Thursday, January 31, 2013

Darker Scenarios Concerning the McStay Family

While I believe that the missing McStay family voluntarily left their former lives behind, all the darker speculation and some of the darker revelations in Rick Baker's recent book on the case (No Goodbyes) have compelled me to at least revisit various particulars and principals in the case--and the X factors--and see if anything pointed in the direction of a darker fate for the McStays in any convincing manner.

I wanted  to just play out in my head the likelihood (or lack thereof) of each scenario inasmuch as my imagination would allow me to do that.

I think it's interesting (going by recent quotes) that law enforcement seems to have flip-flopped back to the position that it's a voluntary disappearance after a dark period where they were leaning towards the idea that the family had been murdered--in sum, or at least the adults.

But who hasn't flip-flopped on this case? My "flip-flops" have generally occurred during the periods of new information. I suddenly became confident they were alive again when the Ling documentary aired. And I stayed at that "holding position," which wavered briefly while reading Baker's book. But even with all the darkness he reveals "behind the scenes" (behavior which it seems could very easily lead to prosecution by the state, federal government or both) I still can envision a clear way out for the McStays that night and see them as in charge of their fate, alive and well, even to this day. Money shouldn't be a problem, since both Joseph and Summer know how to use the internet to make a better than decent living. I could easily imagine Joseph working online, making a decent living without even having to produce a product or interact IRL with clients. Ditto for Summer. And on a more cynical note, a family member could easily be funnelling them money from the cash cow this case has clearly become.

First, let me state the facts which I believe point to a voluntarily disappearance--many of these I had discussed long before Baker's book came out, but some are obviously a result of the disclosures in the recent book--and in some cases a mixture of the two. In other words, evidence in the book confirmed (for me anyway) some previous hypotheses or speculation.


1. They had many stressors in their life. The departure was one week after the shocking (to Summer) crash of the loan modification business which employed her (due to embezzlement and the breaking of other laws). It was clear some employees of the business were going to be prosecuted. Summer seemed to process this information with some grace, but knowing her temperament and her usual paranoia, this could have been a strong incentive to leave. Other strong stressors and possible reasons to leave include the unsuccessful resolution of their CPS case alleging abuse of Joseph's son by a previous marriage. The accused individual allegedly threatened S.M. in a conversation with J.M.. Quote: "Muzzle your wife--or I will."  The economy was tanking. Joseph lamented the current state of business in his correspondence with his service provider (or was it an S.E.O. outfit?). In any case, it was clear the salad days were over and J.M. had previously declared bankruptcy just a few years earlier. It looks as though they were approaching a point in time where good money might start to be thrown after bad. There were other reasons, examined elsewhere on this blog.

2.  The search on their computer for requirements for children's passports with regard to traveling to Mexico point the direction of a willing disappearance there. Additionally, they purchased Rosetta Stone software (two separate purchases) which teaches the Spanish language to English speakers, one set of discs for adults and the other for the children. Summer had allegedly previously said she distrusted Mexico as a travel destination, so while that might rule the trip into Mexico as a "vacation," it wouldn't necessarily rule it out as a refuge. One thinks differently when one is desperate to escape a dangerous situation--or a situation perceived as dangerous.

3. No evidence pointing to a violent confrontation and no trace evidence revealing the presence of any unknowns subjects (unsubs) was found by law enforcement in either the house in Fallbrook or the vehicle left within 300 feet of the border.

4. There have been sightings of the family in numerous places and the sighting in Merida seems to be a particularly credible one to my mind. So that puts the family alive some time after their disappearance--and all together.

5. Summer bought "beach things" on her last known shopping trip, the day of her disappearance. And remember, this was February. I believe she also bought baby clothes intended for her sister's (at that time) unborn child. But the baby clothes could mean the intention to depart was really a sudden decision later that night or that plans had been sped up unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances.  I don't know if the large children's toys found in the vehicle after its abandonment were on the receipt from that day. I'm leaning towards no, which would imply the toys were bought sometime in the "missing four days." This would almost certainly mean the McStays were alive and the ones making these purchases (one child had a birthday that weekend).  It's rather unlikely a kidnapper or killer would be the one buying these toys for the children.

6. Just wanted to add that the "messy' state of the house means absolutely nothing to my mind. If you're leaving and not coming back, who cares what the house looks like. Yes, if they were frustrated and knew they were leaving, they might just go through closets and just throw things down on the floor to see what they were taking with them--the essentials. It's unlikely a killer would go through clothes in a closet in that manner, throwing garments on the floor. A thief or thieves might do that to see what's behind the clothes but it takes time and effort that most won't give. They'd just part the clothes like curtains and look in quickly. Someone choosing clothes would do that, however. And that would fit in with voluntary disappearance. Baker's book reveals that a pair of Uggs (many point to these distinctive boots in the crossing video as a clincher that it really is Summer) had been found in the abandoned house--but she could easily have owned more than one pair.

7. According to Baker's book, an $81,000 payment for a Saudi Arabian fountain commissioned through Joseph's business is unaccounted for. This is, almost funnily, the only commission paid for which was actually finished (Chase Merritt flew over and completed the job) after the McStays disappeared. Other fountains were "sold" but fraudulently, since funds were collected (apparently by Dan Kavanagh) and orders were never begun, let alone completed. According to Joseph's mother (her interview by Laura Ling) Joseph was very good at bankrolling money and probably had considerable cash resources. The family also owned land in South America and who knows what other liquid assets. Joseph's email to his I.S.P. or S.E.O. outfit includes statements that mirror those made by his mother. He talks about how D.K saves no money and how alien this mode of living is to J.M. himself

8. The vehicle was found within 300 feet of a border where you can just walk across into Mexico. Again, no sign of foul play or of any unknown subject was found in the vehicle. There is the debatable video footage of a family that might be the McStays (some argue it's not the complete family--most often people question whether the man is Joseph).


1. Dan Kavanaugh. The IM exchange between J.M. and D.K. reveals D.K. to be someone given to threats and blackmail. When outlining a projected book on the McStays, he disturbingly named the second chapter "NO BODIES, NO CASE"--which sounds like a first person statement. People who have had extensive personal contact with him have described him as "like a sociopath." The IM exchange published in Baker's book and the portrait of him which emerges from that comport exactly with the typical behavior of sociopaths. I mean to a t --a t that's even crossed. Sociopaths actually enjoy risk. They feel invincible. Was his email to Summer asking about J.M.'s whereabouts a CYA thing? Because he didn't seem to follow up afterwards (although possibly the news of their disappearance had reached him by then). Baker alleges D.K. made a visit to the house post-disappearance and then made statements which belied something he would have known. He is known to have sold fountains which were never installed through Joseph's company after his disappearance, assumed a fake alter ego, "Vince," to deal wiith customers, and had some funds transferred into his grandfather's bank account as well as his own. These are all things a sociopath would do. He had repeatedly warned Joseph McStay. in the IM exchange how dangerous he was to cross and stated that he felt crossed (he hadn't been actually). Even if someone has an alibi, someone could still have hired a killer. Who was that mysterious person who knocked on the McStays' front door that one night shortly before their disappearance. Was this a "verification check" they had the right house before an actual hit went down?

2. Chase Merritt. Although Baker's book portrays C.M. as the nicest guy in the world and Joseph's most trusted friend, there are problems: C.M. was the last person known to have seen Joseph McStay alive I think we've all seen enough stories like this to know that doesn't bode well. I have read that C.M. has a criminal history but it's in his distant past. The last known phone call made from that Bonsall area where the family vehicle was allegedly parked in the night was to Chase Merritt. According to Baker's book, he never answered that call. I remember early on reports were saying it was a short call that lasted about a minute, as if the call had gone through. This is a discrepancy. If Chase Merritt never answered that phone call, he could have been calling himself from the Bonsall area to establish a "ghost alibi." Baker reveals Chase Merritt was a trusted friend, which could mean a blindspot on Joseph's part if the family was murdered. As Baker says in the book, "We have no way of really knowing if Joseph ever made it home that night." If so, was it C.M. who "made it home" instead and a dark scene played out from there. Baker portrays C.M. as a highly moral individual who even used his own money to go over to Saudi Arabia and finish that last job--as a sort of honor thing. But who does that? Seriously?  I'm a moral person but if I'm an employee of a business and my boss might have just taken off or been murdered, why am I going to spend all my own money doing this? It smells fishy to me. Are we sure he didn't collect the 81K, possibly in a manner where the I.R.S. would never see it? L.E. seems to have focused on C.M. early on. I'm not sure if they ever cleared him. Some accounts say the lie detector test he voluntarily took was inconclusive; some say he passed. The problem with C.M. is that I see him as having opportunity and possibly even motive. I don't put much stock in "wife alibis." And even if he was at home, there's still the possibility of a hired assassin (who would probably be Mexican since the family's vehicle was left at the border). I keep coming back to that stranger knocking on the door (or ringing the bell) somewhat late at night. This was a cul-de-sac and I think very few people lived on this street. So...worrisome.

