Search for missing Fallbrook family continues - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Search for missing Fallbrook family continues

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - There's still no sign of a family from Fallbrook that has been missing for almost two weeks.

Joseph and Summer McStay were last seen with their two kids earlier this month. Investigators found their car at the border. So far, there haven't been any solid leads.

In the meantime, Summer's family searched the McStays' home over the weekend trying to turn up clues.

A video of the McStays, along with dozens of photos have been posted on a new web site, with the hope that someone will see it and come forward with information to help locate the missing Fallbrook family.

"I can't imagine where they are... I have no ideas. Where they would go?" Summer's mother Blanche Aranda said.

Aranda says it doesn't make sense that her daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons vanished without a trace.

"They were just a loving family. She was a wonderful mother to her children," Aranda said.

Joseph and Summer McStay, along with their two boys -- four-year-old Gianni and three-year-old Joey -- were last seen February 4. Four days later their car was found abandoned in San Ysidro.

"I don't understand why it was there. I know she didn't like Mexico," Aranda said.

Summer's family had a chance to go through the family's Fallbrook home over the weekend and says there were no obvious signs of a struggle, but there were signs that Summer had no plans to be gone long. The kitchen had obviously just been filled with groceries, the dogs were left outside with no food and Summer's prescription sunglasses were sitting on a counter.

"She would have taken them because she can't see without her glasses," Aranda said.

Family and friends say they can't think of any reason someone would want to hurt the McStays.

Sheriff's investigators say they still have no solid leads to go on, forcing detectives to take a closer look at the couple and everyone they know.

Summer McStay's actual birth name is Virginia Lisa Aranda.  A review of public records shows the 43-year-old mother also uses the names Summer Martelli, Summer Aranda-Martelli, Lisa Aranda, Lisa Martelli and Lisa Aranda-Martelli.

Her first husband told News 8 he always knew her as Lisa until their divorce in 1994.

News 8 has also learned that detectives are taking a close look at Joseph McStay's business relationships.

Family members say McStay's business partner is a metal worker and welder named Chase Merritt, whose birth name is Charles Ray Merritt, age 52.

Merritt is an ex-con according to court records, who also was one of the first persons to notice the McStay's were missing.

Department of Corrections records show Merritt served time in prison for a burglary conviction in 1978.  He was then sent back to prison in 1987 for receiving stolen property, according to State records.

An acquaintance who knew Merritt in the 1980s told News 8 he has a checkered past.

"I think police should look at him and anyone associated with him," the female acquaintance said.  She asked not to be identified.

Reached by cell phone Monday, Merritt declined to discuss his criminal past and told News 8, "I would just prefer to have no comment to any press right now.  We want to find Joseph."

Sheriff's officials say Merritt is one of several people they are speaking with and at this time he has not been named as a suspect in the case.

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