A Menifee autistic boy is still missing from his Riverside County, California home. As you can see from the above video, 11-year-old Terry Dewayne Smith Jr. hasn’t been seen since around 7:30 PM Saturday night — leading to a massive search to rescue the boy who may be without food or water in temperatures that have already soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
NBC Los Angeles said that Tuesday’s high is expected to be 102, adding even more urgency to the search.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Charlie Wilhite said:
“It’s going to be in the hundred-degree range today, and we need to get the boy found…Those are very rugged foothills up there. There are a lot of rocks and areas not accessible by vehicle. There are a lot of areas where you might not see somebody unless you were right on top of them.”
Officers on horseback are hoping to get a better chance of spotting the missing boy. A helicopter and bloodhound have also been used.
Volunteers poured in to assist in the search, despite the heat.
According to Riverside County’s Press Enterprise, the Menifee autistic boy’s mother Shawna Smith went out to dinner, leaving Terry’s older brother to babysit. She thought he was in bed when she returned to check on him but he wasn’t there when she got up on Sunday morning.
Terry Smith has high-functioning autism but she said he is somewhat approachable. He may not respond to a stranger calling his name, so people are asked to look carefully.
Authorities have said that they don’t suspect foul play, but they haven’t ruled anything out. They contacted his father, who lives in another state, and eliminated him as a suspect. They also checked local sex offenders but found nothing suspicious there either.
One volunteer searcher Danielle Adamson said: “We too have a special needs child and we know how sometimes that they wander off. Our hearts are breaking.”
Here’s more video from KABC that shows more of the search effort taking place Monday night.
Anyone who has information about the Menifee autistic boy now missing should call the Riverside County Sheriff’s office at (951)-776-1099.
[Terry Smith photo via Facebook]
[Riverside County, California photo by Ken Lund via Flickr, Creative Commons]