3. Michael McStay. Allegedly borrowed significant amounts of money ($69K?) and allegedly never paid it back. Took the family computer post-disappearance and was ordered under threat of arrest to return it. Was he being a good brother and cleaning up any trails? Was he being opportunistic with the family's assets--or attempting to do so and failing (the attempts to access the funds which fell through). Or was it something more sinister? Was he in collusion with D.K. since both of them moved money in what seems an improper or unauthorized manner into self-serving accounts? How long is it until they can be declared legally dead? Seven years? Will he stand in the line of inheritance then? It's probably small change to what he's made off this case, which has turned into a cottage industry for him. Intuition tells me he's a money grubber and exploitive, but I have trouble seeing him as a murderer. The fact that he never offered any serious reward (a measly thousand bucks) I always interpreted as meaning he knew they were alive and didn't want to hand out 100K to someone when they inevitably slipped up and were verified as all alive and well. But of course it could mean he knows they're all dead. You'll have to draw your own conclusions.

4. Summer McStay. While I believe Summer McStay suffers from borderline personality disorder, and many assert that form of mental illness is often associated criminal types of behavior, I think Summer was a law-abiding citizen except in the smallest of ways (like when she left her child unattended in the vehicle for a few minutes and got cited).  She definitely shows the instability, lack of a coherent identity and antisocial behavior which are the hallmarks of borderline personality disorder. She doesn't look bipolar at all to me, and I once briefly entertained the idea she might be paranoid schizophrenic but having read her emails--and seeing her high level of functioning--I'm now convinced only BPD fits with her behavior. All that lashing out at her husband and "being horrible" are parts of the disorder. All the shutting out of people, even loved ones. The alienation with a parent or parents. The aliases. The changes of ethnicity. The home schooling. The home birthing. The avoidance of medical professionals, of everyone. Hide, hide, hide. This is what BPD makes you do. I knew someone with the disorder and in her late forties she was still moving roughly every six months--usually to states very distant from her last habitation. People judge Summer McStays for this but she's not having any fun herself with this condition--it is a living hell--and yet treatment is the last thing she wants. I believe she's always seen Joseph as her safety and that he's always been. I can't see her killing or having her husband killed. If she were a lone wolf type, she would have spent large periods of her life living that way. She hasn't. She likes having a protector, even if she is fiercely independent in her thinking. And if there had been "another man" in her life, Baker would have found the emails. Nothing. So, no other man. That theory's blown. Summer McStay has been demonized. Early on, there might have been reason to do that. Now there really isn't. She is a person dealing with mental illness as best she can and she's probably lived most of her life in fear--fear of her own out-of-control emotions and fear of others.

5. Joseph McStay. Joseph McStay comes across as the most likeable sort of man you could ever meet-- loyal and dedicated, hardworking, creative, trustworthy, smart, a good father and mindful of envirnomental concerns, the "bigger picture." But even saints can snap. His health was apparently failing (he also suffered from asthma) and he seemed to suffer from some undiagnosed condition that was causing him headaches. This could easily have been the HUGE stress in his life--there were so many stressors at that point. Others have posited that it meant Summer was poisoning him. I don't believe that but it's a theory to be entertained. Like all others. The Merida sightings point to a family all together and still alive. And again, no trace evidence was found in the house or the family vehicle. I can't see him doing it. I find this the most unlikely scenario out of the ones I'm presenting here.

6. A Person Committing Murder as a Result of the Child Abuse Charges Filed. This individual was exonerated and it's less common for someone to commit a reprisal murder in those circumstances. It's still possible. This individual would not speak with Baker. Did the police alibi him? Again, there's the possibility of a "hit." I think it's very unlikely.

7. A Random Stranger or Strangers. Could someone have been casing the house? The first painter "disappeared." Baker had heard the reports of illegal immigrants encamped back behind the Fallbrook house. He said he found no evidence of such encampments. Another person insisted the Bonsall area (where the family last stopped) is known for illegal immigrants and illegal activities. I could not find that verified online. Sure, you have illegals seeking citizenship. But to demonize other nationalities ("evil Mexicans killed them") seems cheap and easy. Again, no trace evidence in either the house or the vehicle. Why would a random stranger who plundered care about leaving blood in the house or other evidence? I agree with what the police said on this: usually they just kill you right in the house. They don't go to the trouble of kidnapping you. So, unlikely. And why would the family's bank accounts not have been drained then using either credit/debit cards or some other method. I would expect to see wire transfers into Mexico. The idea that the children were kidnapped for the sex trade seems totally unlikely to me. As others have pointed out, they tend to kidnap blond(e), blue-eyed kids. Plus, it's just the most far-fetched theory out there. And if a stranger kidnapped them, why would the last call have been made to Chase Merritt from the Bonsall area, J.M.'s most trusted business associate. It looks more like a goodbye call before the phones were pitched. Not that the McStays couldn't have been in further communication with Merritt and others through untraceable phones later.

So, with the above scenarios--if the McStays were murdered (and I still believe they're all alive, together and probably in Europe or Australia) who is the most likely individual to have perpetrated this--or to have commissioned it?

D.K. looks like the most likely suspect to me. Temperament. Motive. Behavior post-disappearance. Weird "first person" nature of "No Bodies, No Case." Money taken from accounts. Assumption of false identities to sell fountains he never planned on installing. Sold the business in J.M.'s absence with seemingly no right to do so. The nature and ugliness of previous threats showing his "take no prisoners" attitude.

C.M. had opportunity but I don't see a huge motive. Unless someone can prove he collected that $81k. Because he potentially knew Joseph was planning on taking off, unemploying C.M. in the process. Maybe there was a hidden, seething resentment at this. Maybe he saw this as a betrayal, but hid those feelings from J.M. That unanswered call (he admits he usually answered J.M.'s calls but wanted to "spend time with his wife that night") could have been placed by him to himself as a "ghost alibi." Or, I hate to say this, but hired murderers are known for making follow-up calls to let the person who commissioned the hit that "the deed is done." And initially law enforcement said that was like a minute call. Placed in the Bonsall area, which would be a strange place for the family to stop, according to most. If there were a hired killer, he could have been told to use Joseph's own phone to make the verification call. C.M. needn't even "pick up" if the signal was that a call meant the deed was done. Then the Mexican killer heads to the border, leaves the vehicle and is gone. This worries me because the simplicity of this explanation seems to satisfy Occam's razor.

If this horrible scenario is true, then yes, bodies could be in the Bonsall area. Everyone keeps saying let's search that area thoroughly. But does it ever happen?

And no trace evidence was in the S.U.V.. Were they just marched out of the S.U.V. out in the middle of nowhere and killed outside the vehicle? Was the vehicle cleaned during the missing four days? Then that would have to mean the toys were bought to distract the kids by whom? A killer? Or were the toys there from Thursday? Or does this mean the bodies would actually be much closer to home than people ever suspected? Was the family marched out behind the house? Are there wooded areas? I would assume exhaustive perimeter type searches have been done, but sometimes you're surprised by the answer.

Of course, they could have been kidnapped and held somewhere else, killed somewhere else some time in that four day period and the vehicle cleaned up. Maybe not much clean up to do if the killings were done elsewhere.

