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E! Investigates films segment locally on missing McStay family of four


Last updated 11/17/2011 at Noon

Village News Editor Debbie Ramsey (left) talks with producer Emily Pedroza during an interview with E! News at the Elder House in Fallbrook, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011. The TV channel is producing a segment on the missing McStay family.

The internationally-aired program E! Investigates came to Fallbrook in mid-October to begin filming a segment it will produce on the McStay family of four that has now been missing from their home here for over 21 months. The family, last seen Feb. 4, 2010, includes Joseph McStay, 40, his wife Summer McStay, 43, and sons Gianni McStay, 4, and Joseph McStay Jr., 3.

Unless something dramatically changes between now and mid-December when the segment will air, the piece is destined to create intrigue over the family’s mysterious disappearance rather than provide new information that has been learned, as law enforcement doesn’t seem any closer to solving the case than they were at the very beginning.

The film crew has been working throughout the county interviewing individuals they feel could relate the disturbing story to their viewers. One of those they interviewed was Village News Editor Debbie Ramsey.

“I told [E! network associates] that I didn’t know anything that anyone else didn’t know at this time, but I agreed to be interviewed about the details of the case as I understood them,” said Ramsey. “I am glad they are doing the segment because I am hoping in keeping the public aware of it, it could possibly ultimately turn up some new leads for law enforcement. This is a very troubling situation. Law enforcement has diligently followed up on all leads they have received and reached dead end after dead end.”

The Village News has also shared all stories staff members have written relating to the case with the E! Network.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Detective Troy DuGal has been the lead on the case since the beginning.

“It is still a very open and active case; it always has been,” said DuGal. “Nothing has ever changed on the status of the case, however. I continue to get what appear to be new leads and we exhaust every one of those possibilities.”

DuGal said his team continues to work on it.

“We are current on all leads we have received to date; we have followed up on leads people have called in saying they’ve seen one or more of the family members all across America and south of the border,” said DuGal.

The family, who was living in a house they had purchased in the Lake Rancho Viejo development in Fallbrook, just east of Interstate 15, was reported missing by Michael McStay, Joseph’s brother. The family’s car, a 1996 Isuzu Trooper, was found in an impound yard just north of the Mexican border four days after they were last seen. The vehicle had been towed from a strip mall parking lot.

Officials, when reviewing tapes of the United States/Mexico border crossing point at San Ysidro, thought an image of the family walking across the international boundary had been captured on tape, but relatives didn’t agree on whether it was indeed the McStay family.

Reports of possible sightings of the family in Mexico turned out to be unsubstantiated, DuGal said.

DuGal is determined to resolve the case and makes a point of keeping McStay family members in the loop.

“I try to keep the family members informed of the leads we have followed up on, even if they aren’t that credible, I want to keep them informed,” said DuGal. “Most of the calls I receive are from Joseph’s brother, Michael, but I reach out to both sides [of the family.]” Michael McStay has created a website, to receive incoming tips from anyone who feels they might have a lead as well as to post updates for those interested in keeping abreast of the latest news on the case.

The E! Investigates segment on the family is also welcomed by DuGal.

“I am glad to see media attention still focusing on the case and keeping it in the spotlight,” he said. “I always tend to get new leads after one airs or something new is published. Then I go to work trying to prove or disprove the tip. To this point, unfortunately, no tip has given us any real direction in the case. It’s baffling.”

The segment being produced by E! Investigates is tentatively set to air on Dec. 15 and will be available to viewers nationally and internationally. To verify air date and be aware of any programming changes, go to E! Online and look under “shows” an E! Investigates option.

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