybe if you could set "new rules" so she would understand what was acceptable and wasn't--like starting only with email or something (if she has it). Some insulating distance. I recently read that often the irrational behavior and the pushing away behavior these people do is really rooted in their horrible fear of rejection--and that it is usually rooted in cruel treatment of them when they were children--or else great emotional distance towards them during childhood. I have seen some borderline people do engage in seriously scary criminal behavior (I'm not sure how linked that is). But if that were an element that would be really scary. Even when they're not engaging in criminal behavior, I know they do tend to flout social norms and normal protocols of behavior. People who have commented here have talked about their awful tendency to need constant attention (and to turn ugly when they don't get it). This might be a reaction to the early rejection/neglect they experienced. Sad lives I'm sure. I have my plate full with bipolar but I'm grateful I wasn't dealt borderline...because I consider that a much harsher sentence. They seem to even lack a stable sense of identity...which must feel awful.

  39. I wonder if she could see herself as other see her if it would make a difference and help her want to change. Even dealing with bipolar disorder personally (and not borderline) I was horrified when I eventually was able to go back and look at many of the things I said to people. It's made me much more reticent to begin communication with anyone but that tactic has also drastically limited the damage (verbal not physical, mind you) I might have inflicted on people had I not eventually taken inventory and gone back over my actions. Of course, I can't change the past and sometimes even an apology to someone will seem self-serving or like you're returning to bother someone again. I know people tend to make more of an effort reconnecting with families but I honestly have no idea how I would feel in your shoes. I might feel the exact same way and want to just stop the damage.

  40. I feel compelled to state my opinion real quick. First of all, my mother has BPD... severe. There is NO way possible for a mother to have it and it not affect her children. She'd either abuse both or one would be a scape goat and the other the golden child. I am also diagnosed with BPD and not one book, article or shrink has ever said it was curable, quite the opposite. It can be managed however but nearly always get worse with age without treatment. I will say BPD mother's can and will do some of the most f*cked up things imaginable. My mother tried to kidnap my eldeSt n I decided to leave state. My Gma has told me of many times my mother just disappeared for years. The closest of family n friends can have No clue the person has BPD. The child who is the golden child will even refuse to believe in the abuse. I got diagnosed at 23 so it was caught early. Had to, I had three kids who I wasn't being good enough to. Sorry for the huge back story there but just did it to try n show experience with this illness. I do think she could have BPD... quite possible. Even so it also means she could very likely have killed JM or had it done cuz BPDs can turn emotions off on a loved one instantaneously and believe she's totally justified. If it's true she has this, those kids are going to suffer like u can't imagine and grow up terrified of the outside world and ppl, trust no one,an have a fractured self image. As they ag theyd be highly unlikely to turn their mom in or do anything against her until and if they are able to know that mom is doing something wrong. Many never break away. Its too scary. As a mom, though, i so truly hope these kids are found and safe.
    Oh n u can show them video of themselves behaving in the most depraved manor for any reason and they will deny it's them, feel justified, or whatever. No matter the proof. Until they can see for themselves that they aren't well and are willing to get help, nothing anyone does is gna make them think that ur right n they're not.

  41. Hi. K.M. Thanks for sharing this. I'm very sorry you've had to deal with this. It sounds as though you're very self-aware and that you have made the best of a very bad genetic deal of the cards. I hope you and yours continue to be well! Thanks for pointing out how this illness (or another form of mental illness) could really be the explanation for what on the surface seems so unexplainable.

  42. No problem. No reason to say sorry. I just pretend I'm more 'colorful' than others. LOL. I was wondering if she's ever been a self mutilater, or if she engadged in risky behaviors like drugs, heavy drinking, unsafe and loose sex, etc. Most, if not all, BPD's do one or more of those. Plus, JM would need to have a mental illness as well to be able to be with her, wether it's something miner like being an enabler (which is what my step dad is) or many are with narcissists. 'Normal' guys will NOT be able to deal with a BPD for very long at all.The name changes, the lying, the paranoia all fit BPD, but it could also be a Bipolar/schitzoaffective disorder. PPL with that combo tend to have loose and conditional attatchments to others and could drop a spouse for another in a heartbeat at all costs.

