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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS

Who Murdered the McStay Family?

Aired November 16, 2014 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the house?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Once a cold case.

STEPH WATTS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Whoever did this to the family are just well-planned out.

KAYE: A family of four vanishes from their home in suburban San Diego. No signs of struggle...

MICHAEL MCSTAY, JOSEPH MCSTAY'S BROTHER: They don't go anywhere without the double stroller.

KAYE: ... or any apparent plans to flea, gone without a trace.

SUSAN BLAKE, MOTHER OF JOSEPH MCSTAY: There is no way they left willingly. And it's been said since day one.

KAYE: Then nearly four years later, 100 miles from their home...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911, what are you reporting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found what it looks like a human skull.

JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO SHERIFF: We're able to identify the adult victims as Summer and Joseph McStay.

KAYE: Who brutally murdered the McStays? A year ago we followed a tragic trail gone cold.

PATRICK MCSTAY, JOSEPH MCSTAY'S FATHER: Who's so cold-blooded that they killed children?

KAYE: Missed opportunities, dead end clues, interviews with those closest to the family like this man, Chase Merritt. Then a concerned family friend.

I mean in your gut, what do you think happened.

CHASE MERRITT, FRIEND OF JOSEPH MCSTAY: I have absolutely no clue.

KAYE: Now, arrested for their murder.

MCMAHON: The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma. He's in custody.

KAYE: Tonight, his exclusive interview and haunting words.

You were the last person he saw.

MERRITT: I'm definitely the last person he saw.

KAYE: Who is this man and why do police say he killed an entire family? We take you inside this chilling case.

Buried Secrets: Who Murdered the McStay Family.

P MCSTAY: From day one, I just have this gut feeling that I was never going to see them again. I just knew. Something told me I was never going to see them again.

KAYE: Four years ago, Patrick McStay lost everything he loved. Four years ago, his son Joseph, daughter-in-law Summer, and their two little boys four-year-old Gianni and three-year-old Joseph Jr. vanished.

P MCSTAY: I don't think they knew what was coming. They really don't.

KAYE: How did you find out that they had gone missing?

P MCSTAY: Friday, I tried calling him, couldn't get him. Sunday, I tried calling him, I couldn't reach him. Now I'm getting little worried.

KAYE: Worried since Patrick says he rarely went a day without a phone call from his son.

P MCSTAY: Every time I talk to him, the last words out of my mouth when we -- before we hang up the phone "I love you son."

KAYE: If he was in trouble or -- and have the ability to reach out to you, do you think he would have called you or don't you think he would have?

P MCSTAY: No, absolutely.

WATTS: This case is unique. I've never seen anything like it.

KAYE: Free lance investigative journalist Steph Watts has followed the case closely from the beginning.

WATTS: They just literally disappeared and nobody noticed for days.

KAYE: Thursday, February 4th 2010 began as an ordinary day in the McStay home.

P MCSTAY: In that morning, I spoke to Joey on the phone.

KAYE: But he didn't lead on anything was wrong ...

P MCSTAY: No, nothing was wrong.

KAYE: ... in your last conversation.

P MCSTAY: No, everything is fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His planning of having a lunch meeting with a business associate around noon, so he had to quickly wrap and get out of the house.

KAYE: Summer spent the day caring for the kids overseeing their home renovation.

Do they have any plans for that weekend?

P MCSTAY: Yes. They had little Joey's birthday party scheduled for that Saturday, the 6th.

KAYE: But little Joey Jr. never made it to his third birthday party. Instead, the family of four left their house after dark that Thursday evening, two days before the party. The door is locked. The family car, gone.

WATTS: At 7:47 p.m., the neighbor's video surveillance catches the SUV leaving the home. It appears on what we learned about what's in the home that they left quickly.

KAYE: Their two beloved dogs, Bear (ph) and Digger (ph) left outside without food or water.

