16-Year-Old Family Member Suspected of Murdering Missing Autistic Boy Terry Smith

Terry SmithThe case of Terry Dewayne Smith just took a heartbreaking twist.  The 11-year-old California boy who has autism was last seen at  his Menifee, Calif. home Saturday. Hundreds of volunteers have searched for him since, and this afternoon human remains that match the description of Smith were found in a shallow grave in his family's back yard. Police say a 16-year-old family member has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The case was awful enough when it appeared to be yet another incident in which a child with autism wanders away from his or her home. It happens much too frequently and is a real danger to this population. But to now think that someone in his own family intentionally hurt this boy is sickening.

According to ABC, police won't identify which family member it was, but said that the arrest was made as a result of interviews police conducted. However, they also said that a 16-year-old stepbrother (who shares the same biological mother as Terry), as well as the boy's mother and her partner were questioned, so it's not a huge leap to assume that it's the stepbrother who has been arrested, and many media outlets are reporting that is indeed him.

Menifee police chief John Hill told ABC:

One of the things I want to stress is that this was a domestic issue within that residence, and that there is no stranger in the city of Menifee that caused this to happen.

Terry's mom said she left the boy with his stepbrother Saturday evening while she went to play pool. When she went to check on them at 1 a.m., she thought they were sleeping, but realized in the morning Terry was gone. She reported him missing at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The stepbrother said he last saw Terry walking down a street near their house.

As a mother, I can't imagine how heartbreaking it would be if her son is proven to be responsible for the death of her other son. To lose a child at the hands of your other child has got to be excruciating, because in a sense you really lose them both. How you even begin to deal with that kind of emotion is unthinkable. 

There are still many questions that remain in this case, and it's too early to make any conclusions. At this point, the only thing we know for sure is that this family can use all the positive thoughts and prayers they can get.

autism, crime

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khick... khicks1189

I lived around this this area since I was in elementary school and I was surprised/grateful that this community came together in search of this boy. :) In a way I know the community knew there was more to the brothers story but wanted to believe they would find him alive and happy. On the 16 yr olds Facebook profile you could instantly tell he had problems by his posts from Saturday saying, "if you don't let me out of this house I will blow up on everyone in this house." Such a precious boy gone from this world by his own brother! Rip Terry you definitely made a huge impact on your entire community!

khick... khicks1189

I lived around this this area since I was in elementary school and I was surprised/grateful that this community came together in search of this boy. :) In a way I know the community knew there was more to the brothers story but wanted to believe they would find him alive and happy. On the 16 yr olds Facebook profile you could instantly tell he had problems by his posts from Saturday saying, "if you don't let me out of this house I will blow up on everyone." Such a precious boy gone from this world by his own brother! Rip Terry you definitely made a huge impact on your entire community!

khick... khicks1189

I lived around this this area since I was in elementary school and I was surprised/grateful that this community came together in search of this boy. :) In a way I know the community knew there was more to the brothers story but wanted to believe they would find him alive and happy. On the 16 yr olds Facebook profile you could instantly tell he had problems by his posts from Saturday saying, "if you don't let me out of this house I will blow up on everyone." Such a precious boy gone from this world by his own brother! Rip Terry you definitely made a huge impact on your entire community!

khick... khicks1189

I lived around this this area since I was in elementary school and I was surprised/grateful that this community came together in search of this boy. :) In a way I know the community knew there was more to the brothers story but wanted to believe they would find him alive and happy. On the 16 yr olds Facebook profile you could instantly tell he had problems by his posts from Saturday saying, "if you don't let me out of this house I will blow up on everyone." Such a precious boy gone from this world by his own brother! Rip Terry you definitely made a huge impact on your entire community!

PRIMA487 PRIMA487

Um Julie, that would make them half sibs not steps.The father of Terry(Terry Sr.) is saying he wasn't autistic. So much to take in,poor kid.RIP.

Nelli... NellieAthome

Two points


Ms Evans - someone who writes on a site aimed at *mothers* you should be aware that two boys who have the same mother but different fathers are HALF-brothers, not step-brothers


Second point - how did it take FOUR days to notice a grave in the backyard?????

Chana... Chanandler.Bong

Nellie, I have heard conflicting reports, but one of them stated that the property was searched on day one, but they received a tip the night before the body was found. In essence, the body was moved once they thought the home was safe from being searched.  I also read that his father and former teachers have denied his autism but acknowledged he had ADHD. Seems like the half brother isn't the only one involved in this all too sad situation.

jrphelps jrphelps

Half brothers, not step brothers!  But it doesn't matter, they are still brothers!

nonmember avatar MammaMel

Ok...little lesson for you:

1) Siblings: share both a biological mother and father

2) Half siblings: Share either a biological mother or father

3) Step siblings: do NOT share EITHER a biological mother or father, however their respective biological parent is married to the others biological parent.

Why is that so hard to understand? This was his BROTHER-PERIOD-if he meets any of the above criteria...but he was BLOOD RELATED since they have the same mother.

nonmember avatar Christina

Half brother not step brother. How could you not know the difference?

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