  43. Reportedly, JM was having horrible panic attacks. I think also asthma. But I wonder how much the breathing difficulties might have been part of the panic attacks themselves. This seems to have been a fairly recently decline in his health. I have one friend who speculates Summer was poisoning him slowly. But these symptoms could be the stress of living with someone with severe mental illness who made insane demands all the time about things like these sudden movies. Colorful is a good thing to be. Yeah, the types of BPD behavior you mention would be the sorts of things I'm sure we would not get told in the press coverage simply because it would probably be seen to be "irrelevant," "invasive of privacy" or both. But it would not surprise me. The way she hid so well.

  44. IMO, if she had BPD symptoms, we wouldnt be told cuz 99% of her family and friends wouldnt know. Plus, the chances would be very very high that her mother, as well as many siblings, would have BPD as well.

  45. I think the poisoning is a good possibility. I do find it odd that the in-laws didn't seem to know much about Summer's background or really care at all before this happened. I mean lying about a few years of age is one thing but she claimed to be over a decade younger than she really is, and it's not like it is believable either. When I saw the show on E! she definitely looks to be in her 40s (taking the California sun into consideration) but the mom-in-law was completely shocked to find out her age. Summer's mom does seem to be a little off in the fact that she isn't as apparent in the media which would make sense with the mental disorder theory because both disorders the person is fully self-absorbed. Knowing well how the disorders manifest I would say if she had either disorder it's more likely for her to have disappeared on her own as opposed to convincing hubby to go with her. His recent bout of health issues could have been a coincidence. Yes with BPD her mom and other family members may not have noticed anything but to be in her 40s and nobody in her life think something was "off", even if they didn't notice at first but with the disappearance it's odd not to think back and think of possible encounters that would explain the disappearance. Yes her immediate family may not notice anything but if she was "splitting" him from his parents and family the mother in law wouldn't paint such a neat picture of their relationships. If a person suffers from BPD or any mental disorder for that matter, they are more suceptible to stress. With having two children it's unlikely throughout the two pregnancies,post-partum hormones, stresses of being a new mom, having a toddler while pregnant with the 2nd one she mostlikely would have had some sort of symptoms of BPD. As for schitzophrenia again, it's unlikely she hasn't faced stressors at that point in time that would point to a disorder. Schitzophenia usually becomes apparent in late adolescence to early adulthood. Even if nobody knew exactly what was going on or drew a connection between behaviors and the outcome of disappearing, they mostlikely would not intentionally paint a pretty picture of the relationships. They are described to be a fun loving couple and essentially perfect to the outsider which would lead me to believe a theory of foul play or getting in too deep with a bad business deal and needing to flee for whatever reason over it solely related to a mental disorder. With him being close with his brother (as his brother told media) he mostlikley would have shared concerns or distress if the wife's mental health was the root of the panic attacks.

  46. BPD can be draining for one person to deal with and eventually you have to share it with someone. My best friend in high school befriended a BPD who became my best friend by default. Her responses to situations seemed a little odd to me and how quickly she bonded (usually people with BPD are very co-dependent and kind of latch on to people). Eventually I couldn't handle the mood swings and eventually she became threatening to hurt herself and basically harassing me when I started to pull away to the point where I was legit scared of what she might do and reached out to someone. It literally became too much for me to bear on my own that I felt I would explode. If that were the case here, I guess I could see him killing her if it was that intense but there'd a been a body. If she was paranoid, they probably would have found odd items in the house. When a person has paranoid schitzophrenia there is a specific thing they are paranoid about. It's also usually going to be either really generalized or really specific. It's also usually more self-centered with them seeing the threat being actually towards them. When I studied mental health in college we did watch "A Beautiful Mind" which while it does represent the effects of mental disorders and the potential dangers to family and friends, we did discuss how the wife of Mr. Nash disclosed that she viewed his behavior as erradic and that they actually divorced for some time which isn't shown in the film. People with paranoid schitzophrenia are viewed as odd/ eccentric. Yeah changing your name and ethnicity is odd... but aside from that people haven't come forward with other accounts of odd behavior, which makes the name changes and what not seem more criminally or socially charged. Depending on where she grew up or the social issues at the time or maybe even lack of acceptance that may have led to the changes. As a minority myself and seeing that there is still a lot of stereotyping and what not it may be possible that she wanted to change it to be more accepted. There was a girl who changed her name growing up because of bullying. There is a lot I don't like about the wikipedia definition of BPD (It also not a reliable source). The description of demonizing is vague for the disorder. Lots of disorders include some form of "demonizing" and it's different from paranoia or delusions that some one is possessed or demonic or anything along those lines. In BPD everything is either black or white, there is no gray area. With that, a person is either all good or all bad... no in between. The person is deemed one or the other through their interactions. Let say the mother in law is awesome and always helps with the kids, and they talk all the time, etc. One instance of the mother in law not being available or not providing what she needs now turns into I hate her she's a terrible person she doesnt care and now the person who was super good essentially fell off the face of the Earth. That's why I find it odd to make it to her 40s without anyone taking note. Again, yeah someone may not realize it's disfunctional and may accept it however they are highly likely to say she's super fun loving and yada yada but there have been times when she's cut people off or she's great but don't get on her bad side. Think of how many times you've not seen eye-to-eye with a person, in this case it'd be rare for someone not to notice.

