In February, 2010, the McStay family disappeared without a trace from a suburban Southern California neighborhood. For their family and friends, it was unfathomable how Joey McStay and his wife, Summer, along with their two children could simply vanish, with a carton of eggs still on the counter and the beloved family dogs left uncared for in the backyard. Their family SUV was found - abandoned - in a parking lot near the US-Mexico border and the only viable clues authorities have are blurry images from a security camera of a family walking across the border into the Mexican night. Now, Laura Ling and the E! Investigates team begin their own search to try and find out what may have happened to the missing family. Ling and her team follow a series of leads that takes them on a mission of discovery from Southern California to Mexico and eventually down to the beaches of Costa Rica. Ling also talks to Joey McStay's mother and brother, as well as friends of the couple to try and glean any new information that might answer the question on everyone's mind: did something tragic happen to the McStays or did they choose to disappear? E! Investigates: The Family Who Vanished premieres on December 15th at 10:00 PM on E!
E! Investigates began at home, with the McStay's family and friends. Michael McStay, Joey's brother, tells Ling, "It's so against everything that he is. I mean, who takes the children out in 50 degree weather to cross an international border at night unless someone tells them to, or unless they're under duress? That's not normal. There has to be something else going on behind the scenes." Susan Blake, Joey's mother adds, "I've always felt somebody else has to be involved, because those dogs would never have been left out. If they were leaving on their own, those dogs would have been with them. That's the one thing that sticks in your heart, because you know how they loved those animals."
This powerful E! Investigates also highlights the pain felt by the McStays' family and friends each and every day. "There is a wound in your heart and it just never heals. Because you just don't have any closure. You just sit there and in your darkest hours you're wondering well, am I ever going to see him again?" says Michael McStay.
Investigating various theories, Ling and the team went down to Mexico to meet with an American missionary, Tessa Yeater, who claims that she saw the family at the local Wal-Mart. "We were in the produce section and I saw a man with two sons. And what caught my attention was that they started speaking English.' When shown a picture of the McStays, Yeater tells Ling, 'yes, that's the family I saw at that day. Yes, that's them.' Ling also paid a visit to Rob Goodell, a friend of Joey's who lives in a Costa Rican surf town where some suspect the family may have gone. Goodell tells Ling, "I have not heard from Joey. You know, there are a lot of theories about what happened to him. I believe he's still alive and I hope he's doing well....."
A mysterious disappearance, an international search and a hunt for the truth are all a part of this gripping one hour E! Investigates. Be sure to tune-in on December 15th at 10:00 PM on E!.