The grisly discovery of the remains of four people in shallow graves in the desert of Victorville was today officially tied to a missing San Diego family.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department stated this afternoon that skeletal remains of two of the people have been positively identified as belonging to 42-year-old Joseph and 45-year-old Summer McStay.
The other remains had yet to be officially ID'd, but the McStays' children Gianni, 4, and Joseph, 3, were also part of the missing clan:
The family from the community of Fallbrook was last seen at their northern San Diego County home on Feb. 4, 2010 and was the subject of an intense search that ended up in the hands of the FBI, according to a statement from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities were particularly intrigued when the McStays' car was found near the border and security video of the four in the area surfaced. The San Diego Sheriff's statement says:
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During the subsequent investigation, it was learned that on February 8, 2010, the unoccupied family vehicle was located at the 'Plaza Major Shopping Center' in San Ysidro. After the investigation was initiated, it was discovered the vehicle had been towed from the international border and led investigators to examine video footage. As has been widely publicized, a grainy image had been captured which depicted a family closely resembling the McStays in the border area.
Officials initially believed the family fled the U.S. and might have disappeared on purpose.
The grave site next to the 15 freeway near Quarry Road was discovered Monday morning by a motorcyclist. San Bernardino County authorities say dental records led to the positive identification of the parents.
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Autopsies were expected to be completed today, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department said.
What was a missing persons hunt is now a homicide case in the hands of the San Bernardino authorities, the FBI, and the San Diego County sheriff.