VICTORVILLE ( — A heartbroken family was joined by community members Wednesday for an emotional vigil held in the desert.

The vigil honored the four slain members of the McStay family. The remains of the parents Joseph and Summer McStay were positively identified last week after being found in shallow graves just off the 15 Freeway in Victorville. (DNA tests on the other remains, believed to be those of the McStay children — 4-year-old Gianni and 3-year-old Joseph — are pending.)

The McStays went missing nearly four years ago.

CBS2’s Stacey Butler attended the ceremony, which included the releasing of doves and balloons, the presentation of four large wooden crosses presented by volunteers, and even the singing of “Happy Birthday.”

“This is my brother’s birthday today,” said Mike McStay. “He would have been 44.”

Butler said it was the first time that McStay came to visit the site where his brother and his family were found.  She said residents of the high desert community wanted to honor the McStay family’s loss.

Detectives and the FBI will not talk about the investigation as they continue to look for clues.

“What was hidden was brought into the light. It is out in the open. Now we can catch the individuals that did this,” Mike said.

Family members of one of Joseph McStay’s closest friends told Butler that Wednesday’s small memorial was a good start at saying goodbye.

“It feels good to be able to make this a place of love,” said Becky Pompompio, “rather than a place of death and horror. This being their last place.”

The McStay family told Butler they will have a larger, public memorial in Orange County as soon as the Department of Justice gives them final confirmation on the identity of the two boys.


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