P MCSTAY: I know Bear (ph), the big on. And let me tell you something, that dog is like family. Summer, that's her -- that's like a kid, one of her kids and there is no way.

KAYE: They would have never abandoned like that.

P MCSTAY: Oh god, no.

KAYE: Food was also left out, eggs rotting on the kitchen counter, coffee grinds scattered about.

BLAKE: If you took off really fast, but be coming back.

KAYE: Susan Blake is Joseph McStay's mother.

BLAKE: Your thoughts are going wild. Well why would they be missing? Something's not right here.

KAYE: It's a mystery that baffled investigators. San Bernardino Sheriff John McMahon and his team of detectives are now in-charged of the investigation.

Do you have any thoughts on what would have made the McStay's leave their home on February 4th and in such a rush?

MCMAHON: At this point no. WATTS: Why would they take their children, who are four and three, out of the home at 8:00 at night? It's dark. What was it that got off four of them out of that house? And out of that house in a hurry?

KAYE: Were they forced to leave or do they leave on their own? Early evidence pointed the investigation south to Mexico.

WATTS: Law enforcement was convinced if the family had gone over to Mexico willingly at this point.

KAYE: But Patrick McStay was not. So he launched his own investigation from his living room in Texas.

So how many hours a day you're investigating this?

P MCSTAY: Whenever I'm awake.

KAYE: Which is most of the time, Patrick hasn't gotten a good night sleep in more than four years.

Do you think if he was having a problem or if somebody had been threatening him, he would have called you?

P MCSTAY: I thought he would have but I find that later that apparently he didn't.

WATTS: Was this random or was this extremely orchestrated. And as the pieces begin to come together, it's looking to me like it was extremely orchestrated. So we have to ask ourselves why?

KAYE: Why did the McStays leave their home on a moments notice and why would anyone want this beautiful young family to vanish without a trace? Shocking clues that police say connect this man to the mystery, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: In the month before they disappeared, Summer and Joseph McStay's lives appears picture perfect. They certainly didn't look like they had any plans to vanish.

Joseph's younger brother Michael says they had it all.

MICHAEL MCSTAY, BROTHER OF JOSEPH MCSTAY: Everything is going good. They have these two beautiful boys who surf and hang out at the beach.

Everybody loved Joey. The boys were full of life and Summer was a great mom.

KAYE: They were living the American dream. Joseph worked from home building his custom water future business, Chase Merritt work with Joseph and considered him a close friend.

CHASE MERRITT, FRIEND OF JOSEPH MCSTAY: He was incredible. He was -- Joseph was probably one of the nicest people I've ever met. He love Summer to death. He did just about anything for her. KAYE: While Joseph worked hard Summer raise their son.

M MCSTAY: They love the beach. Summer love the beach. Joey love the beach.

KAYE: Joseph's father Patrick.

P MCSTAY: They had problems just like anybody else, I mean, you know, the thing it can done because they love each other.

KAYE: McGyver McCargar was Joseph's close friend and former roommate. He knew Summer through his real estate and introduced her to Joseph back in 2004.

MCGYVER MCCARGAR, FRIEND OF JOSEPH MCSTAY: Love at first sight for Joseph. My joke was with them, was like, "Hey, pace yourself," you know, I don't want anybody hurt here.

KAYE: Gianni, their first son was born in 2005 and less than two years later, Joseph Jr. arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Summer was a mama bear. She wanted the best for her kids, she was very protective.

P MCSTAY: You know, let me tell you don't mess with those kids. She's just very protective woman, not afraid of anybody.

KAYE: Shortly after Joey Jr. was born, Joseph and Summer got married in a small intimate ceremony in Orange County, California. Melissa Geller was one of Summer bridesmaids.

MELISSA GELLER: She looks so beautiful. It was a great day. It really was.

KAYE: But their marriage wasn't perfect.

BLAKE: I know Summer was very jealous, very, very jealous of, you know, obviously the first wife.

KAYE: In his early 20's, Joseph married a woman named Heather. They had a son together.