  47. The saddest part of the whole case is that it was handled poorly. It's kind of like a Jonbenet Ramsey case in which if it was handled differently from the beginning the outcome may have been better. Maybe we will find this case on the Discover Channel's "I almost got away with it". There is just too much here that doesn't add up. Why weren't they looked for sooner? Why did nobody check the house sooner? Dogs outside without food and water would mostlikely become annoying and bark, if that happened why did no one think to look into it. Why did no one think it was odd that the dogs were out for sooo long to begin with. Why wasn't the area searched where the phone's binged like ASAP? Why are there sooooooooooo many conflicting stories? Why aren't the family members more alarmed at the fact that they have no idea who their son married? What was found in emails/text messages/ what all had been purchased/ what all was on the computer? If the mystery is to be solved why are they only tossing out random fun facts like the craigslist purchase (RANDOM). Why isn't the business being fully investigated? Border patrol has been a huge issue in recent years, so why exactly isn't America and Mexico keeping a better record of who is coming in and out? Why would they park their car in a tow zone if they wanted to be secretive?

  48. Last commenter...The mother-in-law no longer paints a rosy portrait of her daughter-in-law. She said in the last documentary she feels she has no idea who this person is/was. She feels deceived. I stand by my belief that S.M. suffers from a serious mental disorder and most likely BPD. The picture you paint about her normalcy doesn't accord with the facts. Even her friends called her a "hermit." It wasn't just name changes because of discomfort with her ethnicity. She didn't try to "pass" as one particular ethnicity. She routinely "changed" her ethnicity the way she changed many other "facts." This is typical of BPD. BPD people can indeed get other adults to go along with their delusions if it is a co-dependent relationship. They parked their car in a tow-away zone merely because it was within walking distance of the border. They knew they weren't coming back.

  49. Oh, and the definition of BPD from Wikipedia comes from the DSM, which is the "Bible" of psychotherapy and used by virtually all mental health professionals as the primary diagnostic tool. It was not a definition of the disorder authored by laymen.

  50. And I'm sorry you had that bad experience with someone who was borderline too. I had an awful experience with someone suffering from it. She latched on to me exactly as you describe, out of the blue. And then I later experienced the weird "splitting" phenomenon where after a series of warm, normal exchanges suddenly I was demonized. I realized I can't deal with being repeatedly penalized because of someone else's delusions. Plus, in my experience these people are extremely untrustworthy as friends and lie constantly--even when there's no reason to lie. She was also in complete denial about her condition. She would basically tell you whatever she thought would endear you to her. Since I am bipolar she claimed to be bipolar. She did the same thing with sexuality with people. If someone's gay she tells them she's gay or bi. Straight people are told she's straight. These people have no solid sense of identity. They just float through identities the way other people changes clothes. And they move a hell of a lot. She moved from state to state like every six months. And she's in her late forties. Who does that? I mean sane people. Clearly she's not.

