Four years after the McStay family went missing, their bodies were found in a shallow grave Thursday in the Mojave Desert. According to the family’s neighbor they were having trouble paying their $850 rent before they vanished, but investigators say the McStay’s left $100,000 in the bank.
Joseph and Summer McStay were receiving calls from debt collectors, the IRS, and attorneys representing business clients who they owed money to. But they purchased a $320,000 home two months before their disappearance on Feb. 4, 2010.
Their neighbor, Dave White, who now lives in the McStay’s former apartment, told the Daily Mail when they disappeared Joseph and Summer were barely able to pay rent on their 2-bedroom apartment in San Clemente, Calif. Their landlord was apparently desperate to throw the family out over late payments.
The McStay home was found with eggs left on the counter and family dogs wandering the yard, as if they family had left in a hurry.
Four days after the California family’s disappearance, CCTV footage showed them park their car at the border and apparently walk into Mexico. There were rumors that they have been killed by the Mexican cartel in a bad business deal.
After nearly four years, Summer, Joseph, and their two children, 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joey were found buried in a shallow grave in the Mojave Desert outside Los Angeles.
White, a 54-year-old former US marine, said, “From what I understand, before they moved out they were on the verge of being evicted, because they were behind on their rent. That was three years ago.”
“The rent they were paying was only about $850 a month and the landlord, a guy called Bill, who has passed away now, was one of the nicest men you could meet. He was extremely easy to deal with and I had no problems at all with him, but he was in the process of evicting them,” White said. “It was such a small amount and he was so easy going, I don’t understand how anyone could fall out with him.”
White said he received the McStay’s mail after they "moved out."
“After I moved in I got a lot of their mail, which they obviously hadn’t redirected. I kept getting letters from attorney's representing a doctor's surgery outside of California,” he said. “Apparently they had paid Mr McStay $14,000 up front to build a fountain and ship it out to them. But they obviously didn’t get anything. After the family went missing they weren’t going to get their fountain, but I think the letters started when they were still around.”
Joseph ran a business called Dana Point Fountains with his brother and sister.
“I also got letters from the IRS and debt collectors chasing them as well, but the majority of those came after they had vanished,” he added. “I guess a lot of these people didn't realize they'd gone missing. It's hard to say how many of these debts came because they went missing and how many were owed before, but I really can’t explain how they went from not being able to pay $850 a month to buying a house and having $100,000 in the bank.”