Thursday, December 5, 2013

McStay: Suspect in McStay Murder Speaks

This is from the Daily MailOnline news.   The quotes are enhanced by me for the point of emphasis, with Statement Analysis added to the article, in bold type. 

The Expected:  "I didn't do it" with the three components in place:

1.  The pronoun "I"
2.  The past tense verb "didn't" or even the emphatic "did not"
3.  Allegation answered:  "I didn't kill them" along with a few other clarifying denials about not knowing who did, etc.  

The interview was lengthy, though the article fails to give us many quotes.  How much better would it have been to let the subject speak for himself!  Few journalists realize how important one's own words are.

He said he was the last person to see Joseph.

How he knows this is for a different discussion.  

*******article***** 


He was the last person to see Joseph McStay alive, the last person Joseph called the day he went missing with his family and at one stage he was the prime suspect in their mysterious disappearance.

For nearly four years Joseph’s former business associate and best friend Chase Merritt, 56, has put up with accusations, gossip and outright lies, but has never said a word.
Now speaking exclusively to MailOnline – just a few miles from the secluded desert location where the remains of Joseph, wife Summer and their sons Gianni and Joey Jr where found last week - Mr Merritt has finally broken his silence.
Chase Merritt
I'm innocent! For nearly four years Joseph’s former business associate and best friend Chase Merritt has put up with accusations, gossip and outright lies, but has never said a word
In an explosive interview, the man with the greatest insight into the now notorious case, has told how: 
  • He spent an hour-and-a-half with Joseph the day he vanished and spoke to him a further three or four times on the phone
  • Joseph called him at 8.28pm the night he disappeared, but he didn’t answer, something he regrets to this day
  • He was the one who first went round to the McStay’s house, realized they were missing and helped the family call the Sheriff
  • He gave a lie detector test to police because they were convinced he knew where the McStays were
  • He completely dismissed security footage showing the family apparently crossing the Mexican border, saying it definitely wasn’t them, because Joseph ‘walked like a duck’
  • Joseph had no financial pressures - their business was doing better than ever and they had just landed a huge foreign contract
  • He is convinced he will be hauled in for another round of questioning by detectives
Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and children Gianni (left) and Joseph Jr vanished in 2010 from their suburban Californian home with little clue as to where they had gone
Mystery: Merritt says he spent an hour-and-a-half with Joseph McStay on the day he disappeared with his wife Summer and children Gianni and Joseph Jr in 2010 from their home in Fallbrook. Merritt says Joseph was hugely excited and happy and gave no clues to trouble
Chase Merritt
Regrets: Merritt says he regrets not taking the last call from Joseph McStay - because he was watching a film and Joseph talked for a long time
The case of the McStay’s has gripped the nation, since they vanished without trace on February 4, 2010.
No one can explain how a seemingly normal suburban family who only moved into their new home in Fallbrook, California, three months earlier, could be living a regular life one day and then vanish the next. 
They took none of their belongings, left $100,000 in the bank and even abandoned their beloved dogs.
The case has sparked endless speculation, with both the police and amateur sleuths coming up with countless theories, some plausible, some wild and outrageous. 
When the McStay’s car was found in San Ysidro on the Mexican border four days after they were last seen and security footage of a family of four an hour later heading into the Central American country surfaced, the idea they had left of their own accord gained momentum. 
Then it emerged that the McStays had searched on their home computer about travelling to Mexico with children and learning Spanish.  
But even then rumors of dubious dealings with Mexican cartels bubbled away. And when four skeletal remains were found in shallow graves in the remote Mojave Desert, San Bernardino County last Friday, it put an end to any belief the McStays had started a new life in the sunshine.
That is something Mr Merritt – who is now designing gold prospecting equipment - says he knew from the start. The talented welder met Joseph three years before his disappearance and went into business with him.
He made sought-after bespoke fountains, a product Joseph sold through his company Earth Inspired Products and before long they were working almost exclusively with each other, forming a very close friendship in the process.
s
Murder: The discovery of the family's skeletal remains last week in a shallow grave in the California desert has reignited countless theories of what happened to the McStays
Rick Sforza
Speculation: Merritt's criminal background and the fact he was the last to speak to Merritt have made him a target for accusations but Joseph's wife Summer has also been suspected as have Mexican drug cartels
Merritt claims he is uniquely positioned to put to bed some myths around the case and throw up some interesting clues as to what really happened to the McStays.

'There's no way Joseph would have taken his children to live in Mexico'

‘I told the detective back in the very beginning, that there is absolutely no way Joseph would have left without telling me’, Mr Merritt said, talking to MailOnline from a restaurant, in a remote spot near where he has moved since the McStay’s disappearance. 

He was my best friend and we told each other everything. When they  showed me the video of them crossing into Mexico, I told the them Joseph would not go into Mexico with those kids and that the man in the footage was not him. 

‘Joseph had a very particular walk, it sounds strange, but he moved like a duck and that man didn’t. There is absolutely no possibility that was him.

    He used to make regular surfing trips to Mexico with his buddies, but actually stopped a few years before he disappeared because the country was becoming too dangerous. There’s no way he would have taken the kids there.

    ‘And any suggestion he was involved with the cartels is nonsense. Joseph was the most honest person I had ever met. I crossed his Is and crossed his Ts. He wouldn’t even drop litter, let alone get involved in anything more serious.

    ‘Even the thought of being involved in drugs would have sent him into a fit of paranoia. There’s no way he would have been caught up in crime, he was just not that kind of person.’

    Mexican border video
    Nonsense: Merritt told police years ago that he never believed the family caught crossing the border, believed to have been the McStays, were them. He said Joseph 'walked like a duck' and the man in the footage didn't

    He added: ‘I didn’t know Summer was learning Spanish, but I did know she had had tried to learn French and Italian before. That’s what she was like, she went through little phases and fads. It would have been nothing more than that.’  

    As one of his closest friends and confidents, it was fitting that Mr Merritt was the last known person to see Joseph alive and the one who first discovered he was missing.

    He said: ‘I was the last person Joseph saw. He came to Rancho Cucamonga on February 4 to talk to me about a huge business deal we had going on in Saudi Arabia.
    We met for an hour-and-a-half for lunch. He was so excited. We had the Saudi Arabian project and a few other things going on. The business had never been so good and we were looking forward to the future. He did nothing to suggest there was anything wrong or untoward.

    "I was the last person Joseph saw" is a very strong statement. 

    One might ask, "How does he know this?"

    Was it in response to a question.  Repeatedly, this is poorly written, yet we can only guess at this point, but this sentence should cause us to pause and consider if it is the truth.  

    ‘We both left and went home and I spoke to him on the phone about two or three times on his drive back to Fallbrook, all standard business stuff. The last time I spoke to him was around 6 o’clock.

    The word "left" indicates that the subject's mind is upon the leaving of the place, and not to where he was going.  This is sensitive.

    The sensitivity is 70% likely due to rushing, time constraints, traffic, etc, but it is 30% likely critical missing information.  

    It appears that it is not just that he left, but that "we" and "both" are added.  "We" shows unity and cooperation (note how he uses it) but "left" has missing information.  Perhaps the communicative language sheds some light:
    "I spoke to him" and not "we spoke" or "I talked to him..."

    "I spoke to him" but not that he spoke to the subject. 

    This is often the language we find in an argument.  

    ‘It has been reported that I spoke to him in the evening, but that isn’t true. He did call me at 8.28pm, but I was watching a movie with my girlfriend, looked at the phone and decided not to answer. 

    What one says in the negative is very important.  He decided "not to answer" the call. He does not say that he did not take the call, only that he "decided" not to.  

    Investigators should carefully consider that an argument took place.  

    'When you talk to Joseph it takes about half an hour, so I thought I’d catch up with him in the morning. 

    Here he shows sensitivity about not taking the call; feeling the need to explain it.  This heightens the sensitivity of "left" seen above. 

