As the five-year anniversary of the McStay family’s disappearance approaches, controversy over the trial of suspected killer Charles ‘Chase’ Merritt arises.

McStay Family Murders

The McStay family went missing almost exactly five years ago, on Feb. 4, 2010. Police first suspected that the family had left voluntarily to Mexico, but, more than three years after their disappearance, remains of the family were found in the Mojave Desert. One year later, Merritt was arrested for their murder.

Merritt was arrested in November 2014, and is being charged with the murders of Joseph McStay, his wife, Summer, and their two sons, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3.

Chase Merritt To Represent Himself At Trial

As the preliminary trial approaches, Judge Michael A. Smith recently approved Merritt’s request to represent himself. However, the judge also denied a request from various media outlets asking that the McStay search warrants and other documents regarding the investigation be unsealed, opening the investigation to journalists. Despite the lack of warrants and other official documents, CNN will air a special report on the McStay investigation, “Inside the McStay Family Murders” with Randi Kaye.

In a preview for the special, San Bernadino County District Attorney Michael Ramos seems confident in the evidence against Merritt, saying, “When the jury hears the evidence and we put this all together for them…They will find him guilty,” Ramos told CNN.

That said, Ramos admitted that the case had flaws, mainly due to the time that elapsed after the McStay family left their home and were reported missing and before their home was sealed off by police. Merritt is said to have entered the house in the 11 days before police received a warrant to prevent outsiders from entering the home, meaning any evidence could be either gone or compromised. “I think the biggest obstacle… is time. Because witnesses forget, people forget the time frames, what occurred, etc.,” Ramos said.

CNN’s special report “Inside the McStay Family Murders” airs Tuesday at 9 p.m.

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