McStay Family Honored at Memorial Service, Paddle-Out

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The four slain members of the McStay family, whose bodies were found buried in the Mojave Desert last November, were honored Saturday at a memorial service in Laguna Niguel and a beach paddle-out in San Clemente.

Relatives and friends gathered to honor Joseph and Summer McStay and their sons, 4-yearold Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph Jr.

paddle out

Friends and relatives paid tribute to the McStay family during a paddle-out near San Clemente Pier on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2013. (Credit: KTLA)

The family mysteriously disappeared from their Fallbrook home, in San Diego County, in February 2010. Their remains were discovered in shallow graves outside Victorville on Nov. 11.

Sheriff’s officials have not identified any suspects in the ongoing investigation.

“We’re just here to comfort the family. This was a devastating loss for them,” said Peggy Rodriguez, one of about 200 people who attended the service at Vineyard Community Church. “And this wasn’t the outcome that they thought would happen.”

“There’s so much love in there today,” Joseph McStay’s mother, Susan Blake, said after exiting the church. “It’s hard — very, very hard. There was so much love and support.”

The McStays had lived in South Orange County before moving to Fallbrook in late 2009.

Saturday afternnon, more than a dozen mourners paddled out into the water near San Clemente Pier, where they honored the slain family by releasing orchid leis in the ocean.

“This is something we all could and enjoy, and something to remember them by,” said Ken Aranda, Summer McStay’s brother, noting that the McStays were avid beachgoers. “Definitely, this is going to give us some closure.”