I suppose since D.K. and C.M. are the most likely suspects, there is also the possibility they acted in collusion.

This is where the absence of a substantial reward (which could have been publicized in Mexico) would really hurt the case. Until Rick Baker offered a "real reward" there was only that ridiculous thousand dollar amount. And even that said "up to a thousand dollars." The reward might actually be a dollar.

Because if it really were a matter of a hit, people talk, hitmen brag, and that reward would probably seem pretty substantial to someone living a subsistence lifestyle in Mexico. The hitman could have been non-Mexican, of course, and the vehicle placed there as a red herring.

Let me end by saying I do believe they're all still alive and together, but one has to entertain other possibilities in the absence of certainty, and if one entertains such theories the above is how I see the various likelihoods of foul play--who and why.

Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this--and any corrections of course.

There are so many facts out now on this case--sometimes contradicting each other--so are they still facts?

With so many facts, it's easy to make mistakes.

For example, in the Huffington Post article, it was stated that the border crossing video shows the family of four exiting the vehicle and then crossing the border?

Could this possibly be true? I had always been under the impression the border crossing showed only the grouping of individuals (some say four, some say six but I don't see those outer two figures as "with" the grouping of four as some think) crossing the border. I can't see how it could have captured them "exiting from their vehicle" some three hundred yards away.

Can anyone clarify that the Huffington Post article got that wrong?

I would think they did. If they did not, then it increases the likelihood that the McStays voluntarily crossed into Mexico to about 99% or higher.

But I'm assuming that was an error.


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  3. Dear Mr. Keckler,
    I "came upon" (discovered) this blog last June or July.I was an
    "eavesdropper THEN,but would like to comment now after reading Rick Baker's book.I began to think that much of the info we have about this case has come from Mike McStay.He would not be the first socio-/psychopath
    to think he was smarter than LE.I have begun to believe HE may be the
    'villan of this piece".
    HE is the one who said he and Joe were close.HE is the one that
    said he didn't think anything of Joe's being on (as he put it)"a vacay"
    What better way to deflect attention from yourself then to set up a web-
    site to look for your mysteriously(supposedly)"missing" brother?
    I don't think looting your brother's bank account is a particularly loving
    Perhaps he did not act alone. Looting of bank accounts was an act of someone else as well. Perhaps there was another,unknown-to-the-public reason for Mr. McStay and Mr. Kavanaugh to join forces?
    I ,frankly,think that the McStays should have been found by now. If the Merida sighting is accurate,they were very careless. The same is true of the North Carolina sighting. I don't know if the picture you took in New Jersey is Joe McStay or not.I have a couple of 'just out of curiosity" questions I'd like to ask about that,though.
    How was your attention drawn to this man? Did you see him walking around or only in the water?Do you know if he was alone?Did he have a covering over his swim trunks(i.e. beach robe, sweatshirt/t-shirt,button-
    down shirt?
    Like I have said,the sightings(if it WAS they)show carelessness if the intention is to remain hidden.This story(to say the least) is deeper than we first knew.It will be interesting to see what the end of it will be(if it ever HAS an end.)(Any Typos are because I am a LOUSY TYPIST,not because I don't know how to spell)

  4. I'm back to thinking they are alive again. One bit that has emerged from all of this is how clearly people knew they weren't coming back, hence the money moving. It looks like (whomever) waited until they got where they were going to and then made the calls to report them missing which HAD to be done at some point let's face it. How would it look if no one bothered to report them gone?

    As to whether the McStays remained in contact with (whomever) after they reached their destination is not clear. Maybe they decided they could not risk exposure because the media had taken up the case and cut off communication but I would bet on them having contacted at least one person since they've been gone, probably not family members though and who can blame them?

    1. First of all,let me say that if it turns out that the McStays are alive,
      I will be "among the cheerleaders". My opinions on this case change FREQUENTLY.I DO NOT wish a particular outcome.I DO,however,
      have a question.
      For the sake of asking this question,(actually,two questions)let's
      assume that the family has gone to a place called X-land.O.K.They
      get to X-land,they are getting money (as you think)from someone in
      the U.S.
      Question#1--Why all the traveling?Why GO to the Carolinas,or-(if it
      WAS he)New Jersey?If you have gone through this elaborate ruse of "mysteriously going missing",why not stay put?
      Question#2--What is the purpose of the website?To have people looking for your supposedly missing brother,I get that,but by your
      own speculating,SOMEONE KNOWS where they are,so what's
      the point of having a"search for my brother " website?
      I await with interest anything anyone wants to say. Lousy typist

  5. KT, I agree. Thanks for your comments. Yes, Baker wrote me to tell me he nixed that. I think he did a really great job with the book. I just hope wherever they are they feel safe and are enjoying their lives together. I think there's a real love behind all those troubles, love between husband and wife, and love for their children. I think it's sort of inevitable that eventually they'll emerge. Kids grow up and move on. It's still a fascinating story. I think a lot of people think it's only fascinating if it turns out to be a tragedy. Even if it has a happy ending (and I think it will) it's STILL a fascinating story. That people can successfully disappear in an age when it's supposed to be impossible.

  6. Anonymous at 11:56: Money, dahlin! Note the Paypal donations button prominently displayed on that site. How many hundreds of thousands or millions do you think they got out of this. And only Baker posted any substantial reward. The family reward was always only "UP TO a thousand dollars." It could have been a buck. And the website drives traffic to the story and certain members of the family continue to bankroll money from segments produced on various unsolved mystery and other news shows.

  7. Very good thinking,...i learn something mew day by day about this case and iive had same thoughts on most of the things youve mentioned. I first thought those toys were bought earlier (btw,has anyone checked surveillance cameras in those toy stores?in the radius they were moving..about 100 kilometres? )... eather theyve bought them toys before and they were just left in the truck, cause they had no time to unload it,or,more likely to me, bought to distract kids from crying and panicing..why would they be like that?well..i dont think the man in the video is Joe..looks to me his wife had serious issues which i dont think can be repaired that much in such period of time..and he wasnt feeling that well that day,which raises some suspicions also. I think that eather they eloped,but not to mexico - they just wanted police to think so,thats why they parked near the boarder..or..the wife killed him...dropped him somewhere in the 4 days period, distract children with big big toys and eloped to mexico eather again with a new name and lover or she simply asked someone to hold the childs hand... the first thing i would do is to locate some of the cameras in the area so its clear if they arrived at the boarder together or at least were close to it,alive.if that is found,but now,with so much time passing,i dont believe it can be recovered..much of this mistery would be solved..oh,and btw, i was very dubius in his brother in the video.he seemed completely cold and distant...p.s. does any of you know what happened to the dogs?

    1. Tancka---I have read that by the time the police asked to see the tapes,they had been taped over,so they were unusable.
      The older dog,"Bear",I'm sorry to tell you,passed away about a year
      after the McStays left.The younger dog(I don't remember his name)was
      taken by family members.The article I read did not say who it was. LT

  8. I am beginning to think more and more that this is nothing but a BIG
    SCAM foisted on the public by more than one McStay.If that turns out
    to be the case,I hope LE can prove it and can put their asses in jail
    for a long time!!! The McStay website is FULL of notes saying how
    people are PRAYING that the family is found safe,and saying they
    keeping and eye out for them. These people want ONLY THE BEST
    for this family.I wouldn't want to be the McStays if this has been a
    big scam and these people find out about it!!!! "Lousy typist"

  9. William you alluded in the article to behavior "that could very easily lead to prosecution by the state, federal government or both".

    Would you care to elaborate on which behaviors and by whom and what possible charges could be? It blows my mind that with all of the bank account hi-jinks that went on in the days following their disappearance that none of the primary players has emerged from this with so much as a scratch. Thanks.

  10. I'm just going by what I read in the recent book. If those facts are accurate, then some of that behavior seems criminal. But "seems" is the operative word. If it's "he said that he said" and the second "he" is not hear to contradict, what use to attempt to prosecute when there will be serious doubt?

  11. So Bill, what is your take on the FBI taking this case over frmo the SDSD? Do you think they have a lead or has the heat become to much for the SDSD to handle these days with Rick's book etc.?,0,222000.story

  12. Hi. Thanks for the links from today's LA Times.

    Wow, that's current.