M MCSTAY: She was the love of his life and when they broke up, it just broke his heart.

KAYE: Heather and Joseph's young romance broke down after six years of marriage. She filed for divorce in August of 1998 siding irreconcilable differences.

BLAKE: He would have done anything and everything but, you know, things happen and I love that, you know, the decision was made that, you know, they're going to be good parents together.

J MCSTAY: Yeah, playing with your bother.

KAYE: Joseph and Heather agreed to share custody of their son Jonah. M MCSTAY: He loved Jonah. He still wanted to be as much as a father as he could.

KAYE: Friends say, when Joseph married Summer, she welcomed Jonah into their new family with open arms.

MCCARGAR: I remembered her helping him making a lemonade stand, you know, and she was totally embracing it.

KAYE: Chase Merritt remembers something very different. We first spoke to him exclusively in January of 2014. Now accused by authorize of murdering the McStay family. Then he was pointing fingers in other directions.

MERRITT: Summer had the idea of Joseph spending time with Jonah and taking time away from his other two boys and her.

KAYE: Did she like Jonah?

MERRITT: I can't say whether she like him or not. She didn't act like it.

KAYE: Merritt claims Joseph simply put up with Summer's controlling behavior.

MERRITT: Joseph loved her to death. You know, he thought she walked on water.

KAYE: He also though she maybe the root of his mysterious health issues.

MERRITT: Extreme dizziness, nausea, he went to the doctor several times and they couldn't find anything wrong.

KAYE: Merritt says Joseph wondered if his own wife may have potentially been poisoning him.

MERRITT: Somebody had told him that maybe he should stop eating at home.

KAYE: Did he truly believe that maybe she was trying to poison him?

MERRITT: His statement to me was, you know, maybe I should take heed.

KAYE: What would be the reason or the motive that Summer would ever consider poisoning him?

MERRITT: We never talked about that.

KAYE: Do you believe that Summer may have been looking to poison your son?

P MCSTAY: You know, I suspected the same thing in the beginning because of Joey's illness and everything else. So I went down that same road, you know, and no. I don't believe it.

KAYE: Up next, exclusive insight into the day Joseph McStay and his family went missing.

You were the last person he saw.

MERRITT: I'm not definitely the last person who saw him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MERRITT: We got together. We had lots to talk about.

KAYE: But you were the last person he saw.

MERRITT: I'm not definitely the last person he saw.

KAYE: Chase Merritt has never talked on camera before about that day. He met Joseph on February 4th 2010 to talk business and business was booming.

MERRITT: We have 500 waterfalls coming up, it would be the biggest project we'd ever done.

KAYE: A project in all worth about $9 million.

After lunch, Merritt says they spoke on the phone a handful more times. Record show that Joseph's phone called Merritt at 8:28 p.m.

MERRITTE: I'd already talk to Joseph phone 12, 13 times that day. And we'd already met for a couple of hours, you know, and I was tired.

KAYE: Do you regret not picking up that call?

MERRITT: (Inaudible) 2020.

KAYE: It was the last known call from Joseph's cell phone. The call was made 41 minutes after a neighbor security camera captured the McStay's white Isuzu pulling out of the McStay's cul-de-sac.

WATTS: Did Joseph actually make that call from his phone or did somebody else take Joseph's phone and make that call or was he trying to call for help?

MERRITT: The next day, I called him and he didn't answer. I started getting concerned by the end of the second day.

DAN KAVANAUGH: I put the initial word out to his friends and family that he had not been communicating online or via phone and I couldn't get a whole Summer either.

KAYE: Dan Kavanaugh, who worked with Joseph managing his company's website, contacted Patrick.

KAVANAUGH: My gut instinct was not really a good one.

KAYE: Patrick called his younger son, Michael, who lived near Joseph.

P MCSTAY: I need you to go and check on your brother, and again, "I'm too busy." M MCSTAY: I didn't want to overreact. We thought that maybe they did a little 10-day vaca.

