May 12th, 2010
01:26 PM ET

Missing family seen with map?





[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/CRIME/02/22/california.missing.family/story.mcstay.split.courtesy.jpg caption="Investigators learned that Joseph and Summer McStay, and their two children, may have been seen at a restaurant in Mexico. The McStays have been missing since February 4." width=300 height=169]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The brother of a Southern California man who disappeared along with his entire family reported a possible new lead in the three-month-old mystery.

Michael McStay said he learned through an investigator that a waiter believed he served Joseph McStay, his wife, Summer McStay, and their children, Gianni, 4, and Jospeh, 3, at a restaurant in Guerrero Negro, Mexico in late February or early March.

Guerrero Negro is a city in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

According to Michael McStay, he recalled that the family left behind a map. McStay said he did not know any further details about the map. He said it was handed over to the FBI, who did not return calls for a comment.

McStay also said the waiter commented at the time on what he thought was a bump on the little boy’s head. It was actually a birthmark, Mcstay said.

McStay told CNN that the waiter remembered that Joseph McStay “looked ill, he looked sick.”
“My understanding was in the last year he’d been having these vertigo type symptoms,” McStay said. “He was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, and on the (February) 4, he was talking to my mother and he had to pull over when he was driving home because he felt vertigo type symptoms.”

The Mcstays have not been seen or heard from since February 4.

Information gathered on the McStay's home computer reveal the couple was making travel inquires about Mexico on the internet a week before they were reported missing, authorities said.

“It had to do with travel in Mexico with children and whether you needed to have passports for children,” Lt. Dennis Brugos, of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department said. “It looks as if there were some planning.”

Their two dogs were found unattended without food or water in the Mcstay’s San Diego house, investigators said.

An SUV belonging to the McStays was found abandoned on February 8 just two blocks from the San Ysidro border checkpoint, authorities said.

Surveillance video taken that evening appears to show the family “casually” walking into Mexico, the sheriff’s department said.

Michael McStay does not understand why his brother would, it appears, voluntarily abandon their life in the U.S.

“It’s like they are afraid of something,” he said. “That’s what to me it appears to me.”

“What I can’t gather is what’s compelling him to go down there…I can’t figure it out.”

Joseph McStay is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Summer McStay, also known as Lisa Aranda-Martelli, is 5 feet 5 inches tall and 115 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the McStay family is urged to contact the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at 858-565-5200. Anonymous calls can be made to 888-580-8477.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Alisha

    It seams like the family should be able to go anywhere in the world that they want to without having to be followed and hounded by the media. If someone wants to dissappear they must have their reasons. Why then does everyone in the world feel like they have to know what everyone else is doing?

    May 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
  2. karyn

    I heard about this case first on Issues with Jayne Mitchell and I thought it was kinda strange from the start. I do hope all 4 of them are safe and maybe when the time is right they "come out" of hiding. But what baffled me the most though:leaving behind thier 2 pet dogs. No pet owner would ever leave dogs alone without a food or water in the bowl to drink. As a former dog owner we always made sure she had plenty of water if were only to be gone for a couple of days. We also made arrangements with people to watch her when she was younger. So something must have happened to this family and all of suddent they just leave.

    May 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  3. Bexsy

    It's looking more and more like this family left on their own. All the money being spent to find them...a phone call would be nice!! Officials don't need to know why they left, but they are taking away from people that REALLY need to be found. I don't think they want to be found....

    May 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm |
  4. Chris

    Are you missing if you leave and travel to a location on your own recognisance? So what if they are afraid of something? Seems to me they are simply trying to start over somewhere else.

    Not sure this is really news worthy.

    May 12, 2010 at 5:17 pm |