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?
Another update on the 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 watched Laura Ling's investigation into the McStay family's disappearance (E! Investigates) tonight and found much of the newly-disclosed information to be somewhat revelatory.
I say somewhat because the mystery remains a mystery, so far a modern, dry-land version of The Marie Celeste.
Let's hope it doesn't end up a permanent mystery as that latter one seems fated to be.
I feel guilty for once--when the case first broke--thinking the McStay family was "covering" for Joseph Mcstay and family, that it was a willful disappearance, and that this meant one or both of the adults was probably involved in shady or outright criminal activities.
It's all too clear by now how pained Joseph's family is by this disappearance and the sort of dread and hope they live with. They are totally proactive with the media and work tirelessly to bring attention to the case and recover their loved ones.
Interesting to see how things have changed in the public presentation of the case by family and friends. Summer McStay's character is now being called into question, it seems, even by Susan Blake and Michael McStay, mother and brother of Joseph McStay.
I agree. It's not normal to learn your daughter-in-law and the mother of your grandchildren is forty-three and not thirty-two, as she had apparently been telling people. And it's especially not normal to learn this from INTERPOL. And her aliases (by some accounts as many as eleven) have made many people wonder what sort of activities or business dealings she had been engaged in that would necessitate such measures.
Oddly enough, I found the single most interesting new revelation to be that Summer McStay had been seeking a homeopathic remedy for "anger" right before the disappearance. It tells me that she was dealing with an anger or rage that was probably so out of control it frightened her. And, no aspersions intended, but a homeopathic remedy for a psychological problem like that would probably be worthless. She probably needed serious psychiatric help.
But it's not something a sociopath would do. A sociopath wouldn't even question her own anger. Sociopaths always feel justified in their insane behavior. But I'm guessing she suffers from mental illness that falls somewhere else along the personality disorder spectrum (most likely borderline personality disorder). But that doesn't tell me whether or not she's capable of murdering her husband or having him killed--which I think is a strong possibility of what happened here. I do think it's clear that many people now feel as though they don't really know who Summer Mcstay is or was. People who at one time believed they did.
I have asked myself recently whether or not the simplest explanation is the most likely. The simplest explanation given early on is that they went to Mexico intentionally and that something horribly unexpected happened. The computer search for passport requirements to enter Mexico definitely signifies intent to cross over into Mexico. But if they're going there to do something illicit, I don't really see them taking their children with them. And it doesn't really look like a "normal vacation," since they left their vehicle this side of the border--no reason to do that unless you don't want the vehicle because you'll be tracked much more easily that way. And why wouldn't someone have known, if it were a simple vacation?
I hadn't really given much credence to the Mexico "sightings" (unconfirmed) previously, but I have to admit Michael McStay's speculation about a name discovered in the registry of the hotel located next to the restaurant where the family was allegedly sighted seems more than a little convincing. It could be a coincidence. But the fact that the name seemed a rearrangement of his brother's name (the spelling of Bryan with a "y" is particularly striking) is seriously odd. Of course, Summer McStay traveling with another man could have chosen that name in a perverse manner.
Joseph McStay was apparently seriously ill. He was having breathing problems (asthma) and suffered from other debilitating problems. Medicine his mother said he really needed was left behind in the vehicle recovered stateside near the border. Not that it's hard to get medications in Mexico (it's much easier actually) if one has money.
And that's where the show really revealed a lot. I had no idea of the assets at the family's disposal. I had no idea they owned land on an island off the coast of Costa Rica (near Ambergris). And Joseph McStay's business associate said he could have been carrying as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash with the success of the fountain business. Many people seem to be incredulous about this and seem to think that in this economy it's very unlikely and point to signs of financial difficulties and bills unpaid, bankruptcy, etc.
But if things are tanking here and you're going to leave, yes, you leave things unpaid and keep the money you have for where you're going. So I don't find the appearance of having financial difficulties and having raftloads of money to be incompatible facts.
I have to admit that with the revelation of these kinds of assets, it becomes more likely that the family did willfully disappear.
But I can't believe it would be in Joseph McStay's character to let his family suffer like this. How easy would it have been to just let them know that the family had chosen to live an unconventional life as expatriates. It's no difficulty at all. Unless the family did something to make the man hate them (very unlikely) I just can't see this happening.
Yet stranger things have.
Joseph McStay suffered from panic attacks. That was news to me. So you have a wife with anger and a husband with serious illness and panic attacks. Not a good combination.
Who was it who came to the front door of the McStay's home in the middle of the night while Summer was on the phone? Summer mentioned how unexpected and disconcerting this was to the person with whom she was speaking. Was the first house painter who disappeared casing the home? Should we make anything of the fact that Michael McStay got in through a "loose window" in the back of the house...had someone else entered that way earlier. Cadaver dogs had no hits and no blood or sign of any confrontation was found in the house, so probably not.
