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McStay family honored in Laguna Niguel memorial

Family and friends honored the McStay family in Laguna Niguel on Saturday. Their bodies were found in the desert.
January 4, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
The McStay family was honored in Laguna Niguel on Saturday after their bodies were found buried in the Mojave Desert last November. The family disappeared from their Fallbrook home nearly four years ago.

Family and friends gathered at the memorial service for Joseph McStay, Summer McStay and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joey, 3, at Vineyard Community Church.

Friends say they wanted to attend the memorial service to support the McStay's relatives, who have suffered a tremendous loss.

"We had hope and we prayed all the time that they would be found, and this is a horrible thing the way that they were found. So today we're just here to comfort the family," said Peggy Rodriguez, a family friend.

After the service in Laguna Niguel, family and friends paddled out to the San Clemente Pier to leave orchid leis in the ocean.

"It's definitely important for the family. This is something that they loved to do, so we feel that this would be important," he said Ken Aranda, Summer McStay's brother.

The family disappeared from their Fallbrook home in February 2010. Authorities say the McStays left their dogs in the backyard and food out on the counter. Their SUV was left at the U.S.-Mexico border and their bank accounts were untouched.

Their bodies were discovered in two shallow graves near Victorville. An off-road motorcyclist reported finding bones. Authorities say the family was murdered. The killer or killers have not been brought to justice.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department handed over the case to the FBI. The investigation is ongoing.