KAYE: Finally on February 10th, six days since the family went missing, law enforcement was notified.

WATTS: They don't go into the house. They only checked outside the house. At that point, they felt there was nothing suspicious.

KAYE: Chase Merritt told us he was the first person to go to the house to check things out for himself.

MERRITT: He wasn't there, his track wasn't in the driveway. Dogs we're in the backyard with no food, no water. There is shed to left to his house that I have built for him just a few weeks before.

And it was closed. So I ended up opening the door and held it open with a bucket or something. And I'd took the dog's food and we've open the bag and put the bag inside the shed so that they could get in.

KAYE: And did you look around the house, did you see anything suspicious?

MERRITT: I walked around the house. I didn't see anything suspicious, you know, I'm -- they just weren't there, you know. They didn't answer the phone.

KAYE: Does it surprise you that the dogs are outside?

MERRITT: Very much so. So much so that I called Susan, Joseph's mother and told her there's something a mess.

MCSTAY: My mom said "Oh, Chase just left here. He just drove by Joey's house." I'm talking with Chase everyday.

KAYE: So you felt like you had eyeballs on the house.

MCSTAY: I felt like I had eyeballs on the house...

KAYE: Merritt told me he was more alarmed than McStay family members.

MERRITT: I was really concerned that they weren't (inaudible) just get more concerned.

KAYE: Which seems to be missing to me as any sense of urgency to find out where they were and get inside that house.

MERRITT: And that's exactly what I thought also. I don't even know if I called the sheriff department if they would do anything anyway. You know, I'm -- to them I'm just a friend.

KAYE: Then on February 13th, nine days had passed and still no word from the McStays. That's when Michael decided he needed to drive through his brother's house himself. Chase met him there and together they climbed inside through an unlocked window. They found the house in either disarray, rotten food on the counter, popcorn on the futon, clothes thrown all over the place.

MERRITT: I don't remember a great deal of it because, you know, I was in the house for maybe three minutes, I think, you know, I'm not very long.

I told Michael at the time, you should probably call the sheriff department and his response was simply, "You know what? Let's wait until the end of the weekend."

MCSTAY: San Diego's Sheriff, they have a rule anyway. After 10 days, it's automatically they send out homicide.

KAYE: Could you have reported them missing and gotten some police action before those 10 days?

M MCSTAY: I don't know. I don't know. Maybe.

KAYE: Monday, February 15th, 11 days after the family went missing, Michael called the sheriff's department who came to the house to investigate. They immediately alerted homicide. Then investigators did something Patrick McStay finds unbelievable.

MCSTAY: They don't put any tape on the crime scene tape, any notices on the door, nothing. They just locked the house back up and they leave there at once.

KAYE: It took San Diego investigators four days to obtain the warrants they needed to complete a full search of the home. But during those four days, the McStay's home remained unsealed which allowed Joseph's brother, mother access in and out of the house.

BLAKE: I've been going there unless I called, you know, the sheriff's department. They said I could, so I had permission. I cleaned up the kitchen because it was disgusting and the trash can from diapers sitting there all that time.

MCSTAY: No. It was not deemed a crime scene because there was no sign of forced entry. There was no sign of foul play at the house.

KAYE: Michael says investigators gave them the OK to remove some items from the home.

MCSTAY: With their permission, I grabbed his computer. Well, it would be Joey's computer and the SD card. I got the pictures off and I got that downloaded and then I have to put that back prior to the -- them issuing the warrant.

KAYE: Back in Texas, Patrick could hardly believe what was going on.

MCSTAY: The first thing I'm thinking is like you're going to destroy evidence. I was just stunned.

WATTS: Certain items that might have been really key to the big mystery, why they left that house are gone. (inaudible), moved, cleaned up. It's ridiculous.

KAYE: And as you'll see, more road blocks will soon hamper the investigation.