    There is missing information here. 


    ‘I didn’t answer that call and I regret it to this day.’ 

    Again, the importance of that which is in the negative is highlighted here, via the negative, but also that it is repeated, and this time, clearly:  "I didn't answer that call"

    Did he answer another call?  One prior?  Often times when one says "that", we need to find out if there is a corresponding "this" in the subject's mind.  "That" call, with distancing language, being the last call, would justify distance. 


    That was the last call made from Joseph’s phone. Around 40 minutes earlier a neighbor’s security camera caught what looked like the bottom of the family’s Isuzu Trooper pulling away from their home. 
    But then there was nothing until the car was found, empty on the border.

    'I wish I'd acted earlier': The seven day delay in telling police they were missing

    Mr Merritt said: ‘Three or four days went by and I called Joseph several times a day, but couldn’t get hold of him. That was unheard of because we talked six or eight times a day. 
    ‘On the fourth day I drove out to his house, stopping at his mother’s on the way. I asked if she’d heard from him and she said she hadn’t. She called Mikey and I suggested he meet me out there. I drove out, but Mikey didn’t call me. 

    Note that he couldn't "get hold of him" and not that he did not answer the phone.
    Note the need to explain being unable to "get a hold of him" is highlighted in blue.  

    Note "Mikey didn't call me" is in the negative.  Please note his words:  "She called Mikey and I suggested he meet me..."

    He does not say he called Mikey.  

    He does not say "Mikey didn't call me back..."




    Michael McStay holds hands with his mother Susan Blake at a table with McStay's wife Erin in the middle during a press conference
    Grief: Joseph's brother Michael holds hands with his mother Susan Blake at a table with McStay's wife Erin in the middle during a press conference after the remains were found. Merritt reacted angrily to veiled accusations from Michael and Joseph's father, Patrick, that he had something to do with the disappearance
    Michael McStay
    Susan Blake
    Family friend: Merritt said he contacted the family when he hadn't heard from Joseph and urged his brother Michael McStay and his mother Susan Blake to call the police after a few days

    The family’s dogs were out in the backyard, so I gave them some water and food. I opened up a shed in the back for them to go in because it was cold and wet. 

    Here we see the sensitivity involved again, regarding him being there.  He feels the need to explain why he went into the backyard and why he opened the shed.  Why the need to explain?

    'On the way back I stopped at his mother’s again and told her to get Mikey out there. 
    ‘It got to about the seventh day and I called his mom and said she should call the Sheriff. She did and they went out to do a routine check, but that was it.
    ‘Directly after that I told his mother ‘Tell Mikey, I don’t care what he’s doing, he needs to meet me out at his house’. This was on about February 11 and he came. 
    We walked round the side of the house and found an open window. Mikey climbed in and opened the door for me, Mikey’s wife and his kids.’ 

    The article says it was a long interview.  Did he issue a reliable denial during the long interview?  It is a shame that the article did not give quotes.  An argument appears likely. 


    Inside, the group found rotten eggs on the counter and no sign of anything having been packed away.

    Mr Merritt said: ‘We asked all the neighbors, but nobody had seen anything.'


    The Sheriff's department finally went to the house and realized something wasn’t right. That is when Mr Merritt – who has three children of his own – was contacted and questioned.
    Mr Merritt said: 'They found the car about four days after they went missing, so who knows what they could have found if I’d have reported it straight away.
    'I desperately regret that we didn’t tell the police sooner.'

    Since Joseph – who was then 40 – disappeared with Summer, 43, Gianni, 4; and Joey Jr, 3, the finger of suspicion has been pointed squarely at Mr Merritt.

    It emerged he'd been on the wrong side of the law in his past, specifically a burglary conviction in 1978 and one for receiving stolen property nine years later. He served time in prison for both.

    Hundreds of commenters on websites and blogs speculated that he was behind their disappearance, but more significantly detectives also viewed him very much as a person of interest.

    But Mr Merritt hit back, saying: ‘Nine out of ten people on this planet have got some kind of criminal background. 

    Here is the place where we expect him to say he didn't do it...

    ‘Mine is 25 and 30 years old now. I am 56, I am an old man. I got into trouble here and there when I was a kid, but I do not have some long criminal history, which is what people have tried to imply.
    Summer McStay
    Love: Despite claiming that Summer had 'one hell of a temper', Merritt said Joseph clearly adored her and he can't believe that she'd have anything to do with their deaths
     Gianni Mcstay and Joseph Mcstay
    Joseph Mateo McStay
    Danger: Merritt said claims that Summer and Joseph were planning to take their children, Joseph Jr, three (left) and Gianni, 4, (right) to Mexico are far-fetched. He said Joseph had stopped going to Mexico on surfing breaks because he said it was too dangerous
    Circa February 2010
    Why kill children? The crime is so shocking because the couple's beautiful children weren't spared the horror
    I have worked for myself my entire life and there is no way you can go through your entire existence without annoying the odd person, I have, but I am not a crook.
    ‘I’m not the most perfect person in the world, I’ve made mistakes, I have even screwed people over a couple of times. I regret it, but that doesn’t give people the right to trash me, especially after I have lost my best friend.
    ‘Very soon after the disappearance, Lt Brugos who was leading the case, called me and asked if I would take a lie detector test, because he was convinced I knew where Joseph was. 
    ‘I declined at first and got some advice from an attorney, who told me not to do it, because if anything at all shows up they will harass you. 
    ‘But I spoke to my girlfriend about it extensively and decided, you know what, I’m just going to do the damn test, so they can forget about me and focus on something that might actually help find him.
    ‘About three of them came out to my attorney’s office in Palm Valley. They asked me whether I knew anything about the disappearance, and if I did know anything, would I tell them.
    After I’d finished, Brugos’s partner said to me, "well there are a couple of inconsistencies" but that was just them trying to trick me into saying something. I didn’t hear any more about it after that.
    ‘Was I a suspect? Well, I don’t know if I’m the only one they asked to do a lie detector test, but I am the only one who actually agreed. They were certainly on my case.'

    It is here that we expect our denial.  We may not know due to poor journalism.  They pick and choose which quotes to use, but it is here, in context, that we expect not only the reliable denial, but also:

    "I passed the test" and "I told the truth."




    On Monday Joseph’s dad gave an interview stating he thought there were three prime suspects in the case, one of whom was a former business partner with a criminal history. 
    Mr Merritt is not sure whether he is the man in question, but he dismissed the claims either way.
    The former home of Joseph McStay and his family in Fallbrook, California. They disappeared from home in February 2010, leaving unfinished popcorn and their family pets behind
    Doing well: The McStays had moved into this $320,000 just weeks before they vanished with $100,000 in the bank. Just months before they had supposedly been struggling to pay $800 a month in rent, sparking more theories. But Merritt said the McStay fountain business had taken off
    The McStay family home was found with food on the counter and the pet dogs abandoned when police went to investigate in 2010
    The McStay family home was found with food on the counter and the pet dogs abandoned when police went to investigate in 2010
    He said: ‘I don’t think his dad is talking about me because he has mentioned someone with an attempted murder charge and I have never done anything violent, I am the least violent man on the planet.    
    ‘Anyway I don’t think his dad knows much about all this. People have to remember, he lives in Texas and I knew the kind of relationship the two of them had. 

    Joseph McStay and wife Summer went missing along with his wife and two children in 2010 from their San Diego County home. Bones found today were confirmed as belonging to the couple
    Jealous: Summer McStay didn’t like anybody from outside of the family taking up Joseph’s time and attention, Merritt said
    Before the family’s bodies were discovered Summer came under suspicion because she went by a number of different aliases, had officially changed her name and lied about her age.

