McStay family murder investigation: Court records unsealed

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Saturday, January 24, 2015
The McStay family is seen in this undated file photo.
The McStay family is seen in this undated file photo.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KABC) -- At the request of news organizations, including Eyewitness News, a San Diego judge has unsealed court records about the early investigation into the disappearance of the McStay family.

The documents unsealed Friday reveal the condition of the Fallbrook home of Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young sons when investigators arrived in February 2010.

Authorities found a lamp lying on floor and several open suitcases with folded clothing inside. There were rotten eggs in the kitchen and two small bowls of slightly spilled popcorn in the living room.

The family's disappearance remained a mystery until their skeletal remains were found buried in two shallow graves in the Mojave Desert on Nov. 11, 2013.

Nearly a year later, on Nov. 5, 2014, Charles "Chase" Merritt was arrested for allegedly killing the family of four.

Authorities say Merritt, a business associate of 40-year-old Joseph McStay, beat the family to death inside their residence. The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department has yet to release a possible motive.

Merritt pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.