  51. I have to agree that a lot of this completely makes sense. There was always something "off" with the media portrayal of the average, happy all-American family living the dream. The average American family does not isolate themselves to such a degree, the mother doesn’t change her name so many times. I think what really adds to this for me is the small tell tale signs in their home videos. "Summer" clearly wasn't happy moving to their new home, even whispering at 4:48 "God please don't make me have to do this" (you will need volume up high)

    Plus I think it's interesting to note that only a short while before the couple were forced to file a Chap 7 Bankruptcy while living in San Clemente, and ultimately evicted from the rental property they were living in (which is why they had then decided to move into their last property). The effect of being evicted on somebody with BPD would be detrimental. Of course they already have feelings of being victims of the word, or people being out to get them. As you said "They tend to view the world as generally dangerous and malevolent" and so being evicted, away from her home, her sanctuary, her refuse from the world could have been the factor that stopped her being able to cope. The video (above) makes it clear she doesn't want to move, she doesn’t want him to make her "do this". She isn't clear what "this" is, and he quickly tells her to be quite- it is certainly implied that this is not the first time she has made such statements. What is it she doesn’t want to do anymore? My guess is she wants to escape, seek sanctuary from the world. Somebody with BPD would certainly be wary (to say the least) of moving to a new area, starting over completely in a new house- especially when her sense of security would be especially low after the evection.

    Joey was clearly a family man. He loved his wife, his kids- he made a lot of time for his son from his previous marriage. This seems to contradict the view that he would then just up and leave his son and flee to Mexico. However, he loved his wife and wanted her to be happy. This coupled with the recent bankruptcy and the decline of the American economy could very well have been the deciding factor for him. Look at it from his perspective:
    He has a wife who feels unsafe, insecure, worried. Who has been begging him to escape with her and set up a new, secluded and SAFE life. She plays on the bankruptcy. He knows that his business will suffer in the decline of the economy. South American living is so much cheaper. He doesn't want to put his family through bankruptcy again, especially with Summer's condition. Having $100,000 means nothing if you owe more money. For all we know he could have made some bad financial decisions, loans.
    It is my personal belief that he maybe used some "unconventional" methods in order to buy his property/get a mortgage. It makes very little sense that they were able to get their new home considering their credit rating would have been very, very poor. It also makes very little sense that they would even HAVE $100,00 so soon after a bankruptcy, especially as his family said his business was only just taking off. He could have obtained the money by taking out a loan from a loan shark or some other back-street method. Perhaps there was even an element of fraud considering “Summer’s” experience with hiding identity and acquiring fraudulent documents (ie. Her birth certificate). This is a man who is worried for his family, for his finances and who’s wife is clearly unhappy and keeps on at him for a new life.

    If you take all this into consideration it makes complete sense of the situation.

  52. We seem to think pretty much alike. Plus, they already owned land in South America. No, they're not on that particular property, but these are assets which could have been seized if the financial decline had continued. And husband and wife were to have been defendants in a lawsuit brought against them and Patrick McStay (who has his own separate legal woes now). So that's put on hold. How convenient. I don't think they're average Americans by a long stretch, but then I don't see them as involved in drug trafficking, their children as victims of child trafficking or any of those possible but extremely unlikely scenarios. I think the U.S. government knows where they are but are respecting their wishes for privacy. If they had something on the McStays, they would have probably been extradited from their new set up by Uncle Sam. As to Michael McStay making bank on this whole thing, I bet it's perfectly legal but with the reward at that ridiculously low figure and his solicitation that "any reasonable offer" to produce segments on his missing brother and family "will be entertained," I wonder if the McStays are starting to get pissed that M.M. is probably getting rich on this. Maybe they called him and asked for a cut by now. It would hardly be ethical but hey, it might be legal. Maybe not. I guess the charitable donations would turn out to be some sort of business fraud if collusion were ever proven between the missing (expat) McStays and the U.S. ones. I guess I really think M.M. doesn't know where his brother is, but I do feel he probably realizes he can make more money at "this" than whatever he was doing before. People are people. I believed the mother's pain in the documentary. Who knows what alienation exists in that family. It's not like they would necessarily admit that in the documentaries. I haven't seen it verified but a quote keeps floating around where Summer shouted at her mother-in-law angrily, "You're not one of the four!" (meaning her immediate family with Joseph and kids). If true, there's clear alienation and a big reason the worried McStays would not hear from the probable expats. I just know these people are not dead. Thanks for your comment, thoughts.

  53. one of the kids has a very visible birthmark on his face which is probably unique, i would expect him to have been spotted by now several times at least.

  54. That can easily be hidden with makeup, or by wearing a hat. They often had the kids in those beanie hats. And maybe the don't "go out" much.

