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
Search for Missing Autistic Boy Takes Criminal Turn
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)

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. (Read more missing child stories.)

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