Coming up, mysterious surveillance footage and a trail of clues that lead investigators in the wrong direction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

J. MCSTAY: That's the house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that the house?

KAYE: November 2009, just months before they vanished, the McStays moved into a new house.

J. MCSTAY: There's the entrance.

KAYE: It was a new beginning.

J MCSTAY: Light colors. Hi, you like all this big room in here?

BLAKE: So then the baby able to run and play outside, it was perfect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still have this work.

KAYE: But by February 15th, 2010 that once perfect house was now shrouded in mystery.

The McStay family was still missing and so as their truck.

Detective sent out they'll be on the look out, (inaudible). What did they discover?

WATTS: Instantly Randi. They get a hit on the truck. It's been impounded from a shopping mall near the Mexican border.

KAYE: Detectives say that four days after the McStay's disappeared, their white Isuzu trooper was parked and subsequently toed from a parking lot, steps away from the Mexican border.

WATTS: There was nothing in that car to indicate that anything bad had happened.

KAYE: No apparent foul play. Investigators and loved ones had to consider the possibility. Did the McStays parked their car at the border and then vanished into Mexico?

P MCSTAY: Summer was afraid of Mexico. Would Summer take her two children in there? Heck, no.

KAYE: But the truck wasn't the only evidence leading investigators South of the border.

Soon after they found the Isuzu, detectives uncovered another clue, a search on the McStay's home computer from a week before they disappear.

WATTS: Somebody at the McStay home had searched for getting passports to Mexico.

KAYE: Then just weeks later, what appeared to be a major break in the case.

COOPER: Authorities are pouring over security tapes from border checkpoints.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, new video could show the family crossing the Mexican border. Is it the McStays?

KAYE: This surveillance footage showing what appeared to be a family of four crossing on foot into Mexico on February 8th. The very same night, the McStay's Isuzu trooper was found near the border.

WATTS: We're getting a story that we found the car at the border and we've got a family that looks like them walking over the border so we think they might have left momentarily.

KAYE: But while detectives pursued that theory, those who knew the McStays insisted those people in that video were not the McStays.

MERRITT: I told the detectives and then no on certain times that is not Joseph.

KAYE: Why didn't you think it was them?

MERRITT: Joseph has a very distinct walk, number one. He walk like a duck. And the man walking across the border was walking normally.

TIM MILLER: So they're out there meeting with detectives...

KAYE: Fearful that detectives were chasing dead end clues.

MILLER: What is latest down there?

KAYE: Patrick called Tim Miller, a fellow Texan who he hoped could refocus the search for his family.

MILLER: Patrick sounded pretty distract.

KAYE: Miller founded the nonprofit search and rescue organization, Texas Equusearch. He traveled to California weeks after the family disappeared.

MILLER: You know, it was basically a recon trip to look at the area, kind of map things out.

KAYE: Miller needed some help so he called investigative journalist, Steph Watts. The two had worked together on previous missing persons cases.

M MCSTAY: He no longer (inaudible)?

MILLER: Oh no, he's got one now.

KAYE: Their first stop, inside the McStay home. Joseph's brother Michael let them in.

MILLER: Very strange.

WATTS: What's strange?

MILLER: I thought we were going to get in trouble for interfering in a police a police investigation for contaminating some evidence but Michael said "No problem, you can be here."

M. MCSTAY: The detectives just told me that this is not a crime scene and I can do whatever I want.

WATTS: It baffled me that this was not a crime scene. It baffles me that they even let me in there.

Just no clues here, is there?

MILLER: None.

KAYE: Though Miller and Watts failed to find any evidence of foul play. What they did find suggested the McStays never planned to run away.

M MCSTAY: Their stroll is here. They don't go anywhere without the double stroller.

MILLER: And the kids have two little laptops.

KAYE: Miller and Watts left the house that day more convinced than ever that something very bad had happened to the McStays.

So the following day, they drove to the border looking for areas along the way that appeared suspicious.

MILLER: There's going up that path.

KAYE: We retraced that same drive with Miller.