  55. somebody needs to create a wikipedia page for the mcstays

  56. hi i am sheena from the philippines, i just recently watched the E! Investigates Documentary about the Mcstay Family Vanishing. the author of this blog has a strong point. I am a registered nurse and has worked with paychiatric patients, SM is literally exhibiting Borderline Personality Disorder with all the aliases, age lies and her ethnicity, it certainly defines bpd, but as what everybody didn't know Borderline Personality disorder is rarely a stand alone diagnosis most of BPD patients have "co-occuring" disorder it could be depression, substance abuse, or BIPOLAR DISORDER. BPD with Bipolar Disorder can be a deadly cocktail. most of the time people with bpd may inflict self-destructive actions but when we are talking with bipolar it can go to extremes, like when a person is in manic stage and is having hallucinations that he or she is in danger that person can go to the extremes of defending themselves. but i think summer is not the manic type, and i somehow hope that the four of them are safe. they are in my prayers since i saw the E! Documentary.

  57. Thanks, Sheena, for your comment and perspective as a medical professional. I think S.M. might suffer from the disorder and WANTED the family to go into hiding with her, but I think her husband had his own reasons for disappearing (economic). I think they're alive and this is just the solution they decided was the answer to all the money they were hemorrhaging and were going to continue to hemorrhage. Americans find it hard to believe that you can really live much more cheaply in other countries, but there are quite a few where your money will go a long way and last a long time.

  58. In my 51 years I've met a few women who for no apparent reason had changed their names. And each one of those women turned out to be complete "Nutbags". I think Summer had been slowly poisoning her husband (Explains his increasing headaches and illness.) to make room for another lover. On Feb 4th Joseph suddenly succumbed to the poison. Summer, and the boyfriend took 4 days to dispose of the poison racked body. (Explains why the body was completely disposed of... Poisoning evidence in the body.) Then Summer, the two kids, and the boyfriend took off across the border. (Explains why Joseph McStay's mother says it is NOT him in the border crossing video. But is completely sure it IS the kids.) While Summer IS completely recognizable in the video. Right down to the "Ugg" boots.

  59. Hi Anonymous. Your theory is more plausible than most I hear on this site. A friend suggested this before and said they should look for Joseph's hairs and test them (this would show arsenic, for example, if it were present). Others have pointed out that if there was another man, the police would have almost certainly eventually found his traces, on the computer--or someone would have simply "talked." I thought "another man" might be the reason for the sudden move (when they really couldn't afford it). To get Summer "away" from this postulated "other man." And then this could have backfired on J.M. He moves her away, the lover gets angry and they kill him and abscond with the children. But unless that lover was waiting out there at that spot they stopped for so long near the Bonsall Bridge and Joseph was killed or abducted and later killed there, I don't believe it. Because I think we would have heard if that call from J.M.'s cell phone to his business partner that night was placed by Summer and not Joseph himself. So if he was alive there I think he was alive at the crossing. I think he shaved his head (Merida siting has him shaven) before crossing over and that's why his profile looks wrong, his silhouette. His mother focused on the absence of the "bushy hair." That's easy to get rid of. I think they are all in this together and all alive. All four of them. I think they had enough of hemorrhaging money. They liked the freedom of their lifestyle. With the lawsuit they had coming up, they stood to lose even more (even after filing bankruptcy). I think they decided it was a downward spiral here. And they were probably right. You can live very cheaply in some countries. And there are towns where tourists rarely if ever go. He's smart enough to make a good living online under a new identity. They never even have to leave the house I bet. Not to mention the bankroll they surely left with or had sent over by one of the courier services. I think those courier services are the key but that airway bill's probably long buried now.

  60. do u believe they will ever be found?

  61. If they don't reappear of their own volition first, yes I think they will be found. I'd be surprised if they didn't turn up in the next three years, but five at most. It's also possible the stress of the situation might lead to a separation between J.M. and S.M. eventually, in which case it would all fall out. I'm sure there are still sides to this story we're not getting and possibly will never get.

  62. This woman looks EXACTLY like Summer McStay. She is accused of abducting her children from San Diego in 2004.

    1. I also think that there are many facts that matched, like her age, similarity on second picture and her "asian" genesis.
      And... why she wear eyeglasses on every picture? Like hiding or sth.

  63. she does look like SM in the 2nd pic-but not her.

  64. Thanks for your comments. There was a LOT of hiding going on, I think. But I don't think it was shady business. I think it was probably mental illness. Borderline paranoia.

