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Public Safety

Judge Delays Hearing In McStay Family Murder Case

Clockwise from top left, Joseph McStay, Summer McStay, Joseph Mateo McStay and Gianni McStay.
Photos via mcstayfamily.org
Clockwise from top left, Joseph McStay, Summer McStay, Joseph Mateo McStay and Gianni McStay.

This booking photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows Charles "Chase" Merritt, 57. Merritt was arrested Nov. 5, 2014.
Associated Press
This booking photo released by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department shows Charles "Chase" Merritt, 57. Merritt was arrested Nov. 5, 2014.

A judge has postponed a preliminary hearing for a man accused in the deaths of four members of a Fallbrook family who mysteriously disappeared from their home.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith delayed proceedings until Friday because the prosecutor was sick Tuesday and defendant Charles "Chase" Merritt may retain a defense attorney.

Merritt, who has been representing himself, also arrived at court without his case file because of a jail mix-up. He has denied the charges.

Joseph McStay, his wife and two sons vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010 and their remains were found in the desert three years later.

The preliminary hearing could reveal what prosecutors believe the motive to be.