Search for Missing Autistic Boy Takes Criminal Turn

Terry Smith's half-brother arrested

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 10, 2013 4:54 PM CDT | Updated Jul 11, 2013 6:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police and volunteers by the hundreds have been combing the "snake-infested scrub" around Menifee, California, for days searching for an autistic 11-year-old last seen Saturday night, reports MyValleyNews. Now it's beginning to look like Terry Smith never got far from home. Police today found a body matching his description in a shallow grave behind the family home, reports the Los Angeles Times. They have arrested a 16-year-old suspect who was initially identified only as a family member; USA Today now reports that the person arrested is Smith's half-brother, and he is being held on a murder charge.

The half-brother was the last person to see Smith alive. The teenager was babysitting Terry Saturday night when the boys' mother went out, and he told authorities that he last saw the boy walking on a road near the family's home, reports NBC Los Angeles. "The brother was walking away from their residence, turns back, sees that Terry's following him and tells Terry, 'Hey, go home,'" a deputy explains. Terry's mom didn't realize he was missing until she went to check on him Sunday morning. “We will find a way to remember him in our hearts,” said one volunteer searcher after news of the discovered remains became public.

Crime scene tape cordons off an area where Riverside County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating reports of human remains in Menifee, Calif.
Crime scene tape cordons off an area where Riverside County Sheriff's Deputies are investigating reports of human remains in Menifee, Calif.   (AP Photo/The Press Enterprise, Frank Bellino)
This video frame grab released courtesy of NBCLA.com shows an aerial view of investigators digging behind a home in Menifee, Calif.
This video frame grab released courtesy of NBCLA.com shows an aerial view of investigators digging behind a home in Menifee, Calif.   (AP Photo/NBCLA.com)
A police handout photo of Terry Smith.
A police handout photo of Terry Smith.   (Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
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