  65. Most of you have no idea what you're talking about.

    But specifically those who think BPD gets worse with age... you're just wrong.

    Those with BPD often experience drastically lessened symptoms as they get older, not worse.
    It is also possible to actually "grow out" of BPD.

    You don't understand why someone would change their name. That is fine. But it doesn't make the person mentally ill, or even a criminal.

    Creative people change their name all the time. Summer was a very creative person.

    Again, you have no idea what you're talking about. You cannot diagnose someone you've never met.
    You've never met Summer but can actually say with a straight face that you know her better than her friends and family?
    Give me a break.

    And even if she has BPD or Schizophrenia, I hate to break it to you armchair psychologists, but it isn't contagious. Your little pop psychology theory doesn't explain why Joey would abandon his son and disappear the rest of his family.

    1. Your ignorance astounds me. I HAVE BPD and I know for a FACT BPD never gets worse with age without treatment, it will ALWAYS get worse and it can NEVER be 'outgrown'. And if she has BPD it would explain a lot about JM because Borderlines nearly always pick a partner with major Co dependency issues an other various mental illnesses cuz they can control them better. Actually do ANY research on it, and you'd find out immediately how ignorant your statements were.

    2. sounds pretty defensive there, Summer.

  66. I actually have a DEGREE in armchair psychiatry, so I would prefer if you refer to me in future as Dr. Armchair Pyschiatry.

    I believe you are referring to those lacking degrees, also known as armHair psychologists.

    I am actually chairing a seminar later today on our discipline. It will be held in a nearby furniture store.

    I'd invite you but clearly you are not credentizalized.

    Thanks for your bile and bilious speculation on speculation.

    And I still think Summer is totally BPD. And her husband had his own (non BPD) reasons to dispapear--numerous--which I articulated elsewhere on this blog.

    Money, money...oh, and more money.

  67. Hi again KMitchell, thanks for adding that correction with regard to the commenter who stated BPD improves with age, like a fine wine or something. Everything I read states exactly what you are stating and, while I'm sure there are exceptions, the vast majority of published literature backs up your assertion--that untreated it worsens. I think I get a lot of people pretending to be medical professionals on here, because oftentimes they'll state something completely against the grain of what "modern medicine" believes and then insist "I am a doctor" ("psychiatric nurse," etc.) as if this means people will just swallow whole whatever twaddle they're sellin as good science or medicine. As if it were so important to have people believe they're right, we're wrong and the truth doesn't matter. Someone did the same thing the other day after misstating my position on Lee Cutler's probable suicide (and suicide in general). Just misstated my position, made this big pompous windbag statement that doesn't accord with the facts AT ALL and then dropped her "medical credentials." Well, even if she's really a psychiatric nurse who works "suicide detail," she doesn't understand the full complexity of suicidal behaviors (plural). Everyone believes their own little world and limited experience is the be-all, end-all of "the way things are." I think that's why people are finding it so hard to believe Summer McStay could have borderline personality disorder, that many people might never even know and that this could be responsible for her fearful flight away from all she knew. And thanks for articulating exactly why Joseph might "go along with this." Money is a big reason. But I bet you're right that it's your typical co-dependent partner (who else would stay in that relationship). And that probably explains the panic attacks J.M. was having. It's probably a very difficult world to live in. I admit this is all theory but I think it explains the facts a lot better than the "they were all murdered" or "they're in WP" or "one killed the other" theories. And I too entertained all of those theories at one point or another. But mental illness or not, these people had a pretty great understanding of money, how to make it and how to hold on to it. And staying here with the lawsuits relating to dear old Dad and the economy's crash and the bankruptcy bad dealings had led them into it, it was give up the loot and live poor for a change--or take the money and run. I think they took the money and run. Most of us would find it very daunting to leave the country we've known all our lives. But they thought outside the box quite a bit, apparently. I think they just went way outside the box on this one. And either BPD or bad blood is what caused the severing of ties. That and if they stayed in communication they'd doubtless get served papers wherever they are with regard to the lawsuits (now on hold) related to their business shared with P.M. (who I understand is in federal prison in LA). I do think it's sad that they'd send an old guy like that to federal prison when it's just bad checks related to gambling addiction. Although from what I read they "ain't playin" down in Louisiana. Keep your bad checks out of Louisiana, people. You might end up on a chain gang.

