The remains of two of the four people found in shallow graves in Southern California's Mojave Desert earlier this week belonged to members of the missing McStay family, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department announced Friday.
Joseph and Summer McStay went missing from their home in Fallbrook in February 2010, along with their two children, Gianni and Joseph Jr.
Sheriff's officials are ruling their deaths a homicide. They told reporters that it was still unclear whether the other two bodies belonged to the children.
"It's not really the outcome we were looking for, but it gives us courage to know that they're together, and they're in a better place," said Mike McStay, Joseph's brother. McStay struggled to finish his statement as he fought back tears.
"My family appreciates all the support and the love that we've been shown. They are a loving family, and I know that all of America loves the McStays, and we're going to find this individual or individuals," McStay said.
The sheriff's department would not specify many other details about the case, noting that the investigation was ongoing.