When you look at such a vast area, do you realize what the challenge you had or having?

MILLER: I told Michael, I said, "Michael, we got a real challenge." I said it's only going to be miracle.

JEN CALDWELL, SPOKESWOMAN, SAN DIEGO SHERIFF"S DEPARTMENT: We did believe for awhile. We had a strong reason to believe that they had traveled to Mexico.

KAYE: Jan Caldwell is with the San Diego county Sheriff's department.

CALDWELL: We have the guy in Mexico, that's thought he serve them. Somebody else down there actually had brought them cocktails and we did have the signings, now were they still there, we didn't know.

KAYE: And as more time went by, detective say the leads dried up and the case went cold. CALDWELL: It's almost impossible to work a case without information flowing in.

KAYE: The San Diego Sheriff eventually handed the case over to the FBI in April of 2013, but sill no answers.

P MCSTAY: There some real problems. There some things that were really missed.

Up next, the mystery only deepens. A tragic discovery in the Mojave Desert.

Were you surprise if the remains were found in this desert in Victorville?

MERRITT: Yeah, actually because I live in this area ...

KAYE: Nearby?

MERRITT: Yeah, probably 20 miles or so.

KAYE: Would you ever expect that this is how it would end in the desert like that?

MERRITT: In the desert? I had no clue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 emergency, what are you reporting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I've found it looks like part human skull.

KAYE: The call came in at 9:58 a.m., November 11th, 2013. A motorcyclist off-roading in the Mojave Desert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the location?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you're in Victorville?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

KAYE: A remote area, 100 miles north of McStay home and over 150 miles from the Mexico boarder.

MCMAHON: It's not an area where we would generally patrol.

KAYE: The local sheriff's department found two shallow graves and four skeletons.

MCMAHON: Through the use of dental records, we're able to identify the adult victims as Summer and Joseph McStay. We believe the other two sets of remains are that of the boys, their sons.

M. MCSTAY: It gives us courage to know that they're together. P MCSTAY: Who did it? Who so cold blooded that they killed children.

KAYE: It was a spot not far from where Chase Merritt lives.

Were you surprised that the remains were found in this desert in Victorville?

MERRIT: Yes actually because I live in this area.

KAYE: Nearby?

MERRIT: Yeah, probably, 20 miles or so.

KAYE: But I mean is this - I mean would you ever expected that this is how it would end in the desert like that?

MERRIT: In the desert? I had no clue.

KAYE: But the police might. The remains might provide crucial leads.

CADLWELL: Now we have a scene.

KAYE: We met Jen Caldwell of the San Diego Sheriff's Department just days after the remains were discovered.

CALDWELL: Hopefully now that we have a seen, that's going to tell us the answers to this mystery.

KAYE: A mystery, once considered a missing person's case now officially a murder investigation. Almost four years since the disappearance, grieving family and friends criticize the initial investigators San Diego County Sheriff's Department for overlooking evidence that might have helped them find the McStays sooner.

P MCSTAY: I could probably hire some boy scouts and done a better job.

KAYE: Allegations that we put to the San Diego Sheriff's Department in one of the rare interviews they gave on the case.

CALDWELL: This is an incredibly thorough investigation. Thumbing through it, I can see phone records. I see photographs. I see communications and they have done all of this to compile this kind of a massive file and still not know the answer, enormously frustrating.

KAYE: Investigative journalist Steph Watts and others believe law enforcement was so convinced the family went to Mexico that they missed clues that might have had them searching in another direction. An allegation the San Diego the Sheriff would not comment on.

WATTS: Commonsense didn't come into play here with the investigators. Why would they park the car and walk over? Why would they not drive over the border to enjoy a day in Mexico? Why would they walk over the boarder in the dark at night when there's really nothing on the other side at that time of night to do with small children? KAYE: Consider the timing. According to the sheriff, the empty McStay Isuzu was found between 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the mall, yet the surveillance video at the border is time stamped 7:00 p.m.

