Nightly News   |  November 16, 2013

Bodies of missing family discovered in shallow graves

The McStay family went missing in 2010. Now authorities have located the family’s remains and they believe the group was murdered. NBC’s Joe Fryer reports.

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>>> an older mystery has taken a dramatic turn in southern california after the remains of a missing family were discovered in the desert. investigators want to know who murdered a couple and their young children. joe friar has more.

>> reporter: a motorcyclist first spotted the remains. bones be buried in shallow graves now linked to a family that vanished in 2010 .

>> it's not really the -- the outcome we were looking for.

>> reporter: dental records confirmed two of the victims are joseph and summer mcstay. it is believed the other remains belonged to their children, 4-year-old giani and 3-year-old joseph, jr. they say they were murdered but not how.

>> there is investigative evidence at the scene that will help complete the investigation.

>> reporter: it's not clear why the family disappeared from their home north of san diego four years ago. their suv was discovered near the mexican border and grainy surveillan photo showed family of four walking across the border. it was never clear if that was the mcstays.

>> something in me said you are never going to see them again.

>> reporter: they criticized how san diego investigators handled the disappearance of his son's family.

>> he was not just my son. he was my best friend.

>> reporter: the san diego sheriff's department never stopped searching.

>> this was probably one of the most, if not the most extensively investigating missing persons case maybe in our history.

>> reporter: this homicide investigation shifts to a new location. there is a facebook page once dedicated to bringing the family home now is a memorial honoring four lives lost. joe fryer, nbc news, los angeles .