There has been a startling break in one of the most baffling murder mysteries ever. Charles Merritt has been charged with wiping out the McStay family who vanished from their home in San Diego four years ago.
Relatives of the McStay family wept as the news was announced by authorities in San Diego on Friday.
Authorities said, “This is a cold and callous murder of an entire family. We filed a special circumstance of multiple murders, which makes him eligible for the death penalty."
The 56-year-old Merritt is Joseph McStay’s former business partner. Police say he beat the McStays to death in their home.
It was Merritt who raised the alarm when the McStays first vanished in 2010.
As recently as last June, he tried to deflect suspicion away from himself in a CNN interview.
CNN asked him, "It sounded like he was planning for the future?"
Merritt replied, "He was definitely planning for the future."
INSIDE EDITION has been on top of this case from the beginning. In 2012, our Lisa Guerrero was given exclusive access to the McStay’s home where police now say the murders happened. She was also shown two poignant home videos showing a loving family.
The search for the McStays went on for more than three years. At one stage it was believed they had staged their disappearance and were hiding out in Mexico and were caught on surveillance video. INSIDE EDITION followed those leads to Tijuana.
Then, last December their bodies were found in shallow graves in the Mojave Desert.
Friday's shocking news of an arrest was a bittersweet end for the still grieving relatives.
Joseph McStay’s mother spoke for all of them, saying,”I need justice from the law, and the courts, and to get to talk to a judge. And most of all, justice upstairs for my lovely family.”
Merritt says he is not guilty.