P MCSTAY: Tell me so where were they for an hour and a half? Now, with all these cameras in the parking lot, in the mall stores and on top of the bank right in front of them where the Isuzu was parked, there's no video.

KAYE: Over them?

P MCSTAY: Them -- anything, no video period, any of it. That's amazing.

WATTS: Whoever put that car there fooled us all. That's exactly what they wanted us to believe. Park it close to the border and believe that they went over to Mexico.

KAYE: Even days after the bodies were found, San Diego Sheriff's Department stood by their belief that the McStays went to Mexico.

CALDWELL: Did they actually cross into Mexico? We still think that there's a strong possibility that they did.

KAYE: On November 15th 2013 the San Bernardino Sheriff, Law Enforcement for the country where the remains were found, took over the investigation.

MCMAHON: The first step is getting up to speed on what was done in San Diego. There's merely 3,000 pages of typed material.

KAYE: Despite that, Patrick McStay still hopes to find answers.

P MCSTAY: I'll give San Bernardino, all the opportunities in the world to solve this case.

KAYE: He's been in contact with the new investigative team to help find out who did this and why.

P MCSTAY: It has to be somebody that hated them for a reason, some crazy reason. And so that person killed them all.

KAYE: Cracking a cold case, finally announcing a suspect when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: This is the first time Patrick McStay has seen the shallow graves, where his family was buried. It is April 2014.

P MCSTAY: When we hit the dirt off the pavement...

KAYE: Yeah.

P MCSTAY: ...first thoughts in my head was, "What was they thinking coming up that road." They had to know it wasn't good. KAYE: Yeah.

P MCSTAY: And that's the part that I don't want to think about it. Well I miss you son.

KAYE: All he can think about, how his family was killed and who did it.

There have been so many theories, a drug cartel, a run of intruder or even a lover scorn as Chase Merritt told us back in January of 2014.

P.MCSTAY: Joseph was a little bit concern about any possible affair that Summer may be having.

KAYE: Then there were still no official suspects.

Have you rolled anyone out?

P.MCSTAY: We have not rolled anybody out at this point.

KAYE: Almost everyone we spoke to over the past year told us they met with investigators at one point or another including the last person to see Joseph McStay alive, Chase Merrit.

What did they asked you?

MERRITT: Do I know anything about them disappearing? Did I have anything to do with it?

KAYE: And you took a polygraph test. What did it show?

MERRITT: I don't know.

KAYE: You passed the polygraph?

MERRITT: Apparently. I mean I haven't -- after I too the polygraph test, law enforcement has not contacted me.

KAYE: Do you think you were a person of interest?

MERRITT: I was the last person who saw him, so of course I was person of interest.

KAYE: Did detectives ask you if you killed Joseph McStay and his family?

MERRITT: I don't recall them asking me that.

KAYE: That was then. This is now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Merritt was arrested on Wednesday, November fifth without incident. Charles Chase Merritt was identified as the suspect responsible for the death of Joseph, Summer, Gianni, and Joseph McStay.

KAYE: Merritt has not yet been arraigned selective a lawyer or entered a plea, but he has been charged with four contusive murder.

P MCSTAY: To me he looked like a broken man. He had knew he was done.

KAYE: We met Patrick at his home just days after he received the call from the sheriff that Merritt was in custody.

He had been waiting nearly five years for that call.

P MCSTAY: A lot f people will say it's like lifting a tone of your shoulders, that had now, it was more to me like a bolder falling on me.

KAYE: Over the last year, Patrick had grown suspicious of Merritt.

P MCSTAY: It really didn't shock me at all.

KAYE: Because you had suspected him?

P MCSTAY: Yes. Especially last year such January of this year, we discovered some things that we already had that we didn't put together and we finally put them together and it was like the light bulbs went off.

KAYE: It certainly hadn't started off that way.

