Testimony: Someone sought access to account of missing dad

por Toby Ainsworth (2018-11-21)


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) — A sheriff's homicide detective says someone tried to access a business account of a father soon after he disappeared with his family.

San Bernardino County sheriff's Detective Daniel Hanke testified Monday that a customer service representative for QuickBooks Enterprise customer service Phone Number told him the caller identified himself as Joseph McStay, the victim, but the call came from a cellphone linked to suspect Charles "Chase" Merritt.

Hanke says the call was made five days after McStay and his family vanished in 2010. Their bodies were found in desert graves in 2013.

Chase Merritt, center, speaks with his attorneys Jim Terrell, right, and Jimmy Mettias, left, before his preliminary hearing Monday, June, 15, 2015 in San Bernadino, Calif. Merritt is accused of killing four members of the McStay family in February 2010. A judge will decide whether Charles "Chase" Merritt, 58, must stand trial for the deaths of his business partner, Joseph McStay, the man's wife and their two young sons. (John Gibbins/U-T San Diego via AP, Pool)

Hanke also testified that backdated checks from an online account held by McStay were cashed by Merritt.

The testimony came during a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the 58-year-old Merritt to stand trial on charges of killing McStay, his wife and their two children.

Merritt has pleaded not guilty.

Charles Merritt, left, sits in Department S-1 of the San Bernardino Justice Center, with defense attorneys Sharon Brunner and Jim Terrell before the start of his preliminary hearing on Monday, June 15, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. Merritt is accused of killing four members of the McStay family in February 2010. A judge will decide whether Charles "Chase" Merritt, 58, must stand trial for the deaths of his business partner, Joseph McStay, the man's wife and their two young sons. (Kurt Miller/The Press-Enterprise via AP, Pool)

Charles Merritt, left, sits in Department S-1 of the San Bernardino Justice Center, with defense attorneys Jimmy Mettias, left, Sharon Brunner and Jim Terrell before the start of his preliminary hearing on Monday, June 15, 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. Merritt is accused of killing four members of the McStay family in February 2010. A judge will decide whether Charles "Chase" Merritt, 58, must stand trial for the deaths of his business partner, Joseph McStay, the man's wife and their two young sons. (Kurt Miller/The Press-Enterprise via AP, Pool)

FILE - In this May 22, 2015 file photo, Charles "Chase" Merritt, left, speaks to his attorney Jimmy Mettias during a hearing in San Bernardino Justice Center court in San Bernardino, Calif. Merritt, has a scheduled preliminary hearing Monday, June 15, 2015, on charges that he murdered his business partner, the man¿s wife and their two young sons. Prosecutors will contend that a Southern California man used a sledgehammer to kill the family of four before burying their bodies in shallow desert graves in 2013, but the defense will argue there isn¿t a shred of physical evidence tying him to the crime, a defense attorney said. (Will Lester/The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via AP, Pool, File)

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