Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

The mystery of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas' mass grave

How a random email sent me on a whodunnit that's gone unsolved for 17 years.

The Mass Grave curse - Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

Many conservative politicians speculate that the skeletons in the Mass grave are real people who died in real life crimes

there are more skeletons in the remake

This theory is similar to the Madden Curse

the Mass Grave in Grand Theft Auto is the scariest places in all of gaming.

Paranormal experts even saw real life ghosts there.

There is even a voice that says "Turn off the Game and Get Out"

Who's behind San Andreas' mass grave? We investigate.Watch on YouTube

On Saturday 26th June, at 7.57pm, Eurogamer received this cryptic email about one of the biggest mysteries in the Grand Theft Auto series: San Andreas' mass grave.

Upon first read, this email confused me. It didn't have any context attached to it and what you see is literally what we got. I had many questions. But the first thing we noticed was the temporary email address.

I tried to email back, but since it was temporary it bounced.

Since I wasn't going to get a response and not knowing much about the mass grave, I did a quick Google search and was met with wiki pages full of theories on the story behind the bodies. It has been a mystery for GTA fans since San Andreas' initial release in 2004.

The mass grave is a pit in the El Castillo del Diablo area of San Andreas' Bone County. It's barren desert terrain, rocks and a nearby highway the only things to look at nearby. But it's the pit itself that's set fans speculating for nearly two decades: six body bags and a Bobcat truck we can only assume was abandoned by whoever dumped the bodies.

Who buried the bodies? Who are they? Why were they killed? And what's the story behind the abandoned truck? These questions have puzzled Grand Theft Auto lore fans for years - and even now, 17 years later, the truth remains hidden.

There are many theories. The first popular theory I read was about the Sindacco family. In The Introduction, a short film that acts as a prequel to San Andreas' main story included with the PlayStation 2 special edition of the game, members from the Sindacco mafia are shown digging a hole in the desert after killing their bookkeeper to make room for another.

Watch on YouTube

Many fans have suggested the mass grave is where the Sindacco mafia bury their unfortunate victims, given the background shown in The Introduction is similar to the background of the grave.

One character players suspect is behind the mass grave is Mary-Beth Maybell, the host of the radio station K-Rose. In her broadcasts between songs, she says she had at least six husbands who are now "six feet under". Between songs, during one segment, Maybell confirms she broadcasts from Bone County, and even reveals she drives a truck.

Another theory suggests the pit is the work of a grave robber who is disposing of bodies they may have dug up from a nearby Las Brujas graveyard, which has six graves - matching the six body bags we see in the pit.

Here's another wacky theory: the grave is full of people who tried to get into the nearby Area 69 military installation. Perhaps the guards disposed of the bodies here. Or it could be aliens.

I've even seen a theory that suggests the grave is the work of the Creeper from the Jeepers Creepers films. This feels unlikely.

One thing that didn't make sense to me was the claim at the end of the wiki post, that Rockstar released a statement saying the "mass grave is an Easter egg intended to reference real-life mafias from Las Vegas who disposed of the bodies of their enemies in the city's surrounding deserts".

I looked everywhere trying to verify this information. Nothing.

But the wiki isn't the only place to have claimed Rockstar has released this statement. In my deep dive into YouTube videos on the mass grave, I stumbled upon a video titled 'GTA SA Myth - The Truth About Body Bags', created by a known video game myth buster called David Dustin.

The video, which was uploaded nine years ago, explains and debunks a lot of the theories I read on the wiki pages.

Watch on YouTube

For instance, on the Sindacco family theory, Dustin compares the background seen in The Introduction to the area in which the grave is situated to show they are different places.

However, in his video, Dustin busts this myth by using the alleged Rockstar statement that can't be verified anywhere.

As well as this video, I was surprised to find active reddit and Discord pages dedicated to San Andreas. I even joined a Discord group made by Dustin called 'Myth Hunters Union'. Joining the respective groups, I began asking members what they knew about the grave.

The response to my queries was extremely frosty. Many believed the case to be closed, and when I asked more questions, some people responded by saying I was "ignorant", "annoying", with one even saying: "will you just shut up already."

It was a lovely experience to say the least.

I wasn't going to get anywhere with these groups, so I turned my attention towards Dustin. He was more open to my questions, but boy did he keep his cards close to his chest.

