“They Knew a Crime Occurred”: Family Reacts to Released McStay Warrants

The grandfather of a Fallbrook family of four says he feels “disgust” for how the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department handled the investigation, and the search warrants released Friday reinforces his feelings.

“I’ve said it from day one San Diego didn’t want to be bothered.  [The Sheriff’s Department’s] own admission in those warrants…there was something. They knew a crime occurred,” Patrick McStay told NBC 7 over the phone. He lives in Houston, TX.

Joseph and Sunny McStay and their two sons Gianni and Joseph Mateo mysteriously vanished from their Fallbrook home in February 2010, prompting a nationwide search.

Court documents obtained by NBC 7 Investigates nearly five years after the deaths appear to contradict statements by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department about its investigation of the deaths of the family.

In a search warrant affidavit written four days after Joseph McStay’s brother reported the family was missing, Detective Troy DuGal informed a judge that he believed the family was “victim(s) of foul play” and that “some or all of the McStay family has been kidnapped or killed.”

Those statements are contrary to recent comments by San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, who just two months ago told NBC 7 investigators believed from the start that it was a “missing persons case,” not a homicide investigation.

“San Diego County Sheriff’s Department needs a serious house cleaning,” said Patrick McStay Friday. “If I have to put it in one word. It’s absolute pure unadulterated disgust.”

The Sheriff’s Department would not comment Friday about the apparent contradicting. NBC 7 spoke to retired homicide detective L.D. Martin to gain some insight. He said, he can only speculate, but he does not believe the new information necessarily reveals a contradiction.

“Realistically thinking, before the bodies were found -- and I’m just making a guess here -- I bet they covered as much as they could in their investigation looking at business, background lives, etc.” Martin said.

In November 2013, the McStay bodies were found in a desert near Victorville. The San Bernadino county Sheriff's Department took over the investigation and subsequently arrested Charles Merritt, Joseph McStay's former business partner.
Merritt now faces four counts of murder.

Back in November, Sheriff Gore told NBC 7 the discovery of the bodies provided San Bernardino investigators with important new evidence, that helped lead to a suspect.

Contact Us