LAGUNA NIGUEL – Roughly 200 people came together to remember the McStay family on Saturday at the Vineyard Community Church.
Two months ago, the remains of the McStays – Joseph, Summer and their two boys – were found off a desert highway, bones dug up from shallow graves.
It’s been more than three years since the family, formerly of San Clemente, went missing from their Fallbrook home.
For years, no one knew what happened to them. Police thought they might have crossed the Mexico border. Police were told their car showed up at a San Ysidro border-city parking lot days after their disappearance, around the same time a grainy video shows a family of four crossing the border.
Saturday allowed the surviving family and friends to reflect on their loss.
“There’s so much love in there today,” Susan Blake, Joseph McStay’s mother, said outside the church after the service.
Media were not permitted inside.
Although it gave some closure, many questions remain unanswered: Who killed the McStays and why? Why was their car found near the Mexico border? Why did they leave their home in a rush, their dogs without food or water?
Blake said the questions propel her to find the answers for her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, 3-year-old Joseph Mateo and 4-year-old Gianni Giuseppe.
“I need answers now,” Blake said. “I waited almost four years with hope to find them…that chapter of hope is closed and I need to start a new chapter of justice.”
Michael McStay, Joseph McStay’s brother, said the service was beautiful and he found peace “remembering the goodness in their lives.”
“For today, just remember them. Remember my brother. Remember my sister. Remember my nephews,” Michael McStay said. “Celebrate their life.”
The next step is to put his trust in the law enforcement, he said.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the deaths as homicides.
A paddle-out in the family’s memory was held later Saturday off the San Clemente Pier, a walk from the McStays’ previous home on Avenida Cabrillo. Four leis were planned to be pushed out to sea.
By JOANNA CLAY / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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