I have always loved True Crime stories and Forensic shows. I often watched these types of shows with my mom in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. As I became an adult and had more responsibilities, I started watching shows that were less real to take my mind away from the stress of the world. Recently I have found myself venturing to the ID or OWN channel, watching TC for hours. If I couldn’t find a good show to watch on TV, I’d start trolling the internet. I often ended up on YouTube which surprisingly has a wealth of documentaries and TC stories.

YouTube offers suggestions to the side of similar videos and this is where I first encountered the McStays. I watched their story on Disappeared and 1 hour later I was like WTH happened to these people? I immediately started looking on the internet, hoping to find that this family had been found, sadly to no avail. Hours later, I couldn’t get this mysterious disappearance out of my mind. I ran across the E! Investigates documentary which was even better than Disappeared. By the end of it, I was much more confused and much more intrigued as to what happened to this family. For those unfamiliar with this case, please read here: 1 year later, The McStay Family disappearance still a mystery

So what the heck happened to them? I’ll try to break down what we know below.

General info we know about the family so far:

  • Joseph and Summer had been together 7 years, married for 3 at the time of their disappearance
  • Joseph nor Summer appeared to have any shady business
  • They both loved their sons
  • Summer was very overprotective of her boys
  • She did not like Mexico {she said no when friends suggested a fam vacation because she didn’t feel like it was safe}
  • She didn’t particularly like being of the Hispanic orgin
  • She was often described as being eccentric
  • Joseph and Summer appeared to be close with their families
  • Joseph’s business was booming
  • Summer was considering going back into real estate
  • They appeared to be happy with no troubles in their relationship
  • They previously lived on the Beach
  • They moved into their Suburban home November 2009, Summer didn’t appear to love the idea of moving from the beach
  • They had animals who they adored. Summer often regarded Bear as her first child

What we know the day of February 4th, 2010 + after:

  • February 4th, 2010
  • Morning: Summer spoke with her sister and was in the process of planning a visit to see her new baby
  • Noon: Joseph leaves home for a meeting with a business associate
  • 2:36 pm, Summer’s credit card was used at Ross’s buying kid toys and baby clothes
  • 3:56 pm, Summer searched for kids toys on Craigslist
  • 4:25 pm, Summer called Josephs cell phone from the house phone (the last number called)
  • 5:00 pm – 5:47 pm, Summer and Joseph text back and forth
  • 7:47 pm, A neighbors security camera catches the Isuzu leaving the cul-de-sac//The occupants are not visable
  • 8:28 pm, Joseph calls an employee to discuss work. The cell pings from the Fallbrook tower
  • Nobody has spoken to the McStay’s since
  • February 5th – 8th 2010, Family and friends send text and try to call
  • February 13, Josephs brother Michael goes over to the house, crawls through an open window but nobody is home. Eggs are on the counter and two popcorn bowls on the couch as if the boys were eating popcorn and watching TV. Summer’s glasses are on the counter. It looks like they left in a hurry but would be back. He also discovers that the dogs have been left out without food or water which is highly unusual.
  • February 15th – Michael reports them missing
  • February 18th: Cops obtain warrants for the house, computers, cars etc.

This is what they find after investigating:

  • Over 100,000 is left in the bank. None of their bank accounts or credit cards have been utilized (still that way to date)Someone searched for info regarding kids crossing the Mexican border on January 27th
  • Summer had changed her name several times–although the police don’t appear to be concerned after investigating
  • Summer bought a Rosetta Stone disc via Craigslist and had it delivered to Joseph on the Soccer field 6 days before the disappearance
  • Summer contacted a homeopathic company asking for a drug called “Anger”
  • In the past year Joseph started having vertigo type symptoms, even being hospitalized for a couple of weeks
  • A friend helped paint on 02/03 and promises to return on 02/06–this was the last time anyone saw the McStays
  • The detectives also are contacted by Border Patrol, they have a surveillance camera of a man and woman each holding a child’s hand crossing over the Mexican border on February 8th, 2010 @ 7pm. It has a strong resemblance to the family. Summer’s clothing was very similar to the lady on camera as well as the beanie caps the kids and man wore on their head. You be the judge, here’s the video: McStay possible border sighting
  • The detectives also learn that the family’s white Isuzu was parked in a parking lot, two blocks away from the border. Security for the lot estimates that it was parked between 5:30 – 7pm

