Friday, November 7, 2014

McStay Murder Suspect Arrested

Statement Analysis of Charle "Chase" Merritt showed the lack of reliable denial. Today, he was arrested. 
Police in San Bernardino County today announced their arrest of a suspect in the murder of Joseph McStay, his wife and two young sons, whose bodies were found in shallow graves in the California desert in 2013, four years after their mysterious disappearance.
Charles "Chase" Merritt, 57, described by authorities as a business associate of the family, was arrested on Oct. 5 in Victorville, Calif., about 85 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border where the bodies were found on Nov. 11, 2013, police said.

 December 5, 2013:

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.  


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.
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. 


    tania cadogan said...

    off topic

    A third person has been arrested and charged in connection to the beating death and alleged torture of a 3-year-old boy in Pennsylvania.

    Jillian Tait, 31, and Gary Lee Fellenbaum, 23, were charged Thursday with murdering Tait's son, Scott McMillan in what Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan has referred to as 'an American horror story'.

    The couple allegedly hung little Scott by his legs, tortured him for weeks and smashed his head into the wall before beating him to death.

    Police arrested Fellenbaum's wife, 21-year-old Amber Fellenbaum, who allegedly witnessed the beatings but did nothing to stop the violence.

    The woman has been charged with child endangerment for failure to call police.

    Photos taken by investigators inside the trailer home they shared with Fellenbaum's 21-year-old estranged wife, Amber, and three children have now been released.

    They show the mattress where the youngster died, the whips that were allegedly used to beat him and holes in the wall where Fellenbaum is said to have repeatedly smashed the youngster's head.

    A bent, metal curtain rod was also found, which attorneys believe was another item used during the child's relentless torment, which is believed to have lasted for weeks before his death.

    The pair from Chesco, Pennsylvania, are said to have gone car shopping, bought pizza, had sex and took a nap as Tait's unresponsive son lay dying.

    The torture included being beaten with blunt objects, tied to a chair with electrical tape and several punches to the face and stomach.

    When his body was taken to the emergency room, nurses are said to have wept at the sight of his injuries.

    'This is just evilness,' Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said at a press conference on Friday. 'It is an unspeakable act of depravity.'

    He also said that Tait's elder son also showed signs of abuse. 'It is going to take us years to put him back together again physically and mentally,' he said.

    They are accused of laughing as the boy was hung upside down and whipped, striking him repeatedly with a frying pan, and eventually beating him to death.

    The abuse had been going on for months, but the beatings and violence intensified between Sunday and Thursday last week.

    Announcing the charges on Thursday, Hogan said: 'Let me tell you about an American horror story. Little Scotty McMillan is dead.

    'Over a three-day period… he was systematically tortured and beaten to death. He was punched in the face and in the stomach, he was scourged with a homemade whip, he was lashed with a metal rod, he was tied to a chair and beaten, he was tied upside down by his feet and beaten, his head was smashed through a wall and at the end of that he had bruises on top of bruises all over his body.'

    'When his body went into the emergency room our ER nurses — who see a lot of terrible things — when they saw his body, they wept.'

    Holding back tears he said: 'Say a prayer for little Scott McMilan. The brief nightmare that was his life is over.'

    Hogan concluded that his team would be seeking the death penalty as the victim was under 12 and there are allegations he had been tortured.

    The couple met working at Wal-Mart and last month moved in together, along with Fellenbaum's estranged wife and three children — Tait's six and three-year-old sons and the Fellenbaums' 11-month-old daughter.

    The six lived in a mobile home park in West Caln Township, Chester County, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

    The three adults told authorities 'that Scott McMillan had been punched and beaten with blunt and sharp objects, whipped, taped to a chair with electrical tape and beaten, hung up by his feet and beaten, and suffered other acts of violence,' police said in affidavits released Thursday.

    Amber Fellenbaum, 21, was charged with child endangerment for allegedly failing to help the toddler. She ultimately called 911 Tuesday night, authorities said.

    tania cadogan said...

    By then, Scott had been unresponsive for hours, and had been put in a shower for more than 30 minutes by his mother and her boyfriend, investigators said.

    When the boy failed to awaken, they placed him on an uninflated air mattress and went out shopping, authorities said.

    Fellenbaum had severely beaten the boy for refusing to eat toast both Monday and Tuesday morning, authorities said.

    The 'discipline' included throwing him against a wall, knocking him off a chair with a punch and then taping him to the chair to keep him upright for more beatings, police said.

    It was not immediately clear if any of the adults have lawyers.

    Tait told police that she also took part in the abuse and saw the scars on her younger son, court documents said. Her older son also showed signs of abuse, authorities said.

    She and Fellenbaum are being held without bail after their arraignments Thursday. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on November 14.

    When authorities searched their home, they only had one picture of Scott.