Yet the house was a mess. People tend to think that was the sign of a hasty retreat from the house but that's not my read on it. I think it's the natural result of two people dealing with ill health and mental illness, and a marriage probably fragmenting.
They were trying (or at least one of them was) but something wasn't happening correctly.
I keep thinking that Joseph McStay moving the family to that new house is what triggered whatever happened. If Summer McStay did have a romantic relationship with someone else, that might have triggered a move to claim her. All indications are that Summer didn't want that move or that house.
Should we read something into the fact that Joseph's cell phone goes quiet before Summer's?
Pinging locates the cell phones (and vehicle?) somewhere in the Bonsall vicinity, only a mile and a half from their home. Before the cell phones go dead. It was really disturbing to hear Michael McStay admit he realizes that he realizes the phones could have been receiving as they lay in the pockets of bodies "in a ditch" somewhere in that area.
The woman who claims that she recognizes the family with certainty (Laura Ling showed her a MISSING poster) as the one she saw in the Medina (Mexico) WALMART didn't really convince me. She seemed glib and there were no really specific details that would seem to correlate other than the family speaking English. The fact that the man had a shaved head makes me doubt also. But maybe this was Summer Mcstay with another man and her children. It boggles the mind.
Kudos to Laura Ling for going to Costa Rica and doing the legwork and showing the McStay family's poster to various locals and expats. She could have really landed on something with that. But how much time could she realistically have and how many people can you talk to. I applaud the effort though.
Kudos to Laura Ling just for ferreting out so much new information--which I'm sure will shift the big picture of speculation about this family's disappearance.
The skip tracer, when asked for advice, said he would "focus on the wife."
I knew that Susan Blake had said that she never believed that was her son in the Mexican "crossing video" which allegedly portrays the night passage across the border. But I did not know that she also didn't think that was Summer. Others had thought they recognized Summer in that video and her distinctive Ugg boots. And didn't Michael McStay say he was "ninety percent" certain those were the McStay children?
So the conclusion is what? That the children were abducted by someone who lured the family out of the home to some fatal meeting? I agree with the person who said that entire families are simply "not abducted like that." He said they would have just "killed them in the house." Probably. And they would have probably seized other assets through credit cards.
But I don't think this is what happened.
Again, the fact of the research for passport requirements militates against the credence of that theory. Somebody wanted to go to Mexico. Either one of them or both of them.
Summer was the one learning Spanish (some say for realty clientele purposes). One isn't sure how much weight to put on that fact but again it tends to lead me towards suspicion.
I keep coming back to the conclusion that the most likely thing (sadly) is that Summer McStay crossed that border with someone other than Joseph Mcstay and with her children.
Summer McStay could have easily availed herself of whatever assets the family possessed. And not touching the money in the bank would actually have been a smart move, from a criminal perspective. Because that would have immediately stepped up the investigation. As it was, investigators believed early on that this was a willful disappearance by an entire family. And that kept the investigation cooler and would have bought time if this was indeed the work of Summer and another.
If Summer McStay was in a relationship with another, there is always the possibility that he committed violence against Joseph McStay without Summer's foreknowledge or consent. It could be this happened and she figured "What's left?" and simply went with him. Or was coerced to go. But people seem to agree that the people crossing into Mexico look relaxed and not under pressure.
I hate to say it but I think the four days spent in America before crossing over were the logistics of dealing with the aftermath of the murder of Joseph McStay (disposing of a body, doing damage control with the kids, etc.).
If Summer did abscond with the children, it seems to make more sense of the facts. It explains why Joseph McStay is not contacting his family. It explains why the money in the bank was untouched. It explains why the four days before crossover. It explains why Summer was learning Spanish. It explains why the research into Mexican passport requirements was made.
It's so ugly that one's mind doesn't want to go there and lingers over the facts trying to rearrange them so that the whole family is alive.
If there is a reason why Joseph McStay would do this to his family, I say sure, maybe they are all together.
Maybe he does suffer from more than panic attacks. Maybe he and Summer suffer from some folie a deux, and believe they have to hide from everyone. I mean educated, intelligent people do crazy things all the time. Look at all the intelligent people who join cults and then do the strangest things under that control.
So I hope I'm wrong. Seriously hope I'm wrong.
With the level of interest in the case (which has gone international now) if they are out there, I think they're going to be spotted eventually.
But that doesn't mean it won't be years.
Let's hope it's before then--and a happy ending.
An update...I now thoroughly believe this is the solution to the McStay family disappearance and I'm happy to say I believe they are all alive, if not totally well: I believe this explains why this case seems to be so irrational, seems not to make any sense. I now believe this is a tragic love story, and not a "true crime" story at all.