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Go Inside the Controversial and Shocking Trial of Charles “Chase” Merritt For the McStay Family Murders in ID’s New Seven-Part Docuseries TWO SHALLOW GRAVES

Series to Air Across Three Nights on ID Starting Sunday, May 22nd at 9/8c with the First Three Episodes

May 11, 2022

Contact - Lena Rawley
Senior Publicist

In 2010, Joseph McStay, his wife Summer, and their two young sons disappeared without a trace. Three years later, the nationwide search for answers in their disappearance came to a heartbreaking close when the family’s bodies were found in the middle of the California desert in two shallow graves. In 2019, Charles “Chase” Merritt, Joseph McStay’s friend and business associate, went on trial for the family’s murder. Despite incriminating evidence presented by the prosecution, Merritt maintains his innocence – begging the question, did Merritt really kill the McStay family? TWO SHALLOW GRAVES provides an enthralling look into Merritt’s explosive murder trial via unparalleled access to both the defense and prosecution teams, shedding new light on the controversial case. TWO SHALLOW GRAVES will air all seven episodes across three nights on ID starting Sunday, May 22nd at 9/8c with the first three episodes. Episodes will be available to stream the same day on discovery+. 

When Merritt’s trial began in 2019, the prosecution thought they had an airtight case to prove Merritt’s guilt: compelling evidence linking him to the crime including bank records, cell phone activity, and DNA placing Merritt in the McStay’s car. However, as the trial unfolded Merritt maintained his innocence and his defense team put forth the possibility that the authorities had apprehended the wrong man… and the McStay family’s killer remained free. Divisive and heartbreaking, the proceedings of Merritt’s trial highlighted a haunting reality: despite Merritt’s arrest, so many troubling questions around the McStay family murders still linger unanswered. 

With unprecedented, multi-camera access to the entirety of the trial and personal, never-before-seen footage of Merritt and his defense team strategizing during the proceedings, TWO SHALLOW GRAVES definitively unlocks a fascinating new perspective on the trial and murder case that captivated the attention of the nation. Featuring exclusive interviews with Merritt, his family, and his defense lawyers, as well as the prosecution, investigators, key figures in the case, and the McStay’s family and friends, the series gives incredible insight into Merritt’s defense and the prosecutions’ evidence, presenting an engrossing seven part look into a tragic mystery that is still unfolding. 

“The trial of Chase Merritt in the McStay family murders is one of the most shocking and controversial in recent memory. TWO SHALLOW GRAVES gives unprecedented and never-before-seen access into the proceedings that will completely shift how many perceive this case,” said Jason Sarlanis, President of Crime and Investigative Content, Linear and Streaming. “This is a definitive look at the building drama inside and outside the courtroom, culminating in a shocking interview with a missing suspect.”

TWO SHALLOW GRAVES will air all seven episodes across three nights on ID starting Sunday, May 22nd at 9/8c with the first three episodes. Episodes will be available to stream the same day on discovery+. Episode details below: 

  • Vanished Premieres Sunday, May 22 at 9/8c
    The fate of the missing McStay family remains a mystery for three years until their bodies surface in two shallow graves in the desert. Prosecutors accuse Chase Merritt of the crime, and the trial begins with each side passionately presenting their case.  
  • The Missed Call Premieres Sunday, May 22 at 10/9c
    A bombshell witness upends the Merritt murder trial, claiming someone else confessed to the McStay murders. Merritt’s girlfriend gives him an alibi, but the prosecution attempts to discredit her on the witness stand. 
  • The Killer’s Truck Premieres Sunday, May 22 at 11/10c
    Police investigate other suspects, including a business associate taking money, an ex-boyfriend still in love with Summer McStay, and a new husband with a violent past. Footage of a truck leaving the McStay house may reveal the killer. 
  • The Desert Ping Premieres Monday, May 23 at 9/8c 
    Merritt’s phone pinged in the desert near the graves. Was he burying the bodies or visiting a sister? Prosecutors suggest Merritt tried to delete financial records to cover his tracks. A defense attorney has to take a sudden leave of absence.
  • Where’s Dan? Premieres Monday, May 23 at 10/9c 
    New DNA found in the graves may reveal who murdered the McStays. The defense questions Joseph’s brother on his whereabouts at the time of the murders and are unable to locate the suspect they believe may be involved in the killings. 
  • The Verdict, Premieres Tuesday, May 24 at 9/8c 
    If Merritt testifies, the jurors will learn about his criminal past. The defense and prosecution present their final arguments with closing statements. It will be up to the jury to determine guilt or innocence. 
  • Stay Out Of Dodge, Premieres Tuesday, May 24 at 10/9c 
    Chase Merritt is furious with his attorneys for failing to call an expert witness he believes can prove phone records placing him at the gravesite are “impossible.” A key figure in the case breaks his silence about the crime.

TWO SHALLOW GRAVES is produced for ID by Red Marble Media with Jacinda A. Davis and Kevin Fitzpatrick as Executive Producers. Jeanie Vink is the Executive Producer for ID.