    Prosecutors also showed off pictures of the weapons that were used. Included in the items were a makeshift whip, a curtain rod, an aluminum strip and photos of holes in the wall where Fellenbaum slammed Scotty and his 6-year-old brother's heads into the wall, according to NBC Philadelphia.

    On the night that the youngster died, Tait told police that she and Fellenbaum left Scotty on the mattress so he could sleep then went out to pick up pizza for dinner.

    At that time, Tait told police that she and Fellenbaum engaged in sexual activity then she took a nap, according to investigators.

    After waking up around 7:30 pm Tait said she found Scotty wasn't breathing so she screamed for someone to call 911. Amber Fellenbaum then called 911 and medics arrived.

    A judge denied bail to both Fellenbaum and Tait at a Wednesday arraignment.

    Hogan announced a total of 16 charges against Gary Fellenbaum including first- and third-degree murder charges, homicide, endangering the welfare of a child, assault and reckless endangerment. Tait faces 15 charges including the most serious murder charges, according to court records.

    According to Chester County's Daily Local News, Fellenbaum picked on the younger boy because he didn't know what was happening and tried to resist. The older boy, who was six, tried not to irritate Fellenbaum any more by struggling.

    In a statement to investigators, Tait admitted that she participated in the assaults on the brothers.

    An affidavit states: 'During one incident, Gary hung Scott and (his brother) up by their feet one at a time and beat the boys while they were hanging upside down'(Tait) stated the she and Gary were laughing during the incident.'

    Scott had been unable to eat the breakfast of toast and cinnamon sugar that Fellenbaum made for him and kept spitting it out. She said she and Fellenbaum tried to force the toast into his mouth but that he still would not eat. Fellenbaum, angry at the child, began punching him in the stomach and face, and took him to his room where the two continued punching him.

    At some point, she said, Fellenbaum picked the child up by his back and slammed him into a wall, according to the affidavit.

    On Tuesday, when the child woke up he had very red, swolen face. Again he didn't eat breakfast, so Fellenbaum said he was being disrespectful.

    He then punched him so hard that the boy fell off of his chair. Fellenbaum then put him back on the chair as he squirmed, took out some electrical tape and tied the boy's feet.

    tania cadogan said...

    He also strapped his arms to the posts of the chair so they were elevated. Fellenbaum began punching Scott again, causing him to vomit and become unresponsive, according to the police documents.

    The pair, according to the affadavit, then tried to wake the boy up. Failing to do so they allegedly put him in a bath of ice cold water and changed his closed.

    Fellenbaum is believed to have seen this as another sign of disrespect, so put the boy on the mattress and left the house to go and collect pizza. When they returned he will still unresponsive, so Tait said she ate some of the pizza then had sex with Fellenbaum.

    Hogan added that there had been no warning signs to suggest the boys were being abused. Scott was a student at Rainbow Elementary School, but staff members never reported suspicious bruises or injuries.

    However, Scott had not been at school for two weeks.

    Read more:

    Niall MacDougall said...

    ''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''

    Well,he certainly wasn't devoid of a motive now was he?

    ''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''

    Perhaps Joseph made a business decision to buy waterfalls from Mexico as Merritt's were of 'inferior quality',resulting in Merritt reacting violently.

    Even if he is as he describes himself as ''the least violent person'' He is STILL a violent person!
    Just not the most violent person...on the planet.

    Sarah Highcove said...

    I also got a strange impression from the brother of the victim (Michael McStay). Any thoughts on if he knew more or was also connected in some way?

    Anonymous said...

    The strangest scenario of all is the fact that no one went to check on the McStays, not the mother, brother or Merritt, nor did anyone call 911 for a welfare check on this family for at least a week after no one heard from them; with not even closerthanthis good buddy Merritt being concerned about Joseph during all this time of no contact when they had a thriving business that needed attention. One media report says it was eleven days before Merritt went to check on them and another media report states that it was seven days.

    It being more than a week later with no contact; why did Merritt drive by Josephs' mothers house first, suggesting she call the brother and suggesting she call 911 before he even went to the McStay home? Had he already been in and out of the house on other occasions removing vital evidence before he alerted Josephs family?

    Why hadn't he already called 911 himself at least by the second day of not speaking to Joseph, stating as he did that they spoke to each other several times a day? Not hearing from Joseph did not raise a red flag with Merritt during all these days of no contact? They were business partners and were the busiest they had ever been, but Merritt wasn't in a panic after the first day, and certainly by the second day, of no contact with Joseph?

    Merritt gave himself away during these many days of keeping his distance from Joseph and his family, then putting on a big show of 'finding' them missing and the dogs starving and with plenty of witnesses on hand.

