Handout photo of Gianni McStay provided by San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department
By Eric M. Johnson
(Reuters) - Skeletal remains found buried in the California desert have been identified as two young sons from a family that vanished nearly four years ago, police said on Friday.
San Bernardino County Sheriff deputies were dispatched to the desert near Victorville, about 70 miles northeast of Los Angeles, on November 11 after a motorcyclist reported coming across what he thought were human bones.
Two days later, four sets of skeletal remains buried in two shallow graves were dug up.
Dental records were used to identify the remains of Joseph McStay, 40, and his wife Summer, 43, who were reported missing from the San Diego area in February 2010 along with their two children, police said last week. They thought the remaining bones were likely to be their two young sons.
DNA tests have now confirmed the remaining bones to be those of Gianni McStay, aged four, and his three-year-old brother Joseph, police said on Friday.
The coroner's office has classified all four deaths as homicides, said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon. He said the method by which the victims are believed to have been killed would not be released during the ongoing investigation.
The McStay family was last seen at their home in the San Diego suburb of Fallbrook on February 4, 2010.
The San Diego Union Tribune newspaper reported that a search of the family's computer turned up evidence that they were planning to travel to Mexico.
(Editing by Pravin Char)