FALLBROOK — Mike McStay tries to remain focused each day, being a good husband, raising three young daughters, running his fire-protection business in San Clemente and preparing the family for the adoption this summer of two young orphans from Ghana.
But for the past year, he has been haunted wondering what happened to his beloved older brother, who vanished a year ago Friday along with his wife and their two young sons.
Missing family case
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Joseph and Summer McStay of Fallbrook and their children, Gianni and Joseph Jr., are asked to call authorities.
• San Diego County Sheriff’s Department: (858) 974-2321 or (858) 565-5200 after hours.
• Crime Stoppers: (888) 580-8477. Tips can be called in anonymously.
Gianni (on top) and Joseph McStay Jr.
The home of Joseph and Summer McStay on Avocado View Lane in Fallbrook is in foreclosure and empty, its contents distributed among family members. Nearly $100,000 remains untouched in a checking account that Joseph McStay had, his brother said.
The family’s young dog, a puppy when they disappeared, is being cared for by a friend. Summer McStay’s mom has the family’s older dog at her Big Bear home.
There have been no phone calls, text messages or e-mails from the family. The last credible lead on a possible sighting, which proved unfounded, came in October, Mike McStay said.
He maintains a website — mcstayfamily.com — with information about Joseph McStay, now 41; Summer, 44; and their children, Gianni, 5, and Joseph Jr., 4. The brother posts messages to them, like one Monday on the fourth birthday of his youngest nephew. Their disappearance baffles him.
“Joe just doesn’t do this kind of stuff,” McStay said. “He’s the guy that puts money away for a rainy day. He’s always been very wise with money, always good with people. … He’s just steady.”
McStay said the website gets about 4,000 hits a day. Although most people have been compassionate, some feedback has been negative. People have speculated that the parents must have had ties to the Mafia, or to a religious cult, suggestions McStay finds absurd.
“These are just normal, everyday Americans,” he said. “This is a loving family.”
Sheriff’s homicide Detective Troy DuGal is in charge of the case, working with the FBI and law enforcement in Mexico, where it is believed the family might have traveled to when they disappeared. He said he receives several tips a week and follows up on all of them.
“I am very hopeful this case will resolve,” DuGal said Thursday. “I am also very hopeful that it resolves soon. The longer this case remains open, the more concerned I become that the McStays may be victims of foul play.”
Four days after the McStays disappeared, their white 1996 Isuzu Trooper was found abandoned in a parking lot near the San Ysidro border crossing, child seats inside. The vehicle was paid for, as was the truck Joseph McStay used for his custom water-fountain business.
Records on the family’s computer show that the week before they vanished inquiries were made about passport requirements for traveling with children to Mexico. They also had a Spanish-language educational disc, DuGal said.
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