    Good show Merritt, and some of the most convincing kind words any good ole boy could ever conjure up about his closefriend, but not good enough to keep you from being the number one prime suspect. Your actions, or lack of, were much louder than your well-thought-out convincing words. In the end, SA proves your failure to say the simple words "I didn't do it" now weigh heavily against you.

    Peter Hyatt said...


    I did some analysis on the brother a year ago...

    I understand your comment.


    Anonymous said...

    Why didn't anyone worry about the family a few days later on the Saturday the mother had planned a birthday party for one of the boys? No one called? No one showed up at the house for the party? Weird. This was only 2 days after it is now known they went missing.

    Ulla said...

    Sarah Highcove said...
    I also got a strange impression from the brother of the victim (Michael McStay). Any thoughts on if he knew more or was also connected in some way?

    November 8, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    I agree, Sarah.

    There is something about MM that is just off. His behavior doesn't seem genuine, he was downright strange when touring the empty house, and he has been quoted as saying some unusual things.
    I wonder if he is just a rare bird or if it is something more.

    (I also read the interview posted with CM and certainly think that his comments about Summer qualify as disparaging the victim.)

    Droll Skeptic said...

    This case is unbelievable.

    While I have zero doubt that Merritt is the killer...

    HOW was it possible for a single person to incapacitate a family of four in their own home, bludgeon them at that location, move the bodies and the victims' car... and yet leave no evidence of a crime--or even a struggle!--having taken place, we LE's stated theory??

    I'm sorry, I can't think of a more tactful way of saying this:

    Bludgeoning deaths are extremely messy.

    Even if Merritt came back and did a thorough clean up prior to LE doing their primary walk-thru at the McStay home...he couldn't have gotten it all, IMO. So either that theory is wrong or the SD pooched the initial investigation even WORSE than has been speculated.

    I reeeeaaallly hope that there was some strategic reason behind those PC statements and this is not their true theory of how the crime was perpetrated...because, if they present that to a jury I'm afraid Merritt will walk!

    Sarah Highcove said...

    Thanks Peter. I read your entry regarding Michael, and it really reminds me of how much I was bothered by some of the things he said and did (or did not do) during the search. Knowing how the bodies were going to be found was a huge red flag. I wonder if he and Merritt were both involved in this as I just can't grasp how Merritt would pull this off so efficiently (overpowering an entire family and discreetly ending their lives and burying them) without some kind of help or assistance.

    Anonymous said...

    Merritt did merit taking a closer look at, and Michael, the brother behaved very suspiciously, and then there was the web master. Brother and webmaster going into Joseph's account and helping themselves to his money was not what one would expect, especially since the family was "missing."

    I find it incredulous that Chase did the crime all on his own. The way the McStays were murdered is violent and personal. Police will not discuss motive, but what would make Merritt so full of rage? This is a very sad case, so many odd, and not in a good way, characters.

    Sus said...

    I do think LE has the right man. And as weird as this may sound, I remember thinking after reading this article, "He wants caught."

    What I am surprised about is that the McStay family was bludgeoned to death in their home. Are these reports accurate? Then why didn't LE immediately know they were murdered? Wouldn't there be evidence of that in the home? Why did LE think the family crossing into Mexico was the McStays then? That makes no sense.

    By Merritt's own words I would have put Joseph's death separately, either in the dessert near where he's buried or at Merritt's home. Then Merritt took the rest of the family using Joseph's vehicle.

    I fully agree with Peter that the lunch ended in an argument. Notice "we" is used and there is a spirit of cooperation until the last sentence "He did nothing to suggest there was anything wrong or untoward." This sentence is jarring or unexpected. Why report "nothing"?

    In the next sentence, Merrit states "We both left and went home." As Peter said, left can mean his mind is back at lunch. Adding "we both" seems to suggest whatever happened at lunch was disagreeable. When you have a connecting word (and) after "left" question what follows..."went home" I am questioning if Merritt went home or followed Joseph McStay. Saying he "told him" in several phone calls certainly seems to be arguing. He also says it was "standard business"...same as saying normal.

    Chase Merritt told CNN that this lunch was for Joseph to write a check, quite a large check, to a steel company. I'm thinking Joseph might have refused to write that check.

    andrize said...

    The DA gave an interview on a local radio program yesterday (KFI AM) and stated that the murders occurred at "the residence" which, to me, does not necessarily mean inside the house. Also, the house was in disarray due to renovations and there were open painting materials left out. I think it is also then possible that CM could have painted over evidence?

    Anonymous said...

    The arrest was a big surprise to me. Agree with Sarah above. I always found the brother MM suspicious. Why did he say he saw "two adult shallow graves" long before the graves were found? At the arrest announcment yesterday, as he made his statement, he made motion to wipe his eyes, which had no tear at all; and when he finished, he had a smile on his face.

    Anonymous said...

