A US family who seemingly vanished off the face of the earth are continuing to baffle investigators almost exactly three years after their disappearance.
Four members of the McStay family vanished from their idyllic California home on February 4 2010, in the middle of what appeared to be an average morning.
A carton of eggs had been left on the counter, two bowls of popcorn left on a futon and the family’s dogs were in the back garden.
There was no sign of any foul-play in the disappearance, with all evidence suggesting the family had left in a hurry.
Although neither Joseph and Summer McStay nor their sons Gianni and Joseph Jr., have officially been seen since, the writer Rick Baker believes he has now solved the mystery.
After spending three years analysing the case and reading hundreds of text messages and emails, Mr Baker reportedly believes that Summer McStay was leading a double life and claims she killed her husband and ran away with the two boys, then aged four and three.
Mr Baker said that the emails depict her as “someone who was very unhappy not just with her own personal life but with Joseph as well and Joseph's extended family. Just not a very nice person.”
He added: “Maybe we can find Summer, and if she did kill Joseph or had him killed, I want to see her fry.”
Four days after the McStays disappeared, their white Isuzu trooper was found parked at San Diego shopping mall 60 miles from their home and close to the Mexico border.
Grainy CCTV footage later revealed four figures that appeared to be two adults and two small children walking across the border into Mexico, although these could not be verified as the McStays.
Analysis of the family’s computers also revealed that someone had conducted searches on January 28 regarding passport requirements for travel into Mexico
The McStays’ extended family rejects the police’s theory that the family ran away to Mexico however, with Joseph's younger brother Michael saying “It's just not like them to walk out on a business, a family, a home”.
That said Michael McStay refuses to support Mr Baker’s conclusion that Joseph was murdered, telling Californian station News10 that “Baker has no proof to back up his claims and is sensationalizing to sell books.”