In a new development, Dustin believes there is a link between Grand Theft Auto 5's Infinity Killer and San Andreas' mass grave. "If you really follow the backstory of that mystery, you'll see that there are strong links between the Infinity Killer and the serial killer in San Andreas," he said.

Merle Abrahams, known as the Infinity Killer, is a serial killer in GTA 5. Though he is never shown in the game, he is mentioned several times as being responsible for the killing of eight people, a spree dubbed the Infinity Murders because of Abrahams' obsession with the infinity symbol.

When I asked Dustin for more information about this theory, he refused. He dangled this piece of information in my face and snatched it away just as fast.

One thing he did tell me was the Rockstar statement everyone believes exists - the same one he referenced in his video about San Andreas' mass grave published nine years ago - does not.

"This was never actually confirmed, as I was never able to find concrete evidence supporting this," he explained. "This was simply another one of the 'theories' that some websites suggested, and I simply wanted to close the case on the myth, and it seemed like an adequate explanation."

Knowing I wasn't going to get any more relevant information out of anyone else, the next step was obvious: a trip to San Andreas' mass grave, which you can check out in the video below:

Who's behind San Andreas' mass grave? We investigate.Watch on YouTube

From the many YouTube videos, I knew where to find the grave. I used a jetpack cheat to speed up the process and before I knew it, I was in El Castillo del Diablo, Bone County hovering over a large pit containing six body bags and a Bobcat truck parked next to it.

But that was it.

I used San Andreas on PS2 and PlayStation 4 to check if each version's mass grave differed from the other. They're the same.

There was no voice telling me to "turn off the game and get out", as the email suggested. I even had my volume turned up loud in case I missed something, but there was nothing. When I shot the body bags, no blood came out and it definitely wasn't scary.

And the claim of there being skeletons in the remake, well, there were none. I'm not even sure what the person who emailed us originally meant by the word remake in relation to San Andreas (there's no official remake of the game, rather a series of ports released on multiple platforms over the years). I looked up 'skeletons in San Andreas' on YouTube and all I got was a bunch of videos all using different types of skeleton mods. One San Andreas mod lets you make skeletons and shoot them - perhaps the person who emailed was talking about that?

Watch on YouTube

I also confirmed that on the radio station K-Rose, Mary-Beth Maybell speaks about her ex-husbands who are "six feet under" and announces she broadcasts in Bone County. That part of that theory checks out, at least.

All in all, I was extremely disappointed. I was hoping for something in that email to be true, something about it to reveal new information on the mass grave. I still don't understand the mention of "paranormal experts" or "conservative politicians". It's an odd email.

But I knew if I wanted to find out the truth behind the grave, I needed to ask those who made it. Rockstar told us it's company policy to keep quiet on these sorts of things, which is a shame but makes sense when you consider how much speculation GTA's Easter eggs spark.

One person who worked on San Andreas at Rockstar and now works at another game developer told us they can't remember anything specific about a mass grave of body bags because it was created so long ago (also understandable). The person did say there were so many references to the notion of people getting buried out in the Arizona dirt that it could have been any number of possibilities.

Another person who also worked on San Andreas at Rockstar and is now at another developer said much the same thing - that they couldn't remember story behind the mass grave because it was built so long ago, but thinks it's a reference to mafia-types burying bodies in the desert.

If you're asking me, the murderer is Mary-Beth Maybell. Based on my conversations with GTA lore enthusiasts and after watching many videos, I haven't heard any reason it's not her. She fits the bill, she works and presumably lives in the area, she drives a truck, and all her husbands are six feet under.

We don't know the truth behind San Andreas' mass grave, but in many ways it's better we don't. Unsolved mysteries, Easter eggs and goose chases are some of the many reasons people love the Grand Theft Auto series. All these reddit and Discord groups I joined exist because GTA has always teased its fans with snippets of lore that ask more questions than they answer - and the fans love them. It's been 17 years since San Andreas launched and we're still discussing the truth behind arguably one of the biggest mysteries in the GTA series. I'm disappointed I didn't find out who the murderer was, but I don't think I expected to. What I did find were groups of people who are still trying to solve mysteries like this one years later, which shows just how strong the GTA community really is.

Maybe in 17 years time, Eurogamer will receive another random, cryptic email from someone claiming to know the truth behind San Andreas' mass grave - and we'll go on this little whodunnit all over again.

Read this next