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Homicide lieutenant says his team is not giving up search for McStay family

A lieutenant with the San Diego County Sheriff’s homicide detail said in an interview this morning “we are not giving up” on the search for the McStay family of four who was last seen Feb. 4.

Lt. Dennis Brugos was referring to himself, his staff of detectives and cooperative agencies when speaking about the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Joseph McStay, 40, Summer McStay, 43, and sons Gianni, 4, and Joseph “Joey,” 3, who were residing in a home they had purchased last November in the Lake Rancho Viejo community of Fallbrook/Bonsall. The family was reported missing by Joseph’s brother, Michael approximately two weeks after they were last seen.

Brugos said Michael McStay was coming down from Orange County to meet with detectives again today on the case. Family members have insisted that it is “completely out of character” for the couple to be out of touch for this length of time.

Investigators had searched the McStay’s home and two vehicles by Feb. 21 – one of which was found in a tow lot near the US/Mexico border. A canine search and rescue team was deployed in the search process as well. In summary, Brugos said no new leads were gained in those searches.

Family members have insisted that it is “completely out of character” for the McStay’s to be out of touch for this length of time.

Earlier in the investigation, Brugos said detectives were working closely with Mexican officials to view video tapes of the border crossing areas and more.

“We have not found any hard evidence of any of the family members crossing the border, but we are still reviewing information,” said Brugos.

“We have two deputy sheriffs that work across the border and do things like check the hospitals, morgue, airports, bus stations, talk to cab drivers, and more,” he added. “It’s very helpful [to have the deputies down there.]”

Brugos said detectives are still talking with McStay’s business associates.

“We are in daily contact with them,” he said.

Investigators have reported that McStay appears to have been in business with two other individuals.

“I think it’s kind of a partnership business; three guys working together; I’m not sure how much interest each of them own though,” said Brugos. But, Brugos did think the other partners were continuing to operate the business.

“As far as I know they were trying to keep it going,” he said.

Writer's Note: In earlier versions of this story, Joseph and Summer McStay's ages were listed incorrectly based on information provided by the Sheriff's Homicide Division. We have amended their ages based on information from the McStay family Web site.


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