    On top of that emails retrieved from the McStay family computer showed she sent Joseph vicious and almost threatening emails about his son from a previous relationship.
    Mr Merritt says Summer was a flawed character, who was capable of blowing up and flying into a rage for the smallest of reasons. But he refuses to accept she was capable of any of the sinister allegations that have been leveled against her. 
    Mr Merritt said: 'I knew Joseph as well as almost anybody. He told me things he didn’t tell anybody else, especially about his marriage.

    'They were not the perfect couple, but then who is. Summer was a very jealous person and she didn’t like anybody from outside of the family taking up Joseph’s time and attention.
    'He would often drive up to my house in Rancho Cucamonga and we would go to his favorite restaurant up there. 
    'All through the meal he would be getting calls from Summer, he would try to ignore them and have a good time, but eventually he would have to break off and speak to her.
    'And she had one hell of a temper. I remember once I went round to their house to fix Joseph’s washing machine. It got to mid- afternoon so I ordered some pizza for the family.
    'Myself and Joseph sat down at one table and the boys sat at another separate one, where Summer had put out little plates with a slice on each and a knife and fork.
    'I grabbed a slice with my hand and started eating. Summer went absolutely crazy she started swearing and cursing, saying I was teaching her children bad manners.
    'I couldn’t believe it, but I just had to sit there and take it. Joseph didn’t say anything, he adored her and to a certain extent, he did what he was told. I knew their relationship and didn’t blame him.
    'But despite all of that, they loved each other and I think it would be crazy to suggest Summer had something to do with all of this. After all what couples don’t have their problems.’


    Mr Merritt says he couldn’t shed any light on the disappearance back in February 2010 and he still doesn’t know anything now that it is a murder enquiry.

    He said: ‘Joseph was one of the nicest people on this planet. He was honest, he was gentle he was straight forward businesswise and he was generous. He would do anything for anyone. 
    'I know for a fact he had nothing at all to do with anything illegal, he was honest as the day is long. I knew him as well as anybody, and Joseph had no enemies and no problems financially.
     Joseph Mcstay
    Friend: Merritt told MailOnline: ‘I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I have only ever had Joseph’s best interests at heart. That’s all I have ever cared about, despite what had been written about me'

    We were in the middle of some of the best deals we had ever had. Financially we were doing very well. We had just started a huge project in Saudi Arabia worth $82,000 and right in the middle of that, Joseph disappeared. There was no reason for it.'

    In answer to claims he may have got in over his head with drug gangs, Mr Merritt said: ‘His father said he had bought waterfalls from Mexico recently, but that wasn’t true, he hadn’t bought anything from there for two years because they were of inferior quality.’
    Whatever really happened, one thing that is certain, is Mr Merritt seems genuine when he says he has lost a dear friend.
    He said: ‘I may not be the nicest person in the world, but I have only ever had Joseph’s best interests at heart. That’s all I have ever cared about, despite what had been written about me.
    ‘I am a normal man, trying to take care of my three kids and I have lost a very good friend. I wasn’t Joseph’s best friend, but he was mine. I didn’t have many people close to me, but we shared a lot. He told me a lot of things he didn’t tell anyone else. 
    ‘Joseph’s family are the ones who lost the most from all this, no question. But financially I lost everything. I was manufacturing all the waterfalls he was selling and I lost my entire business. Without his sales, I had nothing. I went bankrupt very soon after he disappeared, It killed me financially. I even split up with the mother of my three kids because of the stress.
    Chase Merritt
    Justice: Merritt says he's talking now because ‘all I want is for them to find the a*******s who did this’

    ‘People may criticize me for speaking now. That’s their call, but I had a lot of opportunities to speak before and a lot of big money offers to do so.
    ‘At that time, I didn’t think anything I had to contribute would help to find Joseph and that was all I cared about. Anyway, I told the police everything I knew.
    ‘Now things have changed. It is not about finding them, it’s about finding the people who did this and if anything I say can help jog someone’s memory or offer some clue, then I’ll be happy.
    ‘I think the cops just accepted that they had crossed the border, because that was an easy option and they didn’t have any other kind of proof to lead them anywhere else.’

    He added: ‘I don’t want to upset anyone, I just want people to know the truth. The McStay’s were not perfect like some people would have you believe, but they weren’t criminals or drug runners like others have said, they were just a normal family. Well, a normal family other than Joseph, who was the nicest man I have ever known.’

    Finally he said: ‘I am convinced the police will be back in touch with me, I’m surprised they haven’t been already.  
    'San Bernardino County have said they are going to start the investigation over from the beginning and if they do they’ll have to talk to me. But I will just tell them the same as I did the last time.
    ‘All I want is for them to find the a*******s who did this’.

    For a lengthy interview, this is poorly written. 

    87 comments:

    Dee said...

    Just reading through this without using SA, I don't believe him. I'm not sure what it is that's making me feel that way so I'll have to put my SA hat on and go through it again more carefully. Something's off about this guy.

    Anonymous said...

    OT I am wondering, when you say something negative to someone who has hurt you, and their response is "I love you, too,", are these marbles slipping out? Or is it just sarcasm? I am unsure how to apply statement analysis to sarcasm. Also, I have a problem with "never". I say, "I have never been to Spain." I have never been there. And I know it is true that I have never been there. So when is "never" something to question? "Have you been to the Golden Gate Bridge?" "No, I have never been there." I would answer. It is true. I have never even been to San Francisco.

    Jen Ow said...

    Well, someone is lying for sure!

    Michael McStay claims that HE got the whole investigation started after HE went to his brothers house and found the dogs unattended and hungry. He claims he did so after Dan, ('webDan as he called him') who worked on Joseph's website reported to their FATHER that he could not reach Joseph, and that DAN called LE and requested a welfare check be done.

    Merritt claims that HE was the one to report that he couldn't reach Joseph to his MOTHER, and that through the mother LE was contacted, and Michael was asked to meet him and check things out, but MM didn't do so til days later?

    To hear MM tell it, HE has been central to every part of this mystery! From the first indication something was wrong due to the lack of calls he normally got from his brother, to the discovery of the abandoned dogs, breaking into the house, the search, setting up the website, etc. While Merritt makes it sound like MM couldn't be bothered to even meet him and check things out til days after the alarm had been raised!?

    I wish there were more direct quotes, or better yet a transcript or video of this interview! In general it doesn't make sense to me for Merritt to be the killer, but then again we often don't understand the motive in cases like this, so he may well be responsible. My reasoning is he lost his business and abilty to make a living when JM disappeared, and according to him he pushed for LE to become involved, and cooperated with their inveatigation. Also, if he wanted to kill Joseph for whatever reason, he was with him earlier that day. Why would he wait and then kill the whole family, including toddlers? I feel like the murder of the kids is a strong indication that the killer was someone very close to the family, and they HAD to kill the kids not to be identified.

    I'd like to see more quotes from Merritt, but my opinion MM has a lot more explaining to do. His prophetic knowledge of them being found in '2 adult graves', his familiarity with the area of the graves (that he stated he had never been to) and how 'gunshots would be masked', (as an Anon pointed out, he seems to already know the manner of death), the 4x4 vehicle and trailer that would be needed for the 'digger' to be transported in the 'wet area', etc, etc, etc. Either MM has the most shockingly accurate imagination ever...or he knows all of these things first hand.

    Jen Ow said...

    My understanding is that 'never' is correct when your answering a question of 'have you ever'.

    'Never' is flagged when it is substituted for 'didn't' or 'did not', making it unreliable. Sometimes using 'never' is a way to avoid addressing a specific accusation. Like if you asked someone, 'Did you steal the money from the safe', and they replied, 'I never steal', or 'I would never do that' (future tense). In this case the word 'never' is being used to avoid answering the direct question about whether they stole.

    You can search the word 'never' using this site's search bar and you will get a lot of better examples from Peter, who explains it much better than I do, lol!

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you, Jen!

    sidewalk super said...

    There are other reasons to lose a business such as major depression. Ditto girlfriend and three children.

    Merritt never gives a good denial, and he down plays down enormously, I think, his prior criminal activities.