To date, there have been many people who claim to have seen the McStay’s. A missionary swears that she saw the McStay’s in Merida @ Wal-Mart. She only remembers it because she heard Joseph speak English to his son. She then saw them at the checkout line and again in the parking lot getting into a blue minivan. She said that they appeared to be a normal family. This lady was very believable and when she saw the pictures, she was positive those were the people she encountered.

There were many alleged sightings of the McStay’s in Costa Rica. Lisa Ling went down to investigate the possible sightings and to ask questions. She comes in contact with an old friend of Joseph’s who says that he hadn’t heard or talked to them but I’m not so sure he is being truthful. He gave a sly look to the camera that did not sit well with me. Ling runs into a dead end and left with no other clues.

I’m not sure why but I can’t get this story out of my mind. I am baffled by some of the facts and the lack of facts. This story seems so mysterious and plain odd. What happened to the McStays? If it is them going across the border, where were they from Feb 4th after 8pm to February 8th around 7pm? Why didn’t they contact their family and friends once they realized everyone was concerned?

Some of the possibilities are:
Witness Protection Program – According to the cops, they checked with the FBI and the McStay’s are not in the WPP. Would the FBI tell if they were? I think they might release that information to the cops but wouldn’t think they could relay it to anyone else. If they were in the WPP then there has to be a reason for them to remain “missing.” By relaying that information to the family, it would most likely get out and the McStay’s could be in more danger.

Shady Business Dealings: Although there is not any trace of the McStay’s being in business with shady partners, I suppose it is a possibility. One thing I was more interested in was the business partner he had a meeting with on the day of the disappearance. In my opinion, there was not a lot of info about this person. Could he or she have been a suspect? Chances are no seeing as they were not focused on (unless the cops have a reason for not naming them).

Was Summer Shady?: I found it strange that she changed her name often and appeared to be very mysterious as a whole. Could someone from her past be the reason they disappeared? It would explain her frequent name changes. I like to think that she had nothing to do with this though. I just can’t fathom it. I was worried about the Rosetta Stone Craigslist guys. I remember reading that investigators tried to get in touch with the seller to no avail. Why wouldn’t they respond? There are so many what if’s and maybe’s in this case–it becomes frustrating.

Did The McStay’s Really Cross The Border: I think that this is a fair assumption. I remember the mom indicating that she didn’t think the guy was her son. She felt like the others were possible but… I truly think that they did cross the border but there is also Summer’s passport being expired and the kids not having passports. Are they under an assumed name perhaps? With this case getting so much press, I’d be shocked if they were not outed if they were in the states.

Did They Run Away?: Possibly. They appeared to walk across the border not under any duress and they have allegedly been spotted in several locations, especially Costa Rica. With Joseph’s health failing, did they run away to live out the rest of their lives? Why not contact your family to at least let them know that you are OK? If they are alive and well then I truly believe that they fear for their lives if they come out of hiding. They appeared to be a very close family. What else explains such a bizarre disappearance?

If they did cross the border but didn’t run away, why were they going into Mexico? Did they meet foul play once across the border? This case has kept me up at night thinking, going through the details and I end up more frustrated than before because nothing makes sense. I truly hope that this family is alive, well and TOGETHER. If they are alive, I wish they would let the family know something so that they can have some closure. I would be very interested in seeing this case solved and closed. My heart goes out to the family and friends of the McStay’s as well as the McStay’s themselves.