McStay Family Slayings: No Evidence Couple, Their 2 Kids Were Killed at Home, Detective Testifies at Trial

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A family photo shows Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and sons Gianni and Joseph.

A family photo shows Joseph McStay, his wife Summer and sons Gianni and Joseph.

The San Diego County sheriff’s detective assigned to look into the disappearance of a Fallbrook couple and their two young boys nine years ago took the stand last week in the trial of the man accused of killing the family, testifying that he found no evidence they were killed in their home.

The trial of defendant Charles “Chase” Merritt, 61, is being heard in San Bernardino County, where the McStay family’s remains were found in 2013. The trial, which began two weeks ago, is expected to take months.

Merritt is charged in Superior Court with four counts of murder in the deaths of his business associate Joseph McStay, 40, as well as McStay’s wife, Summer, 43, and their sons, Gianni, 4, and Joey Jr., 3.

The family was last heard from on Feb. 4, 2010, less than three months after they moved into their home in Fallbrook. The remains of the couple and their boys were found buried in two shallow graves in the desert near Victorville in November 2013.

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