    Of course he should be a suspect.
    And he does have a lawyer, doesn't he?

    I'm thinking he sounds too too involved with Joseph , almost a rival to Summer.

    But Jen is correct, the sniveling Michael would have us believe he and he alone sent out the "missing" alarm. And wasn't it Michael who was so anxious to incorrectly ID his brother [walking across the border]? Does anyone else, mother?, father? say Joseph had a peculiar walk?

    Was there business insurance? Life insurance? Beneficiaries?

    Have LE contacted his former girlfriend at the time? But I want to know the same about Michael.

    Could he and Michael be in cahoots?

    sidewalk super said...


    On re-reading, is there an indication of business splitting at his last mentioned meeting with Joseph? Yup, there is!

    So how to explain the bad actor brother?

    S + K Mum said...

    It seems Merritt isn't very fond of Summer, but he seemed to put up with her for the sake of his best friend. She's crazy, swears, gets jealous etc. Is this disparaging the victim? She didn't like Merritt?

    Was the business relationship put under strain by Summer in Merritt's eyes?

    He seemed sure (before the bodies were discovered) that Summer couldn't have been involved with the disappearances, how could he have been so sure?

    Something odd - I think he knows something and he isn't just a 'normal' guy like he says he is.

    Dee said...

    He said: ‘I was the last person Joseph saw. He came to Rancho Cucamonga on February 4 to talk to me about a huge business deal we had going on in Saudi Arabia.

    I went back and re-read the article. This stuck out to me. He states firmly "I was the last person Joseph saw." How does he know whether or not Joseph was seen by anyone after they parted ways? Maybe by a clerk at a gas station? Or he stopped by to visit another friend? How does he know so absolutely he's the last person Joseph saw? Wouldn't the killer be the last person Joseph saw?

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for analyzing that article. Another fact worth mentioning is that the bodies were found in a region with which Mr. Meritt was intimately familiar, close to property owned. His criminal history is not a minor thing and, further, it spans many years. He claims when they told him he failed the lie detector test, he knew that they tell everyone that (more defensiveness). It's as though he's thinking out his legal defense in the public interview. And he can't resist trashing Summer, even though she's just been found dead. He throws suspicion Michael McStay's way. I think you're right about an argument. I don't think this was well-planned. Probably Joseph was killed and then he realized the meeting they had would have been a no-brainer for police when looking for the missing man. He knew Summer wouldn't just "move on" or accept that. So he drove Joseph's vehicle back to the house and took the rest of the family out under threat/force. I would say through subterfuge, but I think he drove Joseph's vehicle back to the house, and this would have been a totally alarming thing, so probably he had to storm the three remaining parts of his sudden "problem." This is so painful to think about if you imagine what these people went through. He had four days to bury the bodies (of course he WAITED to report them missing to police--he was busy) and then he left the vehicle near the border as the perfect red herring. Sociopaths are so daring they do things like volunteer to take lie detector tests (sociopaths often pass because of their notorious ability to work well under pressure and to "believe" their own lies) and give interviews like this one you're analyzing. He's demonstrating a primary trait of the sociopath. He's not just doing damage control. He's strutting.

    Peter Hyatt said...

    Dee!

    I will adjust!

    Thank you

    sidewalk super said...


    Who are the 3, (three)! people Joseph's father thinks are suspects?

    Picked a Name said...

    About the use of never - first, great explanation, Jen. Second, I often find myself hearing my own word choices and noticing "red flags" that don't mean an untruth. Sometimes they do mean sensitivity, though, especially if I feel I'm under suspicion of something I didn't do, however minor. I think it's important to remember that "red flags" are just that - things to notice and pay attention to. The reason they're in a statement may have nothing to do with the veracity of the speaker. Of course, the more red flags are in a statement, the more they add up, but a red flag here and there can, indeed, mean nothing. They don't necessarily mean anything untruthful, but they do merit further investigation.

    Jen Ow said...

    Hi Dee-

    I noticed that he said he was the last person to see him too. If he made it home, that is obviously not true...his family saw him and any number of other people along the way.

    I would love to see some of Merritt and Michael's initial statements from the days after the disappearance. I think that the passage of time, and the info that has become known through the investigation probably plays SOME role in the current statements of all parties involved. Maybe Merritt has been told by LE that he is the last known person to have seen Joseph? Maybe MM has been told about the likely manner of death?

    What do you think Peter? Is an initial statment more 'pure' for SA? Or does not matter?

    Apple said...

    OT re: abigail hernandez

    http://www.wgme.com/news/top-stories/stories/wgme_vid_19997.shtml

    MizzMarple said...

    Peter,

    Thank You for this Analysis ... very interesting !

    And I do believe you "nailed it" : an argument between Joseph and Merritt ... Why else wouldn't Merritt take Joseph's call later that evening -- especially since they were in the middle of sealing a big business deal.

    Now, this may not be relevant to statement analysis, but there is one thing that stood out to me:

    When Merritt refers to Joseph's brother Michael (Mike) McStay, he refers to him as "Mikey".

    "Mikey" -- a nickname, in my opinion -- a name that is used by someone CLOSE to the person.

    I know this may not mean a thing -- but in my opinion, it would be interesting to know IF Joseph or anyone else in Joseph's family called Mike McStary -- "Mikey".

    I see many red flags with BOTH Merritt's and Mike's statements.

    BOTH Merritt and Mike are claiming to be "the person" who contacted the police when no one heard from the family for several days.

    And WHY was Mike -- Mikey -- more concerned about running a "Credit Report" when Joseph was "missing" ? This info is contained in the video that was taken when Mike was doing a "tour" of the house !

    WHY was Mike more concerned about Joseph's Business dealings, than finding out WHERE his brother was ?

    So how CLOSE is Merritt and Mike ?

    Of course, all of the above is JMO !

    MizzMarple said...

    There is a thread at Websleuths on Merrit

    Link :

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=190902


    There is also a thread at Websleuths that has interesting information on the Timeline:

    Link :

    http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=226725


    Anonymous said...

    I do not find anything unusual at all about Merritt not taking Josephs' last phone call the evening the McStay disappeared. Joseph was a long-winded phone talker and Merritt was involved in something else for the evening. Many times I do not answer my phone if I'm engrossed in a movie or other activity, thinking it can wait until the next day no matter what the nature of the call might have concerned, particularly if it is a person I spend hours talking with every day.

    It is also common to call someone Mikey whose name is Michael, and does not necessarily need to be close to the person named Michael. Further, I do not find Merritts' description of Summer to be disparaging. Obviously he knew her well, so well that he was able to describe her as he really knew her. He also was very quick to defend her since he knew her so well.

    I understand how Merritt lost his business and everything else after Joseph disappeared. They were in business together; one depended on the other, one could not make it without the other. Merritts' business would have come to a complete shutdown immediately.

    So far, I do not find anything amiss in Merritts statements; but then, I'm not looking to crucify the man with nothing to go on.

    Anonymous said...

    P.S... One thing I do not understand is why it took Merritt several days to contact Josephs' mother and begin a search for Joseph after not being able to reach him by phone during that entire time; particularly since they normally spoke to each other every day and the nature of their business was dependent on each other holding up his end.

    Did Merritts' own partnership business/work activities come to a halt during the four days he had not heard from or been able to reach Joseph? If so, why didn't he go looking for Joseph after the first day of silence?

    At the same time, I do not understand why it took Michael eleven days to finally start questioning where's Joseph, since he claimed to have been so close to his brother and talked to him every day?

    IMO, somebody could be leaving out some details; not so much in what they've said but what they haven't said.

    CanadianGirl said...

    Is it possible that when Chase M. says that he was the last to see JM, he is referring to "the last" as in the last of any business associates and family members. They would have all discussed who saw or spoke to JM and at what times once it was determined that the McStay family was missing.

    Anonymous said...