    IMO, once it is known that a person has lied, or cleverly evaded telling the whole truth, it becomes obvious that they weave long and winding stories to fit the circumstances and becomes more difficult to know how much of their story is fabricated; so it is with Merritt's interview as related above. How much is fabricated, how much is true, how much was made up to make the circumstances fit their innocence?

    Where Merritt states that since the murders he went broke, bankrupt, lost everything including his family, implying that he would have nothing financially to gain in the murders of Joseph and his family; however, this becomes the reason he decided to kill Joseph and his family, knowing this is what would happen to him if Joseph pulled out on their deal. This would leave him flat broke and with nothing. If he was going to lose everything, he would make sure Joseph did too.

    For whatever his reasons were, Joseph wanted out of their business arrangement and for this Merritt decided that if he couldn't be a part of the business now that it was going to be highly lucrative; but now Joseph was going to leave him sitting in the dust, he would make sure Joseph and his family didn't get to enjoy the benefits of the business either. He would leave them sitting in the dust.

    We do not know if there actually was a luncheon meeting between them that day or when/where/how (a liar being a liar)Joseph told Merritt it was over; or, how long the tension filled end of their business relationship had been brewing by the time Joseph definitively informed Merritt he was moving on without him. We do not know what date they actually went missing or were killed since their bodies were found decayed.

    his rage against Joseph could have been brewing before he took the final act of killing Joseph and his entire family. We may never know the full and truthful details of their murders as it is a proven fact that the San Diego PD is inept to its' core. (I refer you to the SD Sheriffs Office cover up of the Coronado Mansion grisly murder of Rebecca Zanhau).

    In Patrick McStays' remarks that the SDPD did nothing to assist in finding them or in solving their murders, this would be 99.9% accurate. If the SDPD are correct in any of their statements, then the info would have fallen on top of their stupid heads and they would not have been able to escape it. Fact.

    Anonymous said...

    I apologize for the space malfunction in the above post. I tried to correct it but couldn't. Sorry.

    Carnival Barker said...

    I still think MM had something to do with this. I never believed that he was the one who physically killed them, but he definitely knows something about what happened to them and why.

    His theatrics at these press conferences is so over the top and ridiculous. When he took the stage -- I mean podium -- this time he had to turn to back to collect himself. Give me a break, please! They just arrested his brother's murderer! Isn't this a relief?? He didn't do this turn-around move at the press conference where they announced they found the bodies ... you know, the confirmation that his family had been found murdered and buried. He actually started to laugh at the end and bit his own shoulder to stifle it.

    Rose said...

    How on earth did one man kill four people at the same time by bludgeoning them to death? I get that two of them were babies, but how could he have done that with all of them in the house at the same time? I think there is no way it happened like that. So the cops saw no indication of foul play at the home and four people were beaten to death there? Either they did not look very carefully, or that is not what happened.

    Sus said...

    Sorry, "I spoke", not " I told."

    Sus said...

    Ok, I did some reading last night and found that Joseph McStay stopped at a pharmacy on his way home from the lunch. During that same time, a neighbor saw a white truck (like Chase Merritt's) at the McStay home. Also during that time period there was a call from the McStay landline phone to Joseph's cell.

    It seems Merritt may have gone to the home after the lunch, could have murdered Summer and the boys, then ambushed Joseph when he arrived home.

    Oh, and the guy who was painting their home posted about Chase Merritt after the arrest. He said they were having trouble with Merritt and Summer wanted all ties broken with him. That sure explains Chase Merritt's words toward Summer...and their relationship, huh?

    Kellie said...

    Makes perfect sense Sus. Killed her first then ambushed him. BUT why no signs of bloody murder in the home?

    Anonymous said...

    old but good observations at this link, including in the comments

    I find Michael McStay's actions and words very suspicious.

    StarTender said...

    I definitely saw tears in Michael McStay's eyes; they can even be seen in the photograph included within this post.

    Also, I'm surprised at how many of you are suspicious of MM. To me, he looks as if he's been hitting the sauce, and needs to attend a meeting.

    At the end of MM's video interview, it looked as if he sobbed, then tried to stifle it. He's all red-faced, teary-eyed and bedraggled . . . the signs of being under the influence.

    Then again, I could be wrong.

    trustmeigetit said...

    Article today said police beleive Chade beat the family to death in their home.

    That just makes no sense.

    If he beat 4 people to death there would be tons of blood. Unless he hired cleaners and painters it would have been a bloody scene.

    And we know that's not the case since they were looking to see if they left voluntarily.

    If there was blood all over it would have been "foul play" from day one.

    This is just not adding up.

    And Michael saying he was worried they were looking for "2 shallow graves" is just too much of a coincidence since that's exaclty how they were found.

    I wonder if this is the same LE that said Hannah Anderson was just an innocent victim.

    Clearly they are not doing a good job