    I've always believed the FBI probably took a look at this case early on, discovered the whereabouts of the family, recognized it was a case of willful disappearance with no criminal activity (or none worthy of extradition) and just let sleeping dogs lie per policy.

    And, if that's the case, I would expect no change with the nominal change of who's "responsible."

    I don't believe the SDSD ever discovered their whereabout and with their limited resources that doesn't surprise me.

    They probably hate this case with a passion and they'll probably throw a party now that they've passed it on up.

    I've seen the quotes where various individuals lamented the man-hours and money spent. I don't mean they were unprofessional. They were basically just saying, to paraphrase, "We did what we could and you have NO IDEA how much we actually did do." I believe them on that.

    More press and the Paypal donations no doubt go KA-CHING! over at the website referenced in that article.

    Good for somebody.

  13. If it is true that the F.B.I.found out where the McStays are,"saw" they
    had left voluntarily and decided to more or less wash their hands of the case,why can't Mike McStay be prosecuted for fraud,because the website
    is to find people who have already been found?Would the feds allow this
    (the website ) to continue? L.T.

  14. Commenter on 5.5.13: You're presuming Michael McStay knows where they are with that question. Maybe he does not. Maybe they're alive and he is just genuinely ignorant/unsure of this fact.

  15. You don't think the F.B.I. would inform Mike McStay about where his
    family is?Why keep that info from him?

    1. That's very true and the fact that the FBI have taken over the case says they never did find them

  16. Bloody hell! the amount of variables in this case! if the bloody family/friends would stop being suspicious it might help matters i.e. Michael Mcstay and so forth. Why did Michael Mcstay take the computer? I think maybe we should skip all the 'what ifs' and do as you've done, focus on the facts.. no signs of foul play and some reasoning to want to pick up and leave. I think it's a good assumption to say they have left by their own volition. But saying that, if anyone wanted to do harm to them they had all the time in the world to do what they needed to do. The FBI wouldn't be going near the case if they didn't think a crime had taking place, that's how it works, right? so perhaps there's some new information that suggests they have met with foul play. Is there any new leads on this case?

    Great article btw, this is the only site i've found with all the information in one place.

  17. Thanks Siberian! I haven't Googled the case regularly lately (since I believe they're voluntarily missing and fine) so I don't know about updates. If they wanted to remain voluntarily missing and haven't done anything that would warrant an arrest, I don't see the F.B.I. coming out and saying, "We found them and they're fine." They might tell family members, but I don't think they would necessarily inform the public. Maybe they wouldn't even tell family members if the "missing" McStays request that they do not do so. Not sure. But what do I know. I don't have any F.B.I. rule book handy. You've focused on the simplest explanation, since they had multiple reasons to disappear and there were no signs of foul play. I don't see anything overly significant in the state of their house at the apparent time of departure. It's clear some family members have made quite a bit of money off this disappearance, and yet the reward always stayed at that ridiculously low amount. That was probably the biggest red flag of them all to me.

  18. Hi William

    I'm also interested in your responses to the questions asked by someone above, that have not yet been answered, namely:

    "I don't know if the picture you took in New Jersey is Joe McStay or not.I have a couple of 'just out of curiosity" questions I'd like to ask about that,though.
    How was your attention drawn to this man? Did you see him walking around or only in the water?Do you know if he was alone?Did he have a covering over his swim trunks(i.e. beach robe, sweatshirt/t-shirt,button-down shirt?"

    In addition, I'd like to know if he said anything to you after that picture was taken, as he appeared to be staring right at the camera.

    Thank you.

    PS: There was a sighting of Joe (only) in Mexico in early October; I personally believe he might be in New Zealand.

  19. Hi Anonymous at 3:31. I didn't realize I hadn't answered questions. Sometimes I read through comments fast and miss things before posting them. The short answer to your questions is I photograph EVERYTHING. I am a compulsive photographer. I take more than a thousand photos many days. Since this individual was the only individual in that part of the ocean (nobody on either side of him or in front or behind him for like hundreds of yards) he naturally drew my attention. A lone figure in the sea is generally a more interesting photo than droves of people in the sea. Plus, I wanted to use my zoom. I sort of sensed he caught me taking his picture after the fact or just as I was clicking the shutter. I try to be "sly" with it since only a small proportion of the photos I take are people...probably like two or three percent of photos. I"m generally much more interested in things than people when it comes to photography. Since I didn't see him out of the water (that I can remember anyway) I have no idea what he was wearing, who he was with,etc. I repeat that I couldn't really see the features of the man I was zooming in on, was just trying to construct the shot and let the face to itself....only when I got home and saw everythng up close and large did I note the uncanny resemblance. It's funny you say New Zealand, as I do get a number of hits from that country but I didn't really pinpoint to see what they're reading on my blog. They could be reading other things instead.

  20. Thanks for your response, William. For the record, I really do believe that it's him.

    I think he's in New Zealand because he seemed fascinated in the waves coming from New Zealand in that video he made where he's walking through his former neighbourhood, down to the ocean ... when he says the waves have come all the way for New Zealand, he sort of pauses ... like he's deep in thought at that prospect.

    He also tried to Trademark the term "Keewees" before abandoning it. New Zealanders are known as 'Kiwis'. Here is the link to that application:

    It's a bit of a random theory, but there are two quite plausible coincidences there that I think are worth exploring (particularly if DK's grandfather helped them in some way).

    New Zealand would be the perfect hiding place - sure, the North Island is heavily populated now, but parts of the South Island are so incredibly remote - it would be very easy to hide out down there. The surf's okay too.

    I've commented the same to Rick Baker but I don't know if he's read my comments. Hopefully they're of help for someone who has the ways to investigate further.

    I've also had a secondary thought - if the man in the border video isn't Joseph, it could be someone who helped the family cross the border, with Joseph waiting on the other side - or else staying back to tend to business in the States / issue instructions, before making the move. I don't think it looks like him, for the reason that the figure is too tall and skinny (the different hair could be explained by way that he had it cut).

    This case really intrigues me ... I hope they're found before the seven year mark - actually, assuming there is life insurance - either way though, that family is making a lot of money in the form of donations via their website ...

    I really enjoy reading your blogs - you're a fabulous writer! :-)

  21. Well, thanks for that info and the compliment! I hadn't kept up with Rick Baker's research but did stop in briefly tonight and saw all the hullabaloo relating to the government accessing his websites and I think there might have been a warning to "Back Off!" concerning the case, but don't quote me on the latter part. It seemed to be a deleted entry--or else I just wasn't looking in the same place. But I think it's interesting that his last post was soliciting info about who had made donations and how much. I wonder if that has to do with a pending lawsuit or something. Or if he's attempting to aid L.E. in sussing out some...well, what would that be? Mail fraud? I mean if it turns out anyone knew the whereabouts of the McStays and once still profiting via donations for "missing persons." This is ALL speculation and I have no inside knowledge. But I had been saying for a long time I didn't get them accepting the donations and then keeping the reward money at "UP TO a thousand dollars." In other words, if you found the McStays or gave them information leading to their discovery, you might get paid as much as a buck. Because there's no guarantee in "up to" that they're going to even pay out that paltry sum. And yet M.M. was clearly jockeying like an agent to get as much moolah as he could with that solicitation on the website for t.v. shows wishing to produce segments on the case. It leave more than a little bad taste in one's mouth.

  22. Hi William

    Check out Rick Baker's blog today for some VERY interesting developments (re bodies and where the "donations" are going to).

    Kind regards

  23. Oh William, I hope you saw Rick's blog when I posted my message to you - because now it's been removed! I hope he's okay - I'm quite worried about him.

    The revelations were - (1) he was investigating the fact that "donations" were going straight into MM's personal bank account; and (2) four bodies have been found in shallow graves (which I imagine is all across your news over there) ... they could be the McStays, but equally they may not be.

    MM was asked to go and look at the said graves ...

    But yet still the 'find the family' website remains updated ...

