Patrick McStay speaks out, believes his family was killed over money

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- It's been one year since the bodies of the McStay family were found in the Mojave Desert, north of Victorville.

Patrick McStay has been waiting nearly five years to find out who killed his family. He is now opening up about their murders in his first television interview since the arrest of Chase Merritt, a business associate of his son, Joseph McStay.

Patrick McStay says his son considered Merritt a friend. He thinks if Merritt did kill the family of four, it was because of money.

Merritt was a welder for Joseph McStay's custom waterfall company. But Joseph told his father Merritt's work had gotten sloppy and that he was looking for another welder after landing a very lucrative waterfall deal worth $9 million.

The McStay family is seen in this undated file photo.


Patrick said he last spoke with Merritt earlier this year when the two discussed the books they were writing about the case. Looking back, he says he thinks Merritt was just digging to find out what Patrick knew about the murders.

In his interview with CNN, Patrick was asked, "What would you ask (Merritt)?"

He replied, "I wouldn't ask him anything. There'd be one person come out of that room."

Joseph McStay, 43-year-old Summer McStay and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joey, 3, vanished without a trace in February 2010 shortly after moving to Fallbrook from Orange County. Their dogs were still in the backyard, and food was out on the counter.

Then on Nov. 11, 2013, the skeletal remains of the family of four were found in two shallow graves near Victorville, and the missing persons case immediately turned into a homicide investigation. Investigators say they died from "blunt force trauma."

Charles 'Chase' Merritt, the suspect in the murders of the McStay family of four, is seen in this photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Charles 'Chase' Merritt, the suspect in the murders of the McStay family of four, is seen in this photo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.


Merritt was taken into custody in Chatsworth after a traffic stop last week and booked at West Valley Detention Center. Detectives said they believe Merritt acted alone in the murders, and no other suspects were sought.

Merritt had previously spoken out publicly about the murders, saying he met Joseph for a business lunch on the day the family disappeared and that they had talked a dozen times later on that day.

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