    CM, may be saying he was the last one to see JM because this is what LE has told him and no one else outside of Summer and the children possibly saw him that day. I don't find it odd CM didn't take JM's call later that evening, if he was otherwise engaged and thought it could wait until the next day. I do that when I'm tired or relaxing and don't want to think about business stuff.

    I think MM says stranger things that bring up red flags than Chase does. One would expect CM to say he didn't do it. I haven't come across. Perhaps he did but it's not in the article. The Daily Mail isn't known for the best news reporting, in fact they do a rather sloppy job of it imo.

    Anonymous said...

    ‘All I want is for them to find the a*******s who did this’.

    Should we assume this is plural? If so how would he know it was more than one?

    Anonymous said...

    "I was the last person Joseph saw. "

    That sounds very bad IMO.

    He doesn't say I was the last person to see Joseph.
    He says he was the last person Joseph saw. The last person Joseph saw must be the killer.

    john said...

    Exclusive Video inside the Missing McStay Family home. Part 1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbvPKlj_a5M

    More Exclusive video inside the Missing McStay family home Part 2.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fZVdnwOb9c

    Anonymous said...

    Horrible journalist.

    YES, Merritt did not say he was the last person to see Joseph. He said, "I was the last person Joseph saw."
    The so-called journalist turned it around!

    Merritt could not possibly know that he was the LAST person Joseph McStay saw unless he killed him. And why would he say it that way otherwise? That statement can only be major marble spillage!

    Anonymous said...

    BS. Marble spillage my eye! To his knowledge, Merritt was the last person to see Joseph alive, PRIOR to them being killed. Merritt was no more the last person to see Joseph or the rest of the McStay family ALIVE when there was obviously a killer (or killers) who saw them LATER;

    anymore than Misty Croslin was the last person to 'see' Haleigh Cummings alive, although she was accused of being the last person to see Haleigh and to this day is said to be the last person to 'see' her, all based on a hoaxed up 911 call @3:27 a.m., not when we now KNOW there was a prior call to 911 at 2:13 a.m. reporting Haleigh missing and it was NOT made by Misty.

    It is ALWAYS the killer who was the last person to see the victim(s) alive and if Merritt wasn't the one who killed them then technically he couldn't be the last one to see them alive. How hard is that to grasp?

    Anonymous said...

    Calling a grown man Mikey struck me a insulting. The men in my family act insulted if I refer to one of them by their childhood name. Sometimes I do it on purpose if I want to suggest they are acting immature.

    rob said...

    It would seem to me that it would be hard to kill two small children that you know. You would almost have to kill the adults first, then the kids.
    BUT, why kill the kids, unless they can identify you, so then they would have to know you.
    Someone took this whole family from the home, on a moments notice and killed them, that's what made me think drug cartel. Anyone else, the family would have at least put up the food.

    john said...

    Watch the two videos i posted. It's like he is enjoying it!!

    elf said...

    He flat out contradicted hisself because he said he's not a crook but then admits to screwing people over. He also belittled the wife, summer, repeatedly (she has a temper, went absolutely crazy over table manners, jealous; while Joseph was honest, kind, Merritt's best friend.
    I also noticed that the person he was watching movies with when he didn't answer the phone was his girlfriend but later he lost the mother of his children after the bankruptcy. Was his girlfriend the mother of his kids or is it 2 separate people?

    elf said...

    Yea..it would be hard to kill 2 little kids if you knew them. If you were a normal human being who had an ounce of humanity in your soul... but it happens. Mothers and fathers all over the world have killed their own kids, what makes it so difficult to believe a family friend or business partner wouldn't kill a child?
    And how do we know the scene at the house wasn't set up? Merritt admits to going to the mcstays before asking anyone else to go over there. Maybe Merritt left the eggs out when he was taking care of the abandoned dogs.

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the links John. Agreed. To know so little about his brothers' current affairs, Michael MacStay comes off as being excitable and appears to be enjoying himself. Oh man, no question, he's running the show. He even tries to tell Tim Miller what to do. I wonder what Tim Millers' opinion was of Michael MacStay?

    I can't imagine that LE was allowing Michael or anyone else to have free reign over this home without being escorted when the MacStays were missing at that time. How could they know that vital evidence wouldn't have been found in the home, on computers, cameras, etc. Just proves they weren't doing their jobs in looking for evidence. Michael was even interviewing neighbors that LE hadn't bothered to interview.

    Good points, Elf. However, Merritt could have been telling the truth about Summer; no harm in that, after all, he did know her well just as he knew Joseph well.

    Anonymous said...

    The interview is poorly written, even the alleged quotes are suspect to me. A guy from California doesn't talk about going round to his pal's house, that's a British expression which the reporter, from a British publication, has ascribed to him.

    I hope if I ever went missing those close to me would react more quickly! He had to beg the mother to call the police? The brother didn't want to come over check out the strange situation? I understand he is probably describing it in a way slanted to make him look good, but it was clearly quite some time before anyone called law enforcement with concern about this family.

    Anonymous said...

    John, you're the pro in body language; correct me if I'm wrong: Is that guilt I see all over Michaels' face when he is reaching across to hold his mothers' hand? Also in several other close-up photos?

    He appears to think he's a sharpie, smarter than all the rest, but I don't quite see him this way. Anyway, sure looks like he's trying to project himself as top dog in the interviews; but then, I'm only second guessing. What say you?

    Oh, to others who think LE is giving Michael room to hang himself by allowing him to keep talking; guess again. Don't be silly. This is a LE jurisdiction that does not give a rats' butt.

    john said...

    Hi Anon @ 10:54, could you post a link to it Please.

    Anonymous said...

    Ditto Anon @ 10:46! For all the big putting on of caring so much, WTH was this family for the eleven days Joseph and his family were missing and during all this time not a one of them took any action to find them, or even check on them; THEN had to be talked into reporting them missing!

    Obviously, not a one of them were really close to Joseph or his family like they now purport themselves to be. I'd guarantee it, Merritt could shed some light on the true relationship between them & Josephs' family, especially Josephs' relationship with Michael.

    Particularly, I don't trust Michaels' behavior and feel that he had some interpersonal conflict with Joseph, perhaps concerning Josephs' financial affairs, including possible prior conflicts Michael might have had with Summer?

    However, if anyone is waiting for San Diego LE to get to the bottom of it, you might have a loooong wait.

    Anonymous said...

    Sorry John, I can't post a link. My comments were taken from the two links you posted above. There are other links of interviews just under the videos you posted. If you follow those, you'll see what I mean.

    shmi said...

    Before I read the comments that may change my mind:

    I think he is being honest. He does not disparage the victims, he is just stating some truths about them, as he knows it. He does not claim to be a perfect person. He could have thrown suspicion on the wife, the brother, cartels, or even the Saudis.

    All of the "because, so, therefore", is because he has had time to reflect and the time distance sort of requires you to state why you did something 4 years ago. If this interview was immediately after the McStay's went missing, I would be more interested in all the "whys".

    The interview is sensitive because he is a suspect. He has been accused. He lost his family and $$.

    He repeats that Michael is the nicest man he has known. He does not throw anyone under the bus. And saying Michael walks like a duck, is just a 50 year od man stating something bluntly, without sugar coating.

    Now I'll go read the comments, and see what I missed. I know I missed a reliable denial, but that could be because of the way the article was written.

    Also, I think the brother's comments are more damning.

    One other thing. In the photograph of their house, it appears as if they had no electricity or plumbing. They lived like that for 3 or 4 months? It looks like they were squatters.

    shmi said...

    Saying "Joseph" walks like a duck, not Michael

    elf said...