  24. The issuzu trooper was spotted back in feb 2010 in the high the story out of victorville...hopefully its not them.

  25. Sorry - mean to say ... " ... website remains UN-updated ..."

  26. Looks like they've been found.

  27. They were found today in the Mojave desert, seems that they might have been there for a while but they are still waiting for evidence

  28. This is so sad! Now all u theorist know the out come! :(

  29. It looks like Joseph McStay had been tied up.

  30. Horrific. There is a monster (or more likely two monsters) who need to eat their Cup-a-Soup on California's Death Row.

    1. I believe the perpetrator is MM. He acted very nervous at the press conference. He also predicted his brother and his family to lie in two shallow graves in some old interview. That's too much of a coincidence. Just wait and see. I think I might be right with my suspicions.

  31. WHY IS ANYONE STILL QUESTIONING WHETHER IT WAS MURDER? It's obvious that all four of the family members were murdered by someone else. (Nobody can kill 3 of their own family members, then kill his/herself, then bury his/herself after committing the murders). It was reported that "at least one set of remains taken out of one of the grave sites had been BOUND with an electric cord." (If you want the official source for this information, just ask and I’ll post the link to it.)

    RICK BAKER’S BOOK, “NO GOODBYES”: I've read Rick Baker's book, and there is a wealth of very "thorough" information and "confirmed statements" throughout the book that MOST LIKELY IDENTIFIES the killer--or at least an accessory(s) to the murders. If you keep an open mind when you read the book, and don't judge any of Rick's own opinions about the case, you will see that Rick most likely--and accidentally--stumbled onto the real killer by publishing so much information about ALL of the characters associated with the McStay's.

    EVIDENCE IN THE BOOK: I've gone over the book with a fine-tooth comb. I have lived and worked in all of the areas mentioned throughout the book. I can see a rather solid pattern of behavior of at least two of the individuals that Rick investigated. The solid pattern of behavior deeply correlates with the confirmed facts of all activity before and after the murders. These two individuals now appear to be very strong candidates as suspects for law enforcement.

    AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG: I see that the author of this blog has spent a great deal of time ironing out the details laid out in the book. He is also keeping an open mind, and instead of bashing Rick Baker, he's looking at what could be the "real" evidence. Then he breaks it all down for us.

    WHY ARE SO MANY FOLLOWERS OF THIS CASE SO “IGNORANT” IN THEIR OPINIONS OF THE AUTHOR, RATHER THAN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF WHAT EVIDENCE IS PUBLISHED?: I can’t help but believe that those who are bashing Rick’s book on Amazon are NOT keeping an open mind to the REAL WEALTH of information in the book. I personally don’t care what Rick’s “biased opinions” are. The evidence is there, ASIDE from his opinions. If you’re not thinking objectively, then of course you won’t be wise enough to distinctly separate opinion from actual evidence. For those “NARROW-MINDED” individuals who have bashed the book, perhaps you can go back to the book and parse through the reading in a more “educated manner” to enlighten yourself as the author of this blog has done.

    1. Very good! Although I didn't read the book and therefore I can't possibly know whom you're trying to refer to, I can only tell you I suspect the brother for his loose lips and more tha. Ervous demeanor at the press conference.

    2. If you want the official source for this information, just ask and I’ll post the link to it.)

    3. I would like the link please.

    4. Link to news article requested is posted here under the following snippet of info quoted in article:

      "Sheriff's officials close to the investigation confirmed at least one of the remains taken out of one of the grave sites had been bound with an electric cord."

  32. I would like to know where the info re: The Car being seen in the high desert, came from? There is a Ross department store there in Apple Valley. If you look at the area map, where the bodies were found, it is clear (to me) that the person had to have been to this place before. It wasn't just some a random place they pulled over, to kill a family of four at.This person or persons knew " The perfect place." I wonder why the graves were so far apart (20 feet)? I'm sure the placement of who is in each grave, is a big clue.Has any info on the money in the bank account come out? I heard that MM had been able to tap into it from the start. A reason to why he took the computer in the first place???


      Link to info about trooper being seen in high desert ...

  33. the white text on a gray background is very straining on the eyes.

    1. My gravest apologies. Allow me to offer you a complimentary mineral water?

    2. I'll have that water. I've enjoyed your theories. :)

  34. well now we know the whole family were killed the toys in the car large toys that were covered with the sheet .I believe they were taken out of another vehicle so they could put the family in there .I believe they were killed the same day they were taken I also believe they were killed in the desert.and the graves were were already made I think the police need to talk to dk and cm I believe they they did this

  35. Really, who didn't see this coming? It's probably the brother-what a sorry liar. Maybe with the help of the business manager, maybe not. I mean the brother told us in his own words, right after they came up missing what happened...they were in the desert buried in 2 shallow graves. Gloating? dropping clues? reliving fun times? FBI needs to go get 'em. If he's innocent, then make him prove it. That's what he gets for being a total tool.

    1. Tens of millions of people didn't see it coming. The SDPD didn't see it coming. I didn't see it coming. They had so many reasons to leave their lives behind, which ranged from upcoming legal problems to a business tanking to (allegedly) threats from someone with a rap sheet that includes the charge of attempted homicide. Of course, we were always bothered by the problems in this scenario: would they really leave their beloved dogs to fend for themselves and so on. I have seen people reason that when M.M. said that about the two shallow graves, he was talking about the parents and not the kids. The idea here is that he believed the kids might have been trafficked. I'll admit it's strange, but I don't think it necessarily points his direction. I think another suspect is about 99.9999% likely to be the killer. The only question for me is how many other people acted in collusion wit him. I'm fairly certain at least one other person did and I think we can guess who that is. But as to M.M., do you really think he'd be mentioning C.M.'s name in a suspicious way he does on the videotape when he's inside the house bouncing theories around? It would be the last thing he would do. He'd be covering. I think he's completely innocent of this crime. Whether he did anything unethical with regards to money after the disappearance...I don't know. But as to murder. I never really thought he had that in him and he wouldn't have worked the case this hard trying to get answers. Because things inevitably backfire when killers do that. He didn't do it. This was most likely an argument with J.M. that got way out of control and ended in J.M.'s murder. And then the actor of this crime knew there was no way Summer McStay was going to just accept this "I was the last person who saw him and he took off" business. Plus, probably Summer knew something was going down in terms of an awkward confrontation. So once J.M. was killed it was either be the obvious one who did it, or drive down there and take out the whole family, stage a disappearance. Because there's enough doubt there to keep it open for a long time (or I'm sure he hoped: forever). What would make someone go this far? How about if they've served two stints in prison and know what a shitty existence that is? And something they've done is now going to be exposed and they're facing prison yet again. They feel the rage of "Never again!" and then this shit goes down. I'm guessing Joseph was strong-arming him about something that happened that could have resulted in someone going to prison for a third stint.

    2. Oh, and if you're right and it is the brother...well then he did a perfect job of framing someone. It would be highly unlikely that he could set this frame up so perfectly that the "to be framed" individual was also the last person to see J.M. alive. And then the call made to C.M.'s house from the Bonsall area. And if you're going to focus on weirdly prescient statements or statement which seem to inidicate "too much knowledge," how about "I was the last person Joseph saw." He didn't say "I was the last person to see Joseph" (as one expect) or the "last known person" to see Joseph. "I was the last person JOSEPH SAW." That's much spookier to me than M.M.'s statement about the graves.

  36. It is too much of a coincidence that Joe was with Chase Merritt in Rancho Cucamonga that afternoon and the bodies are found in nearby Victorville.

    1. I don't think that in itself is "too much of a coincidence." But there is that statistical skew where the last person known to have seen a murdered person is more likely than others to have been the one who killed that person. So it doesn't "bode well." But obviously this isn't always the case. To me, it's much more convincing that the bodies were found in his "old stomping grounds." And the phone call made to him that night looks very suspicious, like someone attempting to set up an alibi. (ex. "Why would I call myself or why would Joseph call me if I weren't home?") If he didn't do it, it does seem as though someone sure wanted us to think he did. And, if that is the case, the person is sort of an evil genius of misdirection. If he did it, it was probably not planned. Probably an argument spun out of control and, with Joseph dead, he knew the trail would lead right back to him. But if the whole family disappeared...

