Terry Smith, a missing boy found murdered in a shallow grave behind his mother’s home on Wednesday morning, is being remembered in an outpouring of grief from his community in Menifee, California. However, his father — who lives in West Virginia — has come forward with statements that call into question what the public really knows about the case.
As I have previously reported, 11-year-old Terry Smith was last seen on Saturday night. His mother Shawna Smith left him in the care of his 16-year-old half-brother while she went out to dinner.
But when she went to give him his medication on Sunday morning, she discovered that he wasn’t there — sparking a massive multi-agency law enforcement manhunt for the missing Terry Smith that included up to 1,000 unpaid volunteers searching for days in temperatures that sometimes topped over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The boy was described as autistic, and the public was led to believe that he may have just wandered off to hide — a known behavioral problem seen in some children with autism.
Around 1 AM Wednesday morning Pam Ragland discovered Terry’s head sticking out of a shallow grave under a tree near the family home — a site that she said she saw in a vision.
As a result of the discovery of those remains, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department zeroed in on the family and ultimately arrested Terry’s 16-year-old half-brother for the murder. He was charged on Friday, with the next hearing scheduled for July 15.
Terry Smith’s father, Terry Smith Sr, poured out some angry statements when he learned his son was dead.
In an interview with KABC Eyewitness News, Smith said that his son wasn’t autistic — and the reporters spoke to a teacher named Jenny Smith from the school district who agreed.
“I know it’s going to be a bit of a shock to people to hear this, but no, he was not autistic,” she said. It wasn’t clear if she was any relation.
Terry Smith Sr. also claimed that his ex-wife knew that the 16-year-old was violent. As a result, Smith Sr. had been trying to get Terry back with him in West Virgina.
Smith said: “[She] knew that [the 16-year-old] did get violent with his brother and sister. I begged her to get him the right kind of help.”
Terry Smith said much the same thing to NBC Los Angeles, telling them that the 16-year-old had anger issues and that Terry was afraid of him. The news station has posted a video of their phone interview which you can view by clicking right here.
The NBC video, as well as comments on the Find Terry Smith Facebook page, mention the 16-year-old’s growing rage in the days leading up to the murder. He reportedly left a widely commented-upon Facebook post a few days before the disappearance saying, “really i tell you i need to get out of the house or ima blow up on everyone.”
Some people, including Terry Smith Sr., believe that if the warnings had been taken more seriously, missing boy Terry Smith might still be alive.
[Terry Smith missing volunteers memorial by Find Terry Smith via Facebook]