P MCSTAY: I was fool like a lot of people at first because I remember my first conversation with Joey about Chase Merritt and he said, Dad you got to meet Chase. He said, "You'll like him."

KAYE: And so you trusted him.

P MCSTAY: I trust him because my son believed in him.

MERRITT: He was definitely a friend of mine. We talked constantly. We played pinball together all the time. He came down and had dinner with me and my family once or twice a week virtually every week.

We got pretty close.

KAYE: But as Patrick started investigating his family's disappearance his views on Merritt began to change.

P MCSTAY: That's what we found his record and we started finding more a lot about him and I don't remember all of him, but there was a burglary, (inaudible) theft, nothing violence.

KAYE: Chase handled much of the costume wielding work for Joseph's booming waterfall business. Here is what Merritt told us earlier this year.

MERRIT: We're anticipating probably a million and a half in sales for 2010. That's Joseph's total sales. I was probably going to be doing well over half of those waterfalls because the majority of those waterfalls were actually accustomed. KAYE: And that was just the beginning. Another potential contract of Joseph's would bring in about $9 million. Merritt stood to make a lot of money that is if we kept working for Joseph something that Patrick says was in jeopardy.

P MCSTAY: The last year Joey had talked about the quality of some of the (inaudible) had slipped. And Joey wasn't happy with that. He's upset.

KAYE: Blaming Chase at that point.

P MCSTAY: Yes, absolutely because he was getting complaints.

KAYE: Was he considering not doing business for Chase Merritt anymore.

P MCSTAY: Joey discussed with me about it possibly (inaudible) and getting another welder.

KAYE: Cutting Chase out.

P MCSTAY: Well not virtually cutting him out. Giving him some competition.

KAYE: Could it be that simple? Could money be the motive? Investigative journalist Steph Watts.

WATTS: Motives are sometime extremely simplistic. Money, jealousy, love, lust, it's not that complicated.

KAYE: And as Merritt did do it, how could he have covered up the brutality of the crime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma. Investigators believe these murders occurred at their residence in Fallbrook.

WATTS: Blunt force trauma in four victims is extensive blood spatter, I've talked to many experts in the last couple of days that if there's no way that you can have blunt force trauma without blood spatter, so where is the blood. Where is the blood in the house?

KAYE: Merritt told us in January that he was at the house days before anyone else went in and Merritt told us he made sure that shed door was open so the dogs could get to the food inside. Seemed innocent then but now Patrick thinks it was far from it.

P MCSTAY: He want to keep those dogs (inaudible) so we want to feed them food and keep water because he doesn't want attention brought to that house. He wants time to go by, which is exactly what happened.

KAYE: And remember that phone call from Joseph cell to Merritt cell, the one he told us he was too tired to answer.

P MCSTAY: How do we know where Joey's phone was?

KAYE: Are you suggesting that it was Chase calling?

P MCSTAY: Maybe he was calling himself. I don't know.

KAYE: What would be the reason for that?

P MCSTAY: A nice way to form an alibi.

KAYE: But could he have really done it own his own killing four people and then burying all four bodies in the dessert while law enforcement believes Merritt acted alone Patrick is not so sure.

Do you believe that one person could have committed this crime?

P MCSTAY: Honestly no. I don't believe that. Well it's just too much there.

KAYE: So as he's done for nearly five years, Patrick still waits and hopes. Waits for answers and hopes for justice at last for his family.

How did you keep up the hopes?

P MCSTAY: I told you in the first interview we did that I had a gut feeling the first day that I'll never see my son again. That never changed.

J MCSTAYS: Our new Cadillac bike. What's up Jay (ph)? First bike ride ever Jay(ph)...

P MCSTAY: Why did I keep going? Why did I fight? One word, Joey.

J MCSTAY: Come on let's do it. You are not very patient.

P MCSTAY: My son.

J MCSTAY: I'm going to get you.

P MCSTAY: I love him. And he loved me. And I know he was saying, "You're doing the right thing dad. I know you'll do it dad."