    People generally don't speak ill of the dead and I believe this article was written after the discovery of the mcstays remains. To me it sounds like he did not like summer and he was jealous of her control over her husband. He uses hard words talking about her, derogatory words. He put her down because she wanted her boys to have table manners. There are 4 victims in this case, he portrays the father as a saint, the children were barely mentioned, and he vilified the mother...then he cast himself as a victim of this crime because he lost out financially, pointing out that he not only lost his best friend (he also made sure we know that even though he considered Joseph his best friend, Joseph didn't consider Merritt HIS best friend) but he went bankrupt and lost part of his family as well... that sounds like a pretty selfish view.

    elf said...

    Last 2 paragraphs are RED FLAGS. he told police everything he knew when the mcstays were just 'missing ' now that they are finally found its important to find the assholes who did this. Why wasn't it important that he speak when his best friend and his family were missing? He sounds like Billie Dunn :/

    elf said...

    Is Michael mcstay Josephs older brother or younger?

    Anonymous said...

    OMG, Elf. You really had me until you said he sounds like Billie Dunn. NO WAY!

    Jen Ow said...

    Good point shmi-

    As I was reading, I also wondered how much influence time, and information learned through the investigation influenced his language (and Michael McStays). Was Merritt told by LE that he was the last person to see Joseph? Was Michael told that they were likely shot? I wish we could find some statements from Merritt from the initial days/weeks after the family disappeared.

    What do you think Peter? Is a statement made soon after the event more 'pure' for SA purposes, than one made after a long investigation where notes have been compared, and timelines established?

    Anonymous said...

    Wasn't it mentioned that Joseph had an older child by a prior relationship?

    Who, and where is this child? Also, wasn't it stated earlier that Joseph was adopted?

    Elf, it would appear that Michael is obviously younger than Joseph. Just MOO.

    Anonymous said...

    Joseph was the older child of his mother and was adopted by Mr. MacStay after she married him.

    Anonymous said...

    A website states Joseph & Michael were step-brothers (not half-brothers), so this would mean that Patrick MacSway was Michaels' father at the time he married Michaels' mother?

    elf said...

    You don't see the similarities? Seriously? Would it have been better if I would have compared Merritt to Justin dipietro?
    I'm only going by what the words say.

    elf said...

    Apparently its not that obvious or I wouldn't have asked.

    Anonymous said...

    The McStay case is now said to be with San Bernardino County and no longer with San Diego Sheriff's Dept. Hopeful.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't see any physical similarities at all in the facial structures or expressions of Joseph and Michael MacStay when comparing photos. However, IMO, it does appear that Joseph is several years older than Michael.

    IFF they are only step-brothers and not half-brothers then there would be no blood relation or similarities anyhow. Right? Right??

    shmi said...

    I keep wondering what the motive would be to kill the whole family.

    Greed: Who gains the most from this family being dead? Another article explains that the McStay family was recently evicted from a comparatively cheap apartment. Where did the money suddenly come from to buy a big house, do a total remodel, and have $100,000 in the bank? Who stands to lose money if this family goes missing? I think his business partner has the most to lose financially.

    Lust: Was someone so in love with Summer that if he couldn't have her, no one could? I find it hard to believe a woman committed this crime. Has a woman ever killed an entire family over a lover? has a man? How did the killer get the entire McStay family out of the house in a moments notice? It appears as if they left food out, Summer didn't take her glasses, they left the dogs out, no stroller. I watched the videos on Youtube that John posted, plus a couple of others.

    Jealousy: Who was jealous of the McStays?

    Revenge: I think this is the motive. Joseph and Merrit just started a new business together. They bought fountains from Mexico and resold them. At some point one of them was contacted by a member of a cartel who wanted to smuggle drugs in the fountains. Joseph went along with it for the money. After he makes enough to get a house and have a little in the bank, he decides he doesn't want to do it anymore, after he gets paid this one last time. He gets paid by meeting someone in the desert. He gets a call, leaves the house and brings his family along thinking he would be safer with them in the car. The cartels don't care. They don't have a problem killing the whole family. They can't let him bow out of their business because he knows faces and names. Shallow graves are dug, and the car is driven to the Mexican border and abandoned, while the cartel members just walk back through the border.

    If Merrit knows of this, then it would explain why the interview is so sensitive.

    LE should question the brother and Merrit about the sudden large sum of money the McStays came into. Follow The Money!!

    All is just my opinion, with a large helping of imagination. But it works out for me.

    sidewalk super said...


    What?
    please explain the relationships of the McStays in less complex terms.
    How many times was Joseph married?
    other children?
    The sniveling Michael not a blood relation?
    Michael was the person who emptied the Fallbrook house, selling the contents for his personal gain? What is Michael's regular source of income.??
    Does Michael have any kind of criminal record?

    shmi said...


    Another thought,
    Maybe Merrit had the Mexican drug connection in place and just needed a business to import the drugs. He knew Joseph and they were friends so he decided he would help him out with his financial situation, and at the same time, have a middleman to deal directly with the cartel.

    This would also explain the sensitivity in the interview.

    A couple of Youtube videos show Tim Miller touring the house. He is an intelligent, reliable person for information. I bet he has a really good idea about what happened to this family.

    sidewalk super said...


    schmi..Traffic was a great movie, yes?
    Merritt said they did not buy from Mexico, that he, Merritt, was manufacturer.
    If the sniveling Michael didn't make such a grandstanding show of himself, and if I didn't think he could have been getting bank passwords and access to the dead Joseph's bank account from the McStays computer, and if he weren't reported to have cleaned out the Fallbrook home for his own personal gain, all this stuff is out there on the internet and it is perplexing.
    Then the two men, Merritt and Michael, can't get it together when a person who was so much a reported daily part of their lives, when that person poofs, that it takes the two men way way too long to check out the residence, and yet, they can't even agree on that sequence?
    And what is the back story on Summer?

    shmi said...

    sidewalk super,
    I loved Traffic, esp. Benecio Deltoro. But I know what you are saying.
    You don't need to dismiss my entire theory because drugs do get into this country somehow. Admittedly I let my imagination run away on this one, as a motive to kill an entire family escapes me.
    The article says Joseph's father said he recently bought waterfalls from Mexico. I can't imagine buying a waterfall, but a vessel, yeah. Vessels hold things. Just because Merrit says he didn't buy from Mexico, doesn't make it so. I went back and reread the article, and found this:


    "I know for a fact he had nothing at all to do with anything illegal, he was honest as the day is long"

    This is a quote from the article. It is full of qualifiers: for a fact, at all, anything, all pertaining to illegal. Also, said in the negative.

    I think the brother took advantage and sold off the new appliances, and wants to capitalize as much as possible off his brother's death. My thoughts are also that drugs, cartels and Mexico figure in somewhere. So your opinion is that his brother killed him? Where did all the money come from?

    Shelley said...

    The concern I have is were these his real words. Since they were not spoken, and we also don't know the questions we can not be sure what was said and in what context. He may not have been asked "did you kill the family" or "were you responsible".

    Again, like you said, poorly written.
    And a perfect example of how even supposed professionals can fabricate words and run with an article.....

    In Touch Magazine had the couple from the MTV Show 16 and pregnancy on the front cover with the headline "I'm Pregnant" and "I want a little girl". She was not pregnant (it's been well over a year since that article ran - June 2012) and they really were not expecting. Yet they acted as if they were quoting the mom.
    Now, I do think it's interesting that he lives very close to the location the bodies were buried. I think it would be pretty hard to imagine when you see that area (basing just off the new coverage) to ever imagine anyone would find them.
    I just think there is way more to this story.

    Anonymous said...

    I have a two year old his real name is Miguel however I always call him Mikey. Everyone calls him Mikey and I always will so I don't think it's disrespectful at all. IMO

    Shelley said...

    From what I have read, Joseph and Summer both were married before.

    Josephs has another son with his ex. Fact.



    May or may not be true:

    I have read that Summers did not want the other son in her home. That they fought a lot about this. I also read that at least one of her exs was stalking her (could be the reason she changed her name) But I can not find the article now. If anyone else has seen them will you share the links.

    Then, this was also interesting....

