Joseph McStay’s business affiliate, Charles “Chase” Merritt, 57, ‘has been arrested by authorities and will be charged with murdering the Fallbrook family of four that mysteriously disappeared in February 2010.
At a press conference held this morning, Friday, November 7, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail announced that they arrested Merritt, a resident of Homeland, on Wed., Nov. 5 for the murders of Joseph McStay, 40, Summer McStay, 43, and their two children, Gianni McStay, 4, and Joseph (Joey) M. McStay, 3.
The case, which appeared to baffle San Diego County authorities, was transferred to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s agency almost exactly one year ago when the remains of the family members were discovered Nov. 13, 2013 by an off-road motorcyclist in a desert area between Quarry Road and Interstate 15, in San Bernardino County.
According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept., “Over the past 12 months, investigators have conducted an extensive investigation which included the service of 60 search warrants and over 200 interviews.”
“Investigators received about 250 tips and followed up on every one; including emails, Crime Stoppers, We-Tip, America’s Most Wanted, National Center for Missing/Exploited Children and anonymous telephone calls.”
The agency reported that their homicide investigators worked with the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office and Special Agent Kevin Boles with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Merritt was arrested without incident and transported to the West Valley Detention Center,” authorities said. “He was booked for murder and is being held without bail. The District Attorney’s Office filed four counts of murder against Merritt.”
Merritt is reportedly being arraigned today (Nov. 7) in Victorville Superior Court. It is likely he will also be charged with special circumstances for multiple murders, which could make him eligible for the death penalty.
The San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office determined the cause of death of the McStay family members was blunt force trauma.
While San Diego County authorities reported earlier in the investigation that there was no evidence of crime at the McStay home, San Bernardino authorities have a different opinion.
“Based on the entire investigation and the evidence obtained, investigators believe the murders occurred at the family home in Fallbrook,” they stated.
At this time, because the investigation is continuing, authorities are not disclosing the motive for the murders.
Anyone with information they wish to share should contact Homicide Detective Eddie Bachman or Sgt. Chris Fisher at (909)387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.