Sad news in California. Remains of the two adults in the McStay family were found. The bodies were located in shallow graves. Obviously, foul play was involved in the case. The couples two small children are still unaccounted for.
This case is a terrible tragedy, but it also highlights problems with the way that police departments conduct criminal investigations. In the instant case, the San Diego police department concluded that the McStays abandoned their lives, homes and dogs and fled to Mexico.
Of course, that conclusion was completely wrong. Whatever evidence the authorities used to come to that conclusion was incorrect. How they applied logic to come to that conclusion was similarly flawed.
So why would the police make that determination? Why would the cops say that they just packed up and left? A video exists that “showed” a similar family crossing the border. But I think there are a few other reasons the cops concluded that the family skipped town.
1) It is rare for families to be abducted. While home invasion/homicide cases are relatively common, it is unusual for an entire family of four to be kidnapped without evidence of a struggle or melee.
2) It is slightly more common for male heads of households to be involved in murder suicides. However, most of the time, the bodies don’t disappear. As a result, the police must have come to the conclusion that Mr. McStay was not the prime suspect.
3) If there was some evidence that Mr. McStay was involved in illicit activities, this would support the rationale that he could have picked up his family and fled south. The police also relied on a video clip to support the fact that the family left for Mexico. That conclusion was wrong.
4) The entire family was abducted. Sexual predators don’t usually kidnap an entire family.
So what really happened here? As a criminal defense attorney, I have a variety of theories. But, unlike the San Diego police, I’m going to hold back until more evidence is revealed.
Nick Alcock is a lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona
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