In a small town in California, a police officer is called to a family home. Mysteriously, the occupants have not been seen or heard from in several days. Inside, bowls of popcorn are left on the couch. Outside, their beloved dogs have been left behind. It’s as if the McStay family just disappeared into thin air – and it’s the start of a mystery that will haunt this community for years to come.
In February 2010 Joseph McStay, 40, and 43-year-old wife Summer were living in the Californian town of Fallbrook with their two boys Gianni, four, and three-year-old Joseph Jr. They had recently purchased a $230,000 home in the area, where Joseph ran his own business making decorative water fountains.
To all intents and purposes, the McStays seemed like a normal and successful family. However, on February 4, all that would change. The day began like any other, with Joseph meeting his business partner Chase Merritt in the town of Rancho Cucamonga, some 70 miles from Fallbrook.