  68. You guys are leaving great comments and the theories really seem to be plausible, I know I'm late to this whole mess (and believe me I've never seen such a beautifully crafted mess like this) but I have one small question. It seems from the home video, that JM is the only one who had ever seen the new home..I wonder why that is? it may be nothing but certainly weird nonetheless...why wouldn't they have visited the home together? Keep in mind I'm only assuming she hadn't seen the place by the way he was talking in the video and her reaction to the neighborhood. Another point is, on the bridge you can clearly see the towers and this disappearance was down to an exact science (almost professionally done) would they really not see and understand the towers would create a signal? All the details in this story cancel each other out and its highly frustrating. I'm under the impression that they were assisted by someone professional. Could a surfer bro and a possibly mentally ill woman pull off such a great move with 2 small children by themselves? highly unlikely.

  69. After reading through the comments, it seems that BPD matches perfectly with her behavior, the paranoia with the children, the name changes and such def point to BPD. I would like to say a few things however. Her Ex-husband needs to be contacted (hes an ex for a reason) He would be able to give information on whether she was mentally stable. I don't think its too farfetched for Summer to convince JM to move away, he could just be an enabler who wants to see his wife happy and he'd go at any length to do so. BUT with that theory, it seems odd that he would never contact his family even secretly, especially if it wasnt his decision to move. Of course, if the theory about him being killed is true, Summer would have no problem never saying a peep or trying to contact anyone. I would also like to bring up family friends and partners. The friend in Costa Rica? did not seem convincing AT ALL. He almost seemed like it was one big joke. The business partner in the fountains was somewhat sketchy but I can't tell, the phone call is suspicious. If JM was being so secretive that night, why call at all? And lastly, something that no one has really brought up is the PAINTER. Summer would exchange text messages with this man, i understand they searched through text records and there was no foul play but why was Summer the one texting him, always with times and never anything specific about painting. Plus they hardly found any sketchy phone calls or texts about plans, and if they had help they needed to talk to someone. Could they have been talking with the painter in person so they wouldnt leave a trail of conversation anywhere on phone records? Because after all if they knew they had to leave at some point (assuming from google seacrhes about mexico) why would they be painting anyway? They obviously didnt bother with the furniture. Somethings up.

  70. Hi Jon and thanks for your comments. I think, "Could a surfer bro and a possibly mentally ill woman pull off such a great move with 2 small children by themselves? highly unlikely." is a big disingenuous as both husband and wife showed themselves to be possessed of a strong business sense. S.M. was going into realty at the time of the disappearance. All mental illnesses are different and B.P.D. "sufferers" can be highly competenent and functional individuals. This allows them much more ability (especially when they have access to money) to act on their delusions. I think your impression is right that it sounds as though S.M. had never seen the house before but I wouldn't bet my life on it. Quite possibly they did an online walk through (virtual house tour) or he had just described everything to her. But it does seems like a first time visit going by her narration. The painter appeared on the Ling documentary and he actually showed his (cracked) phone there which still held the last text received from the McStays, ostensibly from S.M. canceling the upcoming painting/work day. I don't see anything suspicious in S.M. being the one handling the contact with the painter. She seemed more invested in that since she seemed to have more time in that regard, being at home with the children. There was an initial painter who "disappeared" which some theories focus on, but I don't put much weight on that either. Contractors can be dodgy. To me, there's way too much evidence showing the planned trip to Mexico and evidence they were invested (emotionally,financially) in other parts of the world (South America, for one). I think if S.M. were not a U.S. citizen it would have come up and I don't think she would be listed "normally" on the D.O.J. Missing Persons site as she is (it would probably say "foreign national," etc.) Once, I believed in the "dead Joseph" theory with Summer running away with another man. But I think L.E. would have found at least enough evidence to "blow the whistle" on that when releasing the search info. I believe the Merida sighting was probably accurate. The family was probably intact (at least at that point) and J.M. had shaved his head. Probably why he looks wrong on the "crossing" video. I really think this is a family that wanted to escape J.M.'s father's legal woes (they were extricated at that point) and wanted to avoid throwing (a lot) of good money after bad. Especially after just declaring bankruptcy. I'm not sure if there was a (not so obvious) financial reason they did declare bankruptcy and seem to intend to actually buy that new house or whether they were just flailing and dragging their feet on making "the jump" at that point. I suspect the latter. They thought they could make it work again. Then realized they needed a much bigger "new start." We have no idea of what bad blood might exist between J.M. and the rest of his family. Sometimes people really just want to simplify their lives completely. And if S.M. is B.P.D., she might have made it a demand. On the extreme outside (and I don't believe this) this could all be a marginally legal or completely legal hoax to generate money, a 21st century version of the cash cow. But as I said, I don't believe that. I believe it's people protecting their dwindling assets and more than likely a serious mental illness thrown in the mix.

