Bones of missing boys found in California desert; parents' bones identified earlier: Police

Photos of Joseph and Summer McStay, and their children Gianni and Joseph Mateo who went missing in 2010 from their San Diego home. Skeletal remains found buried in the California desert have been identified as two young sons from a family that vanish
Photos of Joseph and Summer McStay, and their children Gianni and Joseph Mateo who went missing in 2010 from their San Diego home. Skeletal remains found buried in the California desert have been identified as two young sons from a family that vanished nearly four years ago, the police said on Friday, Nov 22, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Skeletal remains found buried in the California desert have been identified as two young sons from a family that vanished nearly four years ago, the police said on Friday.

San Bernardino County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to the desert near Victorville, about 113km north-east of Los Angeles, on Nov 11 after a motorcyclist reported coming across what he thought were human bones.

Two days later, four sets of skeletal remains buried in two shallow graves were dug up.

Dental records were used to identify the remains of Mr Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife Summer, 43, who were reported missing from the San Diego area in February 2010 along with their two children, the police said last week. They thought the remaining bones were likely to be their two young sons.

DNA tests have now confirmed the remaining bones to be those of Gianni McStay, aged four, and his three-year-old brother Joseph, the police said on Friday.

The coroner's office has classified all four deaths as homicides, said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon. He said the method by which the victims are believed to have been killed would not be released during the ongoing investigation.

The McStay family was last seen at their home in the San Diego suburb of Fallbrook on Feb 4, 2010.

The San Diego Union Tribune newspaper reported that a search of the family's computer turned up evidence that they were planning to travel to Mexico.