walked into their living room 11 days later, he
saw two bowls of popcorn sitting on futons in front of the TV.
Dugal, 50, a homicide detective and the son of a career policeman, was the lead investigator.
didn't see any obvious sign of a struggle.
went door to door in the neighborhood.
No one had seen the McStays in more than a week.
Neighbors said they'd grown worried about the dogs and started feeding them.
interviewed friends and family, all of whom had the same story: "The bottom line," he
concluded, "was that life was normal for the McStays up to Feb. 4, and on that day they just vanished."
ran a check on the family's vehicles.
Their green truck was parked in the driveway, but their Isuzu Trooper was missing.
Investigators examined a surveillance recording from a neighbor's security camera.
It showed an Isuzu Trooper driving away from the McStays' house at 7:47 p.m. on Feb. 4.
Within hours, Dugal
found the Trooper.
The SUV had been towed on Feb. 8, four days after the family disappeared, from the parking lot of a strip mall in San Ysidro, an hour's drive from the McStay home and a short walk from a pedestrian crossing into Mexico.
spoke with the two security guards who had been on duty that night.