    Email from Summer ( Fall 2007) to Joseph

    Hey, I just finished a long conversation with my MOM. She had a lot to say so I have to get this thru your BIG FAT HEAD-Stop whatever it is your trying to do regarding my dad. You have been asked before now I have to Tell you to please knock it off.

    We DO NOT want any contact with him.

    If you keep this up your going to **** UP our relationship. I will not forgive you and I mean it. Your messing with our lives. I want you to Stop this bull s***, now!! My family life does not concern you what so ever. Why, the **** do you keep persisting?

    When I've already spoken to you about this?? What are trying to do? Don't you have your own bull s*** to worry about?? I'm so pissed off that you keep going on about this. In case, I wasn't clear before, let it sink in now. Mind your own ****** business and DO NOT try to find my dad. If I should discover that you have ignored this message and keep digging around I will turn on you.

    Do you understand?? Stay out of my business and worry about your own b******. I'm so sick of your nosy ass. You'd better stop or we're over

    I'm not going to go thru my life with someone who f****n opens a can of worms that no one wants just because you want to. I'm so pissed right now. This is ****** B*******!



    Fifteen minutes later, Joseph responds:

    I must say...this is one of the nastiest e-mails I every gotten....So Foul, I can't believe it came from you...

    Once again blown completely out of proportion and I thoroughly misunderstood your mom's and your feelings toward your Dad...

    So, definitely hear you "loud & clear"....will never be brought up again.

    Wow...I'm deleting your e-mail. It's so harsh & sick!

    Shelley said...

    The part that still leads me back to Michael was that he took the family computer and police had to ask for it back. Why would you take that? To me, anything in my missing family members home would be evidence that I would want police to look into.

    I think it's possible that the searches on 1-28 for travel to Mexico and passports could have been Michael. I also do not think the family went to Mexico. I read that summers mom had the boys passports And, when supposed trip occurred, the laws had already changed (June 2009, US citizens entering the United States by land or sea are required to present a passport or other compliant travel document such as a passport card).

    So if they were searching on entry rules and then went to Mexico, they would have known the passports would have been needed. And at the least, they would have asked for them or retrieved them.

    They did not.

    I absolutly think that part was done on purpose to set it up to look like they left on their own.

    And let's be honest, it worked for the most part. The police were pretty sure it was them entering Mexico.

    And if they were going to go there to Run, why not take the money in their account. $100k could set them up in Mexico dr years.


    So back to the computer. You have to ask, who would have access to the family computer? Very likely the brother. I have used family's counters often when at their home.

    And the fact that he took that same computer home... I think that speaks volumes.

    I also think the withdrawls that came later were again all part of the attempts to make it appear that they left.


    sidewalk super said...


    Graves were not crude mass graves, a la cartel.
    Michael is involved in everything.
    Merritt presents (in the newspaper anyway) as beaten up, worn out and with a past.
    I'll bet Michael had a past.
    Cartels are capable of infiltrating anything, destroying everything so, sure, they could be involved, but what evidence is there?

    Anonymous said...

    It would appear that a guy named Daniel Kavanaugh (sp?) who worked for Joseph MacSway, is more of a suspect than either Chase Merritt or Mikey MacSway. Check him out.

    Anonymous said...

    Chase Merritt had the least to gain in Josephs' death; that is, nothing to gain, and everything to lose, which he did.

    IMO, Merritt would not be a suspect, certainly not if one is following the money trail. In that case, take a closer look at Mikey MacSway and Daniel Kavanaugh.

    Yikes! Kavanaugh is one hell of a seedy character.

    sidewalk super said...

    dan vincent kavanaugh
    web designer for Joseph's business, was threatening to destroy the website if Joseph did not meet his extortion demands, at the time of the disappearance, and later, tried to sell the business? Nasty stuff on the internet. One site thinks Kavanaugh and Merritt were the cahoots pair. Both wanted more $ than they were getting from McStay
    at the time.

    At any rate, normal this isn't.

    Some sites have pictures of the bones, amazing that anyone recognized them as questionable.

    Beginning to see who the three suspects might be.

    Anonymous said...

    All true Super; however, since Michael MacSway is Patrick MacSways' son from a previous relationship, (and Josephs' step-brother by his marriage to Josephs' mother); why would Patrick MacSway point the finger at his own blood son?

    My thinking is that Mikey is not his fathers' third suspect, even though many of us do consider him either suspect #1, 2 or 3. IMO, Kavanaugh is suspect #1 and Mikey #2, and Merritt is not a suspect at all unless he had something to gain financially; which, so far, it doesn't appear that he did.

    Anonymous said...

    http://texarville.com/?p=1554

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous @ December 6, 2013 at 6:55 AM

    ugh.
    you really should learn to read more carefully! You're the one having a problem grasping what Merritt ACTUALLY said. You've missed the boat.

    Kellie Sue said...

    I agree elf. Micheal has a BJD vibe. He's got wayyyyy too much to say and there's an emptiness to it all.

    Did I read or hear that Micheal took over the business? If so, then Merritt's comments about going bankrupt seem odd. Why not continue the business with Michael?

    john said...

    OT Update..

    Abigail Hernandez:

    OFFICIALS: MISSING N.H. TEEN SENT LETTER TO MOM.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/missing-nh-teen-sent-letter-to-mom-officials-say/

    Anonymous said...

    Super; another suspect in the MacStay family murders may be Michael James McFadden. McFadden appears to be the wealthy guy Patrick MacSway is referring too. McFadden is the step-father of Joseph MacSways teenage son, Jonah.

    Joseph & Summer had problems with McFadden and violent threats he had made, which they had tape recorded during a meeting with Jonah and had filed a complaint with the CPS just prior to the familys' disappearance. The complaint with CPS apparently was not settled until after the familys' disappearance, with no record available of how it was settled. The wealthy McFadden has a felony criminal record.

    It's too bad, Joseph MacSway seemed to be a really nice and decent guy, and a hard worker, but had some seedy characters in his life; obviously one (or more) capable of killing them all; however, poor Joseph made bad judgments in those he allowed into his personal life.

    There was Summer with a violent temper and five aliases (from God knows what earlier activities), who can say what sort of enemies she had lurking in the background of their lives; Kavanaugh the Webmaster of Josephs' website design who was clearly threatening Joseph and at the least was blackmailing him with the use of 'his' website;

    Merritt his partner who also has a criminal record and to-date we don't know how deeply he was involved in Josephs business and financial affairs; AND his (former!) step-bro Mikey who clearly had grubby greedy paws and the 'I'm running everything' mentality of a rooting, butt-headed pig, who is NOT a blood relative of Josephs, in fact, is no longer even Josephs' step-brother and not (nor was he) legally entitled to anything Joseph & Summer owned.

    Since their deaths, apparently Mikey MacSway has pilfered whatever he could get his hands on, such as their new appliances, etc., etc.; Kavanaugh has pilfered Josephs' bank account, transferring monies to himself and to his grandfathers account; somebody connected to Josephs business made commitments and collected money for custom fountain jobs they never completed, and so on and on.
    So there you have it; FOUR possible suspects, Mikey, Merritt, Kavanaugh and McFadden, and possibly someone from Summers past.

    The thing that strikes me is that Josephs' minor teen-age son Jonah would have been the heir to the MacSway estate and entitled to everything that has been squandered that belonged to the MacSways, but it does not appear that anyone was looking out for his interests. Also, Summers' brother and sister might have had an interest in the estate.

    Then there's the in-a-state-of-repairs house that was purchased during the height of the bubble and likely has no equity, still it is to be dealt with. Has it been foreclosed on or is it sitting idle with accruing real estate taxes piling up, but with an estate claim filed on behalf of Jonah, but no money these greedy b'stards can lay their hands on?

    This is a sad ending in every way for Joseph MacStay, his wife and their two little boys and all his years of hard work.

    sidewalk super said...