  37. According to Rick Baker's book, JM purchased gas and a prescription for one of the kids around 4:30 PM. Was the medicine found at the house? This would be proof that JM in fact returned home, not his Trooper with someone else driving. According to the book Joey and Summer text each other at 5PM and 5:47 PM. So what was he doing for over an hour after picking up the prescription? Wouldn't a dad with medicine for his kid go right home? I feel that Joey was accosted some time after picking up the prescription. Summer texts him to ask where are you? we're waiting. The attackers return to the home with the Trooper (possibly telling Summer that Joey has been injured) Joey is already dead. This explains the 2 hours now gone by. Summer believes these guys are here to help. She leaves the dogs out but remembers to lock the doors. At some point Summer may have sensed what was happening and goes wild. She may have started screaming. The killers panicked. It could have happened this way . . . no greedy business partners, no jealous brother, no deal gone bad. Just bad luck.

    1. Also, we don't know who's doing any texting to Summer at that time. That could very well be the killer making sure she has the front door unlocked (his "arms are full" or something like that).

  38. Thanks for your comment. I think it would be an extremely wild coincidence that the bodies then end up several hours back in the OTHER direction, buried (with special digging equipment, no less) wi thin a matter of a very FEW miles of C.M.'s house and stomping grounds (and allegedly right in an area where he loved to shoot). The most likely scenario is that he did it (or commissioned it) or else someone else did and wants us to THINK he did it. Because everything points to him.

  39. Fair points. Another factor to consider is the statement by police that one of the victims were bound with electrical cord. Allowing someone to tie your hands would mean an expectation to be freed after the perps getting what they want. Money, sex, the kids. If JM knew he was going to be executed I believe he would have resisted.
    The tying of the hands also leads me to more than one perp.
    I doubt someone you knew would tie your hands with cord.

    1. Re: the electrical cords and possibly allowing. I think you're probably right in that he thought that it was someone who could be reasoned with or satisfied. Like, "This is just about money, and then I'll let you go." This could point to someone he had previously trusted and had trouble imaging killing him. Or he could have just been subdued by force. Summer would have been more likely I would think to submit (but who knows). . Even the way he or they dug separate graves seems psychologically telling...or that they dug graves at all. But making multiple graves definitely seems psychologically meaningful, telling. I don't think this was planned. This is of course a guess, but I think Joseph was set to broach a very unpleasant subject about money and possibly even something that could end with someone going (back) to jail. And that this resulted in the murder of Joseph. My guess is that Summer knew the serious nature of the conversation that was going to take place, and thus she would know INSTANTLY if Joseph were reported missing, who had done it, and would tell the police the same. This is why I think she and her kids (who could i.d. this person) were killed. But if it's not that, it's probably the other person who owed Joseph a great deal of money wanting us to think it's the most likely subject. I don't believe there's any way the two of them are in collusion since they have both thrown shade at each other. Whether D.K. is involved as co-actor of the crime or accessory is anyone's guess. But it would not be surprising to me if he were.

  40. If CM did it why would he voluntarily take a polygraph? No one is that good at thinking he could beat the test. There have obviously many coincidences in this case. Maybe the terrain of Victorville area just fits the lifestyle of bad people. The bodies weren't buried in Beverly HIlls.
    By the way any answer on the Amoxycillen? was it found at home?

  41. If CM did kill them all (or commission the act) then he is almost certainly a stone-cold sociopath. There are possible indications in his known path that he very well may be that sort of creature. Standing over here, I can't know. But there are some of the signs. One of the primary traits of true sociopaths is they like to dare, they love risk. And so they do things like offer to take polygraphs--or give interviews to the media. Because they suffer from that over-confidence syndrome. Oddly enough, sociopaths stand a better chance of beating a polygraph than non-sociopaths. You can read elsewhere online about the science behind this. I don't buy the "bad people" terrain hypothesis. Killers will often put bodies in out of the way areas with which they have a longterm familiarity. I have read some reports that a prescription med needed by Joseph was (possibly) found in the vehicle when it was recovered near the border. But they didn't say this was Joseph Jr. I never heard anything at all about it being found at home.

  42. It is also interesting that CM 'told' his story to the British tabloid The Daily Mail. This indicates to me that he was paid for the story. It does show his actions to be monetarily driven.

    1. Hell yeah, he collected again. And if you believe (as Baker seemed to believe in his book) that he flew over to Saudi Arabia to finish that job out of good, old-fashioned American morals, I have a couple bridges to sell ya. I totally think that eighty-one thousand dollars ended up in his pocket. D.K. claims he was in Hawaii, but that doesn't rule out a commissioned hit on his part either. He claims all that money moving around was totally with M.M. (and his mother's) knowledge and under their supervision. If true, this seems to make him appear much less sinister. But he's still clearly a creep if those emails in Baker's book are genuine.

  43. It's not easy to do all this armchair detective work without all the facts. Question: was the prescription medicine for the kid(s) found at the house? It was reported the medicine found in the car (on the rear hump in the floor was for JM's asthma) This is crucial in determining if JM actually made it home.
    It's not so much of a coincidence that JM was with CM then the bodies are found in CM's area if the killers followed JM from the business meeting. Baker's book says JM called his mom from somewhere on I-15. This seems to indicate at least at this point he was clear of CM and hadn't yet encountered the killers. Where did that phone call ping from?
    Another question: JM has recently moved. Was his new Fallbrook address on his driver's license or other ID? I doubt JM would give the killers his home address. Even under threat.
    Baker's interview with CM talks about the 8:30 PM phone call from JM. Did CM volunteer the information about that call when being questioned by police or did the police question him after they had obtained the phone records? I'm sure the police would not have mentioned that call but rather would see if CM did.
    Finally, anyone who owns a cell phone ( particularly one with a touch screen dialer) knows this:
    Rub your hand over the screen a few times, or put the phone in your back pocket then sit down and what happens? Exactly, you 'butt dial' the last person you called. JM's phone could have dialed CM when the phone was thrown out the window and hit the pavement.
    I do not believe the family was killed by someone they knew.
    It seems the murder of this beautiful family needs a sinister answer to make any sense, but senseless might be the best way to describe it.

    1. The police aren't going to give the public "all the facts." I'm guessing you know that. If you follow the logic of what you typed about J.M. not giving his home address to those he feared would do his family harm, then it should naturally follow that the killer or killers knew exactly where they lived (and were probably familiar with them, since they had just moved in). That call to C.M. was never answered. I don't believe it was a pocket dial. That theory's been floated before. Phones are extremely unlikely to pocket-dial when thrown; that's like a coin landing on edge. They dial when they're pressed or pushed by accident. If this was a "hit" commissioned by someone, that could very well have been the "signal" call indicating "the deed was done." It makes sense...use the victim's own phone to make the call (it's agreed beforehand C.M. won't answer) and he'll know "all is well." Any odd calls from payphones or strangers or Mexico would certainly have set off L.E.'s alarms. But a call from J.M. has the opposite SEEMS to allay suspicions. For me, it has the exact opposite effect. There's no way the bodies being found up there were coincidence. These were not strangers. Either C.M. did it or commissioned it (or was in cahoots) or someone wants us to look directly at him in this brill last gesture of misdirection. But if it is misdirection, it implies the person would have wanted the bodies to be found. So if the "tip off" about the bodies wasn't really a random motorcycylist (or a motorcyclist who cannot really be found) maybe that was the indication someone was getting impatient. This could be related to that makes us look a different direction, much closer to home. But again, that's only if it's misdirection. Probably it is exactly who it looks like it is.

  44. I love to argue so hear goes(even disagreeing is good if it helps solve this or just sets off a lightbulb with either of us) . . . according to your theory the killers are sophisticated enough to place a 'signal' call from the victim's phone but then drive the victim's car 150 miles to the Mexican border. It just doesn't make sense. It seems to me the killers were desperate, fleeing in the victim's car, which, if stopped they would have no way of explaining why they were driving the Mcstay vehicle. They probably would have killed a police officer had they been stopped on the way to Mexico.
    Also to debunk the 'too much of a coincidence theory' about the bodies being buried in CM's area . . . if I go visit my brother who lives about 75 from me, then disappear and eventually my body is found near his home, is that too much of a coincidence? Did my brother kill me? No it is completely logical . . . I was in that area and met with violence. It's only looks bad for my brother if he had a real reason to kill me or if there was evidence we were arguing that day. JM was clear of CM based on his later actions, stopping on I-15, stopping for gas, picking up a prescription.
    The mystery now lies in how the killers got to Summer.
    Your thoughts?

