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24 May 2024

A family vanished, then found dead in desert. Now, a verdict

Photo: Gettyimages


A jury's verdict will be revealed in the case of a Southern California man charged with killing a family of four and burying their bodies in the desert.

It will be read Monday in court in San Bernardino in the murder case against 62-year-old Charles "Chase" Merritt. Jurors reached a decision Friday after deliberating for about a week.

Merritt is charged in the bludgeoning deaths of his business associate Joseph McStay, McStay's wife, Summer, and the couple's 3- and 4-year-old sons.

The family vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010. Their bodies were found in shallow graves in the desert three years later.

Merritt was arrested in 2014. Prosecutors say he killed McStay because he was cutting him out of a water features business.