    "a man is known by the company he keeps.."

    sidewalk super said...


    and, "bad company corrupts good character.."

    Anonymous said...

    I'm wondering; where is Josephs' mother and has she made any statements to the press? Or is she just sitting there and allowing her (former) sniveling step-son Mikey, who is no longer her step-son speak in her behalf? Apparently she only had the one son, Joseph, from an earlier relationship and technically Joseph had two former step-fathers but no siblings. Correct? Who, where, is Josephs' bio father?

    I'm thinking that mothers' relationship with Patrick MacSway ended a long time ago and that she was married to someone else since then that she ran a deli with, a guy named Blake, who she subsequently also divorced? All which leads me to believe that Joseph had no close blood relatives other than his mother and his three sons.

    Has mother done anything to help solve this evil riddle of her sons' murder and that of his wife and two little sons? Surely she would have personal information concerning the people in their lives. Just curious.

    Anonymous said...

    SOOOoo true Super, your posts @7:40 and 7:51. Words straight from my own mothers' mouth, and proved to be ever true over and over.

    My thoughts: You cannot bring someone up to your standards, they drag you down to their level.

    A friend was raised with the advice: 'At the first hint that someone is bringing any kind of trouble into your life, turn around, walk away, dismiss them from your life and mind, and never look back. You know they are trouble at the first sign, avoid them like the plague they are.'

    What a shame, Joseph MacSway apparently either didn't have this kind of advice in his life, or ignored it if he did.

    john said...

    I believe this is a case were SA can come into it's own. There are so many people possibly involved were the finger can be pointed..It would be interesting to see what SA would yield if we had first hand quotes of said people posted on here.

    This case is conundrum wrapped up in an enigma, placed in a box of riddles and buried in mystery of question marks?

    Anonymous said...

    John, the mystery is that LE did not solve this case a long time ago. There are possibly four viable suspects, all with dirt on their hands and little reason LE could not have hammered at each one of them and their ties to Joseph MacSway (and/or Summer) that could have led to a confession and the location of the MacSways' bodies; instead LE wallowed in their stupid little resolve that they had crossed the border into Mexico just because their auto was found nearby and they had a grainy video that 'might' have been them crossing over the border; which was BS because Merritt had already told them that the man in the video did not walk like Joseph, who had a gait-walk like a duck. I'm sure there would have been others who could have told them the same thing and likely did.

    It all comes back to the no-account SDSO and his PD who did not give a c'rap one way or the other. It appears that Patrick MacSway was right in his derogatory comments about them even though he is no longer in any way related to the MacSway family other than Joseph was still using his last name due to the fact that he had adopted Joseph earlier on.

    I saw a photo of Patrick standing with Joseph taken at Joseph & Summers' wedding so apparently he still maintained some sort of relationship with Joseph. IMO, the SDPD should have investigated every one of his claims, and evidence (and lots of it) and they might have turned up the MacSway killer(s) way before now.

    Instead, they did exactly nothing just like they did in Rebecca Zs' so-called 'suicide' at the Coronado mansion the minute they gazed at her naked body, when her death was no suicide at all, which was the most convenient thing for them to do and call it a day, allowing her murderer to walk free with nary a charge.

    They just flat don't give a rip one way or the other and no one ever does anything about it. My conclusion: I don't think it would do any good for SA to solve the case for them and hand it to them on a silver platter. They didn't care then and they don't care now. Period.

    Anonymous said...

    The name is MCSTAY not MCSWAY

    Anonymous said...

    FBI took the McStay case over in April of this year. What did they learn? Why would they step in? I agree that the SDSD should be investigated. The good people of San Diego deserve better, goodness know it's pricey enough to live there, and has the worst water in the state. Maybe the water has polluted their brains? mho Sad really when you can't rely on those who are they to protect and serve.

    Notamuser said...

    I agree with shmi & Jen Ow here. The passage of time changes what we can ASSUME about the relevance of his statements. For example, the police may have said, "We know you were the last person to see Joseph alive."

    Also if I did not answer a call from someone who was never heard from again, the fact that I didn't answer the call would be forever drilled in my head. & it would be part of my story. Case in point, 2010 - a tornado hit my parents street (not their house) & they were supposed to be visiting me out of state. That is part of what I remember & tell about the story. What they were NOT doing... because what if they had been hurt, etc. It's drilled into my head.

    Anonymous said...

    Your advice is so true, I live by it myself and preach it to everyone who's willing to listen.

    Anonymous said...

    I thought it was a sarcastic term for the ones whom could have been swayed.

    Anonymous said...

    Chase Merritt knew that he could walk into any Sheriff's Office and report his boss missing. He didn't have to get permission from Joey's mother or brother to act. Look at the phone records and they will tell a story. Joey talked to Chase how often? Why weren't alarms being set off the next day when Joey's phone went silent? Did Chase think they went on a four day weekend trip without telling him?

    Joey is referred to as Joseph while Mike is referred to as Mikey. Strange he would refer to his best friend in the formal, Joseph and refer to Joey's brother, who he barely knew, so casually as Mikey. I think he was denigrating Mike.

    I think Chase is full of his own self importance. When you have a boss, the President, the owner of the company, he makes the final decisions because it's his business that's on the line. You are not a "we" with the company. I wonder if there was a problem between Joey and Chase over this. If you look at Chase's criminal record, you can see he doesn't have much respect for authority. How many times did it take him to get it right with regard crimal background and to his parole? He didn't even like Summer having authority over him or Joey and the boys either over how she served pizza. This was unnecessarily added to the article and said more about Chase than Summer. I wonder if this was a problem between Chase and Mike. When Mike was working to keep Joey's business afloat, Mike had authority over Chase. Is that why Chase refers to Mike as Mikey? I believe that's what Mike's mom calls him. I believe Mom called her other son Joey, but Chase didn't call his friend Joey, he called him Joseph. I think he was being disrespectful to Mike and showing respect to Joey. I think Chase has to work through many things in his head regarding authority and who and why he is going to give respect to. I think it's on a person to person basis and situation by situation determination. He respected Joey for this, that and the other, he disrespected Summer for this and that and he disrespected Mike for a ton of reasons. Why judge anyone at all for the article? Two are dead and one is grieving. The perp on the other hand he leaves alone. No suspects named, no problems Joey may have had with other employees' explored, the CPS report not mentioned.

    Very strange article.

    This post is very interesting. I got alot out of the analysis of this article about Chase, no I mean about the McStays. Thanks. Great work.

    Juli Henry said...

    Does anyone else have questions about how Joseph's younger brother knew to look for "two shallow graves"?

    Anonymous said...

    Juli Henry, Oh yes other people have questions about the "two shallow graves". Is Mike psychic?

    Anonymous said...

    Earlier Statement Analysis on Michael McStay:

    http://www.statement-analysis.blogspot.com/2013/11/michael-mcstay-statement-analyzed.html

    The comments section includes a transcription of a walk-through videotape taken just 3 weeks after the family went missing. I'd love to see Peter analyse that in particular...

    Anonymous said...

    Talk about reaching for straws! This guy has zero motive other than the ones you are trying to invent. They weren't in business together, they were doing business together- he was making money from Joey's deals.
    MM, the brother, looks absolutely dirty in all this. He took money from Joey's bank account, sold off his personal belongings, only months after the family disappeared. He's a nervous wreck. Merit and the father told police that the 4 people walking to Mexico couldn't be the family, MM insisted that it was. Someone looked up Mexican passports on their comp and MM was always at their place. MM laughs when talking about the disappearance and only starts really looking scared after they find the bodies (police state that bodies were likely put there by an anxious individual in a rush = there is your perfect suspect!

    Anonymous said...

    Mikey and Joey were half brothers with the same mother.Patrick adopted Joey when he was very young and remained very close to Joey throughout his life.Everyone calls MM Mikey.CM was arrested so obviously the DA believes they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that CM is the killer.