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Missing family: Remains found in desert confirmed as McStay couple

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department confirmed Friday that remains found in the desert are Joseph and Summer McStay.
November 15, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The case of a missing family from San Diego County has turned into a homicide investigation.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department confirmed Friday that remains found in the desert near Victorville are Joseph and Summer McStay, a couple who went missing with their two young sons in 2010.

The remains of four bodies were found in shallow graves in the Mojave Desert earlier this week. Investigators said Joseph and Summer McStay were identified through dental records. DNA tests on the other two bodies are pending, but are believed to be the couple's two children, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joey, investigators said. Clothing was also found.

"It's not really the outcome we were looking for. But it gives us the courage to know that they're together, and they're in a better place," said Michael McStay, Joseph's brother.

The family disappeared from their Fallbrook home in February 2010. Relatives were left puzzled. They described the family as happy and living the American dream. The family's dogs were found wandering their backyard, and money was left in their bank accounts.

The family's SUV was found near the border, and at one time investigators believed the family may have left to Mexico. But relatives did not believe that theory and suspected foul play.

The deaths have been ruled a homicide, but investigators aren't releasing a motive nor are they revealing how the family was killed.

The San Bernardino Sheriff's Department is leading the ongoing investigation, and the FBI is assisting.

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