Photo: Joseph McStay and sons Gianni, 4, and Joey,3.
Joseph McStay's brother, Michael, says he went to the home on Feb. 4 to check on the family, but only found the dogs. He called authorities the next day, but investigators found no signs of a struggle.
Photo: Summer McStay.
Four days later the family car, an Isuzu Trooper, was found abandoned in a shopping mall in San Ysidro, a bordertown outside of San Diego.
Still, Michael McStay said he fears for the lives of his family members and feels helpless. He and the rest of the family do not believe the McStays would ever disappear willingly.
San Diego County Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Brugos said the case has stumped his detectives.
"It's all a mystery," Brugos said. "Is the vehicle down by the border a ploy? Were they voluntarily missing? Were they taken against their will? ... Just for a family of four to disappear, I've never seen anything like it."
Neighbors said they had been feeding the animals but had heard nothing from the family. Acquaintances told investigators the McStays never would have left on vacation or for any other reason without telling someone.
Joseph McStay worked out of his home, designing and installing indoor water fountains. Investigators were checking the family's phone and financial records and have spoken to acquaintances, but so far have
found nothing to explain why they vanished or indicate they ran afoul of criminals.
Neighbors didn't recall any major marital disputes.
The Sheriff's Department also is working with authorities in Mexico and has contacted Interpol to ask for help. They also were checking border-crossing surveillance tapes.
San Diego County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case.
If you have information on any crime listed below, call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
February 24, 2010 - McStay Family of Four Vanishes Near Mexican Border