Homicide

News organizations seek court records on slain Southern California family

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, workers fill the two shallow graves at the site on the outskirts of Victorville that contained the skeletal remains of members of missing McStay family in San Bernardino, Calif. Police investigating a missing persons report found a tall lamp lying on a bedroom floor and open suitcases containing folded clothes in the walk-in closet of a California home, according to court records unsealed Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, in the investigation that eventually led to the discovery of four dead family members in shallow desert graves. The documents offer the most detailed look yet of the disheveled condition of the family’s house in Fallbrook, Calif., when investigators arrived in February 2010 while searching for Joseph McStay, then 40, his wife Summer, 43, and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3.(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, workers fill the two shallow graves at the site on the outskirts of Victorville that contained the skeletal remains of members of missing McStay family in San Bernardino, Calif. Police investigating a missing persons report found a tall lamp lying on a bedroom floor and open suitcases containing folded clothes in the walk-in closet of a California home, according to court records unsealed Friday, Jan. 23, 2015, in the investigation that eventually led to the discovery of four dead family members in shallow desert graves. The documents offer the most detailed look yet of the disheveled condition of the family‚Äôs house in Fallbrook, Calif., when investigators arrived in February 2010 while searching for Joseph McStay, then 40, his wife Summer, 43, and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3.(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)  (The Associated Press)

News organizations including The Associated Press are seeking to unseal court records regarding the disappearance and deaths of a Southern California family of four whose bodies were found in shallow desert graves.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Runston Maino on Friday will consider whether to unseal search warrants from the investigation's initial stages. Joseph and Summer McStay and their two young sons vanished in 2010 from their home in Fallbrook, north of San Diego.

The disappearance remained a mystery until the bodies were found in 2013 by someone riding an off-road vehicle near Victorville.

News organizations have also asked a San Bernardino judge to unseal search warrants from later stages of the investigation. Charles "Chase" Merritt, who knew Joseph McStay from work, pleaded not guilty to murder last year.