HALF-BROTHER, 16, ARRESTED
Temecula, CA – Coming back to town recently, I couldn’t help but notice the story about the missing eleven year autistic boy being hunted for in neighboring Menifee. On the surface this
At 12 o'clock yesterday investigators were called to the home when mom, Shawna Smith, wouldn't give permission to search the property. Officials thought it was extremely fishy especially after someone reported finding human remains on the property [a tip]. After she still did not allow officials on her property an emergency restraining order was obtained. They went right to the site where the ‘tip’ said he was and he was discovered as we know now, in a shallow grave close to a tree.
A body that matched the description of Terry Dewayne Smith Jr. was found partially exposed in a shallow grave on the family property, Menifee police Chief John Hill said at a news conference. The body has been positively identified, Hill said, adding that the death was the result of "a domestic issue" at the house.
Hundreds of volunteers from various agencies searched the desert Sunday before being stopped on
He said that he last saw Terry Saturday night when he told Terry to stop following him as Skylor walked to a friend's house, leaving the younger boy alone at the house while the mother was playing pool with friends.
"The brother was walking away from their residence, turns back, sees that Terry's following him and tells Terry, 'Hey, go home,'" Deputy Albert Martinez told The Desert Sun this week. The teen, whose name was not yet released, was the last one to see Terry near his Menifee, Calif., home Saturday, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department previously said.
Asked for additional comment yesterday, Skylor said he is no longer giving interviews. He said his mother was unavailable and also is not accepting interview requests.
As a result, 16 year old Skylor Atilano, the step brother of Terry Smith, was arrested on suspicion
Skylor lived with Terry, Terry's mother, Shawna (also known as Bekkah) Smith, and a 14-year-old sister, Mary Atilano.
Skylor and his 14-year-old sister, Mary Atilano, are stepchildren who moved with their mother to California, but Terry Jr. stayed with his father until about a year ago. At that time, he said, Terry Jr. visited his mother in California and asked to move here.
Skylor is in the 10th grade at Paloma Valley High School. In a now deleted post on his Facebook page, Atilano paraphrased the movie Step Brothers saying: “The bitch only keeps me and the retard around to fuck us.”
He had been actively searching for his brother and implored his Facebook friends to the same; he subsequently thanked them for their efforts.
Judging by his Facebook posts, Atilano may have recently broken up with a girl, as of April 2013, he declared he was "in a relationship." He wrote on July 4:
Officials have already spoken to dad for DNA test and dad was given confirmation. Terry Smith Sr. is reported by CBS LA to be living in West Virginia.
He told them last night, “I thought there was something fishy about the whole story to begin with. Things didn’t add up.” His father also added that he hadn't spoken with his son in several months but that the last time he did, Terry asked him could he come and live with him in West Virginia, reports NBC 4.
Terry Smith Sr. also contradicted several reports that his son suffered from autism. Shawna Smith told the media at the beginnings of the search that Terry Jr. was autistic, but high-functioning due to medication. But Terry Smith Sr. told NBC 4: “Nope, nope, nope, in fact, when everyone in West Virginia heard that, they all flipped because they know better. He was a hyper little boy, he might have had ADHD.”
Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. supported the claims of two of Terry Jr's former teachers, who told Menifee 24/7 the boy is not autistic, as his mother has told police.
"He is not autistic," insisted Smith, who said the boy lived with him in West Virginia after Smith and his wife Shawna divorced -- for the second time -- in 2007 and Shawna moved to California. " He might be a little hyper, but he has not been diagnosed autistic. I think he might be ADHD, because I believe his mom told me he got medication for that. But that's all."
A posting on a Facebook page devoted to the search said Terry's family worried he might have wandered off without food, water or special medication.
Dawn Berning and her daughters Hannah, 12, and Danielle Stiff, 22, were some of the first residents to volunteer in the search for the boy.
On the first night, they searched abandoned trailers in the hills around town in the pitch dark. In later days, Berning went from her 10-hour shift at the local casino to pass out flyers into the wee hours.
She and her daughters fought back tears after learning a body had been found at the boy's address – and they said their grief was also layered with anger after learning a family member had been arrested.
"I'm devastated," Berning said. "To see something like that happen in our community tears me up. I'm angry. I feel used."
At press time no charges had been officially filed. Various sources contributed to this updated story.