  71. "for 'they were extricated" in the last paragraph please read 'they were implicated.'

  72. I admit when I first left my comments I hadn't read through every single posting, but I have now. I'm leaning towards your theory, the father running into serious legal complications has sparked motive for a disappearance by the family, especially when you add up all the other seemingly shady deals JM has gone through. The fountains were working and he was making some money, yet it was money that had an expiration date unless he kept cash and fled the country. I honestly think this theory alone can work without the BPD associated with SM, yet her past and social interactions due seem a bit off. Who knows, it could have been a combination of both and they couldn't handle it anymore. What we do know is, their entire circle of friends and family seem WAY more odd than some TV specials would lead you to believe. I admit I tracked down DK on facebook like some other posters have, and with his track record and the fishy business antics- hes certainly one cat you wanna keep your eye on. I'm baffled by the 4 days as well. I'm convinced they weren't entirely alone, or being helped during that time. Its also weird that not one person can recall checking them into a they have friends in that area? Parking at a friends house in a garage seems plausible. I also wish I had more details on that final meeting JM had on the day of there "departure." From reading your comments I know you don't seem to entertain the "leave in a rush" scenario but I encourage you not to overlook that aspect. JM had a meeting, came home a little later than he should have, things were left out and they were gone. I believe they were planning this trip but not necessarily THAT day, and JM's news when he got home surprised SM.

    I'd also like to note - its strange that the truck doors are unlocked with his precious camera inside, why leave it unlocked?
    I'd also like to note- why bring his medication in the other vehicle at all if they were just gonna leave it in the car?

  73. and my "could a surfer bro..." comment was a bit on the joking side, but even with their business acumen, they pulled off quite a disappearance with minimal flaws...

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  76. We could all speculate all we want to, but as one person added, we will know when and if they are ever found. That seems to be the bottome line, as this is a deep and complicated mystery with no known motives, or exact information based on truth. No doubt this family will be found eventually, either alive (hopefully), or not alive.
    I do lean toward the theory that Summer was or is BLP. because I have a niece that has 5 children, is devorced twice (no-one can tolerate living with her) and she has always been very secretive, paronoid, suspicious of others (including family members), and she moves around constantly for years. She never tells anyone where she is until she is in a true bind, then she selects one person to reach out to, and ends up being rude, hurtful, and nasty toward that person, including shouting out irrational accusations. Then she will leave, and start her crazy life elsewhere once again. I have wondered if they received a threatening phone call for whatever the reason causing them to leave in such a hurry. No matter what the true circumstances, it all sounds very shady and definitely abnormal!

  77. I'm totally blown away by this case. I stumbled on article in the LA Times today and saw a picture of SM, that's how I came to know Summer.

    I met and dated Summer on and off over the course of few years during the late 90's. I believe the last contact I had with her was around 2003 or so. I do believe she had some sort of "slight mental" disorder and she just seemed a bit off. I don't think she would be capable of harming her family in anyway. However who knows....I had know idea she had several different names with seems a bit odd.

    Anyway I thought I'd throw that out there.

  78. Hi Chris and thanks for your comment. No doubt now you will get sought out by the McStay sleuths, who will try to pump you for information on your experiences with Summer. :-)

  79. Commenter at 8:45: Thanks for your comment. I hope your niece gets the treatment she needs and that her life turns around for her. Both adult McStays had ample reasons to want to start life over elsewhere--mostly financial and having to do with legal woes and potential legal woes (Summer's employment with a shady loan modification company that crashed and burned.) You can get all this info in Rick Baker's very informative book or by reading more online, here or elsewhere. I don't think it was just BPD (which I definitely believe she suffers from). There were actual "good reasons" to disappear. I mean unless they wanted to lose a lot of their assets and live a much harder life.