    1. On my way out the door (truly, not a cop out). It doesn't take sophistication to place a "signal call." If someone paid for something, they want acknowledgement the hit went through. But I think it's more likely the person did this himself. The car at the border looks totally staged. There was no desperation in the way the vehicle was parked at the strip mall. They deliberately avoided all the video cameras, not an easy thing to do. Where the bodies found was nowhere near where the family lived. IT was the long drive he had supposedly he had just taken home which makes that coincidence so unbelievable.

  45. Lousy typist here.I was saddened when the McStay's bodies were found.I was DOUBLY
    saddened to "see" that the boys were dead,
    too.There IS NO EXCUSE for killing those babies!! NONE . Do I think Chase Merritt is
    the guilty party? He MAY have been involved,
    but I think others may have been involved,too.
    Is it possible Merritt was framed? I would say
    theoretically yes.I just think there are too many
    questions surrounding other people in this case.
    Perhaps it was decided by others in this case that Merritt was the best person to "take the
    Mr. Keckler,I'd like to ask you something I
    have wondered about. If you consider what I ask to be too personal,I apologize.I don't know
    of any other way to contact you.
    You mentioned earlier on this blog that you were an inveterate photographer.Did someone give you a camera as a child and you loved it ever since,or did you start photography as an
    adult? You have mentioned that you are bi-polar. Is the photography a coping mechan-
    ism? Have you posted any of your photography
    online? If it were possible,I'd like to see it.
    THANK YOU for your time.Again,I am sorry if I overstepped. (Ms.) Jaye McGeehan

  46. Hi Jaye. I don't think Merritt is taking the fall. I think he did it. I would have included that other suspect (who shall remain unnamed here, but I think you know who I mean) but I believe he had an alibi for the time of the murders. He claims anyway that he was out of the country. But as to the possibility of collusion: I think there's a strong possibility. Because that other party acted as though he was certain they were not coming back, pilfered and raided and ultimately illegally sold the company. So there could have been an agreement beforehand that one hand would strike, and the other hand would take its share of the money and run. I don't think Merritt would be strong on computer skills either and that might have been important in dividing up the ill-gotten goods.But I think actual physical murder were doubtlessly Merritt. As soon as they found the bodies, it was clear who it was. Yes, the location could lead some people to think that was selected to frame Merritt. But notice how he immediately started doing the song and dance and going public then when people (like myself) were looking him up online and finding his address a hop, skip and a jump from those graves? And do you notice it was precisely THEN that he began throwing shade at Michael McStay, in an attempt to misdirect attention. That's when he started trying to make M.M. look creepily irresponsible...or worse. If he is in it with the other guy (you know who I mean) I wonder what will get him to give him up? If he's going to plead "not guilty" and fight it, he won't roll over on him until after he's convicted. I don't see them taking the death penalty off the table to get the other guy (if they were in cahoots). Especially since he didn't physically commit the murders. But if he does get convicted and then he lets us in on the little secret he had a buddy working the other end of things, he might roll over on him for any type of preferential treatment in prison (choice of prison, size of cell, etc.). Who knows.

    About photography: I loved doing it as a child (it was all film then). Then I did it sporadically through the years. I used to love to make art Polaroids and have a bunch of them put away somewhere in this house. Photography is a lot more than coping mechanism for me, but yes it is that as well as the other things. It is a rich form of expression and a way of sharpening seeing and clarifying thinking (for me). Dorothea Lange said, "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." I think that is my favorite quote on photography. You can see my work on my Flickr (just Google "William Keckler" "Flickr") or on my Tumblr (The Visual Virgin). You didn't overstep. Thanks for your comment and for reading the blog. Sorry if I sounded presumptuous in outlining my own ideas re the McStays/Merrit here. (reply continued below)

  47. I understand you think/feel differently. Maybe you're right. But I read him as guilty as hell and he's always struck me as creepy and hollow. It's hard to pinpoint where the difference is with sociopaths, but I feel that difference when I hear him speak or see him speak. And he clearly really, really hated Summer McStay. Even after murdering her, he had to have that mercenary jerk of a ghost-writer help him libel her and try to run her into the ground. She was a good person who had her own personal struggles (probably with borderline personality disorder). She was a good mother and wife. I think we can see who the monster is now. Although that other employee of Joseph's is also monstrous. It really makes you realize you should be damn careful who you choose to work with. Even if they come cheap and know how to cut corners. Joseph probably thought he was being a great guy giving a down by law guy like Chase a chance. And look where it got him. May he rest in peace. Money was the primary motive, but I suspect there might have been something C.M. did that Joseph wasn't going to remain quiet about or wasn't going to accept. And I think the threat of going back to prison might have been the trigger. But it could have just been greed. I wonder if he scooped the money up on that big lucrative contract and then deposited it in an offshore account. It might have been such a money trial that finally got them to close in on him.

  48. Hello,William,
    "Mercenary jerk of a ghost-writer"?Gee,you're
    a compliment-throwing devil,aren't you(GGGGG)
    I have to say Mr.B's behavior HAS been emo-
    tionally erratic at times.I also think some of the documents he has shared on his blog should
    have been kept private.
    What do you think about the behavior of Mike
    Mcstay and his mother? Selling off their stuff before(supposedly)they knew they were dead
    and Susan's comment to Summer's mom and
    sister that Summer wouldn't need her pos-
    sessions where she was? Something occurred to me about speculation about one person 'Rol-
    ling over" on another.Suppose someone said
    to CM,"Roll on me and your family dies". It
    MIGHT stop him.
    About your photography: I REALLY ENJOY-
    ED looking at the pictures! I only looked at some of them,but they were GREAT! You have a good eye!! It was interesting to see artwork
    on buildings. They don't have that where I live
    (a town northwest of St. Louis in Missouri.)Can
    I ask where you took those pictures,or would you prefer not to say?
    It will be interesting to see how the trial goes. L.T/Jaye

  49. Hi Jaye. Thanks for the compliment and the speculation here. I'm not so sure Joseph's mother made that disturbing comment. You know how things are often given out wrong in cases like this. If she did, it might have been in a moment of despair. But it's clear she hoped for their safe return right up to the moment the bodies were found, so I don't think she knew anything. I'm not quite sure what M.M.'s motives were with moving so many important things out of the house (whether they were self-serving or whether he was "playing detective") but I blame L.E. for letting him compromise the crime scene, not him. I doubt anyone is pressuring C.M., but who knows. We'll have to wait for the trial to see if a hint of a network emerges. I think several people acted as though they knew the McStays were not coming back, and that definitely includes D.K. So that's very disturbing. But he could have guessed what happened, whether or not he knew the particular circumstances. It might have just been opportunistic crime after the fact. It's a little worrisome that this is probably going to be a circumstantial case, but you can get a conviction with that. If the circumstances are completely overwhelming, juries will convict. I bet they have enough of a trail with the money and then who knows what sort of phone recordings they have. I'm sure C.M. was monitored quite a bit. I would not be surprised one bit if rental of digging equipment in the week the McStays disappeared (or some other form of access of the same) plays a big part in convicting him. He had to have used a certain type of equipment (they narrowed it down by the tracks). And then even on the video there was talk of the white pickup resembling his being at the house that evening (no?) where M.M. says "Chase has a truck like that." So many little things like this,, not to mention the huge thing of where the bodies were found and how he SHOT out of his hole to do press right after that happened, to start trying to misdirect. It doesn't really matter whether he passed/failed that lie detector test early on (think he did "show deception" though). He volunteered. It's a funny thing. Sociopaths can pass those things and they do often volunteer to take them. They're wired differently and they don't react the same way the rest of us do to stress. Hey, it's fiction but remember Hannibal slashing away with that knife when he escapes and his bodily functions (he was wired up) never even altering. Same principle. Why they can do things that make the rest of us throw up even thinking bludgeoning a family of four to death.

  50. I want this whole ugly story to make sense but I'm really confused. I've read that Joey left at noon on Feb 4, 2010 for his meeting, and then the Isuzu is caught on surveillance leaving at 7:47pm - so when did the Isuzu arrive home? Is there any proof that Joey was the one that drove the Isuzu home? I read that Summer called him from the home phone at 4:25pm and I'm wondering if he answered and where his cell phone ping would put his location. I read that Summer and Joey exchanged texts around 5pm and 5:47pm and wonder if it was really Joey texting back and again where the pings would put his location. Allegedly one of the bodies had their hands tied with electrical cord and although people are guessing it was Joey, I'm thinking that CM had already killed him and it was Summer who was bound. Also I'm really stuck on Joey's cell phone call to CM at 8:28pm. The cell phone ping puts Joey's cell phone at the house which means that someone returned the phone after he had left at 12 noon. Would CM have had enough time between leaving at 7:47pm to return to the house to make that call at 8:28? I also read that Summer and Joey's cell phones were not recovered at the house or the grave site, and that Summer's cell phone registered pings that put her location far from the house. Who went back to the house to get their phones? This all sounds petty, I'm sure, and I'm not the brightest crayon in the box - but it seems to scream at me that either someone was helping CM murder this sweet family or someone was trying to help him clean up the crime scene. Lastly, the DA seems confident that the family died with blunt force trauma with a common house hold object (think: hammer) and forensics can prove that point, I'm sure, but I'm not seeing enough proof here to convict CM. They are saying that they do not have a smoking gun (think: murder weapon with CM's fingerprints) but have something "definite" to showcase CM's guilt - what the heck does that mean? I do want the guilty party punished, and do feel that CM's guilty, but I also feel like the delay to alert police of the family missing, the cleaning up of the house by the family, the withdrawals and money transfers from Joey's account, and various "inappropriate" comments made by MM are all important clues, too. Sigh.

    1. Hey, thanks for your comment, and you focused on an important frame of time that has me seriously wondering too. I had always envisioned it that C.M. and J.M. argued and then J.M. was murdered at the time of the meeting up north. But then there are those text exchanges between Summer and Joseph (if that info is verified). I thought the same thing that you did, "Was that really Joseph? Anyone can text and fool you." But I think it was stated that J.M. picked up a prescription for his ill son on the way home. And if that was the case, you knoiw that wasn't C.M. and that Joseph probably did make it home. I think this prescription was found in the vehicle at the border but don't quote me on that. I'm sure that's a known fact. But it's possible there was a dispute and that C.M. let it "sink in" and then came down to Fallbrook and murdered the entire family (not just three of them) there in their home. In the one video clip, a neighbor reports seeing a vehicle that resembles Chase Merritt's there that evening (Michael McStay thinks of Chase right away when he hears the vehicle description). About the phone pings. That one after eight was not at the house. It was in a somewhat deserted location by a bridge. It's sort of a scrubland. Many felt their bodies were there initially. I think that was C.M. calling himself to establish a "ghost alibi." Yes, it could be a mess and I have this sinking feeling it's going to be a circumstantial case, but I also think it will probably be a circumstantial conviction, as well. There are just too many things which place C.M. at the center and I'm sure we're going to see hella motive with money as well. C.M. did not fly over to the Middle East to "complete the work" out of the goodness of his little heart. He had to have made a score there. And it was probably all his.

  51. I have heard that the medicine found in the Trouper was Joe's asthma medication,not
    the child's medicine,but that could be wrong info.
    Regardless of what you think of "Mister B.",
    he brings up two good points on his blog. He
    doesn't think CM could have killed the family,
    cleaned up the crime scene SO WELL that LE
    couldn't find signs of a crime,hauled the bodies out to the desert,and dug the graves by himself.
    Also,he asks the question How did CM get from the mall where the car was found back to
    where he lives,or back to Fallbrook? I hopeLE
    has answers!!! Jaye

  52. Hi Jaye, The prosecution said "He sure could" and they will show us how. I think we will have to wait to see. He had a lot of time to clean up that scene, actually, and there were a number of days before that SUV showed up at the border. It didn't go there that same night. "Regardless of what you think of Mister B.?" I assume the "you" there is the generic "you," since I have not expressed negative thoughts about "Mister B." I worry about his mental health with regard to how vehemently he seems to feel towards M.M. I don't think that's healthy for him (or anyone) to feel that kind of rancor. I realize they've had some really nasty exchanges in the past, including legal threats both ways, but that sort of negative energy can eat one up and make one sick, etc. It's not really something he needs in his life, I'm sure.

  53. Isn't "Mister B(aker the "mercenary jerk of a ghost-writer" you were talking about before.
    I AGREE TOTALLY about his fixation about certain people.I have thought before that for
    whatever reason,this case has "turned his mind".Yes,the "you" IS generic.

    1. Not at all. I was referring to the (nameless) individual who was clearly writing the book for/ with Charles "Chase" Meredith. That's what a ghost writer is, not someone who publishes a book he or she has actually written. I'm assuming the ghost writer for Merritt's book would have been a reporter from the Daily Mail, someone he met doing those tabloidia articles. I had never read or heard anything about Rick B. ghost authoring that book for Chase, which I certainly hope was not on his agenda (all moot now). So...misunderstanding there.

  54. Yes,it was a misunderstanding. I didn't know CM had been involved with a book. Have you read it? What does HE put forth as speculation about what happened? I wonder if he uninten-
    tionally gave himself away.(actually,now that I think about it,I think maybe he is too smart
    for that.
    There is something that occurred to me as I
    was reading previous posts.In the 11/21 at 11:35
    post,you said you blamed LE for letting MM into
    the crime scene.If I remember correctly,MM was in the house before LE was even called.He
    could have done a lot THEN. Jaye

    1. I'm not sure if that book was even published (i.e. made available online). I remember seeing press that implied it was at one point. I did not want to contribute in any financial way, so I had no intention of purchasing a copy. Lots of people could have been inside the McStays house before L.E.. Certainly the killer was--and possibly multiple times before M.M. and others were inside.

  55. Hi,William,
    Happy New Year!!! I guess we should all hope that Mr. Ramos gives up his "extra-curricular
    activities" and puts all his focus on the trial!!! Has there been any indication of when the trial
    will be? Jaye

    1. Hi Jaye. Happy New Year to you and yours, as well. I have no idea about the trial date. It's going to be a difficult thing to witness/learn about, I'm sure, for those who don't already know the tragedy that lies at the heart of it. It's still unfathomable to me, and always will be, that human beings can do these things. And yet the news is there to refresh this horrible truth every day, should one have any doubts or any hope that serious change is occurring.Sorry, bad thoughts for the New Year. I had this optimism when the 21st century started, that somehow the "new one" might be different. And then we virtually started it off with 9/11. Let's hope this is indeed a rehearsal for the Next Life. A very bad, bad rehearsal.

  56. In the past week,William,we have "seen" that
    man's inhumanity to man knows no bounds.I
    think they should come up with a new kind of
    punishment for people who become radical-
    ized and then go off and bomb people.
    I want to ask you--are you aware of any blogs or chat rooms dealing with current
    events? I like to read other people's opin--
    ions. Jaye

    1. Ah, yes indeedy. The news is just an exercise in masochism anymore. If it's like this with 7 billion people, imagine what it will be like twenty years from now. It will probably be an hourly event. Don't know any particular ones to recommend. I'm sure there are a bazillion. Reddit is pretty fast-paced and news-based and assimilates things as they happen. It's just finding which Reddit suits you,since every group on there is a different universe.

  57. Hi,William,you don't have to post this message. I
    just wanted to say that wherever you are,you are warm and dry. Jaye McGeehan

    1. Thanks, Jaye. We didn't get much snow at all. It's a lovely sunny day and I've been out and about. Hope you are doing well. I am very much looking forward to spring though, since I love the sun and walkabouts. ;p