Police 'Evaluating All Options' in Investigation of Missing Boy

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann speaks to reporters during a press conference this afternoon.
Saying "circumstances surrounding his disappearance are unknown," the Menifee chief of police said today that investigators have not ruled out child abduction and "are evaluating all options" concerning missing 11-year-old Terry Dewayne Smith Jr.

In a press conference covered by virtually all major Los Angeles area media outlets, Captain John Hill (below right) said that investigators -- which now include FBI detectives -- have interviewed all registered sex offenders living in the area and have no leads as a result of those discussions. When asked whether foul play was a possibility, he repeated that circumstances of the boy's disappearance are unknown.

Meanwhile, an interview with Terry's father raised further questions in light of conflicting reports about the boy's developmental condition and family situation.

Speaking by phone from his home in Charleston, West Virginia, 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."

Terry Smith Jr. was described in early media reports as being autistic. In recent Facebook postings -- admittedly not confirmed information -- he has been described by some as having "high functioning" autism. Terry Smith Sr's comments obviously differ with those of his ex-wife, who did not attend today's news conference and has disappeared from public view.

Terry Smith Jr's stepbrother, Skylor Atilano, told Menifee 24/7 on Monday 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. Asked for additional comment today, Skylor said he is no longer giving interviews. He said his mother was unavailable and also is not accepting interview requests.

Terry Smith Sr. said Skylor and his 14-year-old sister, Mary Atilano, are stepchildren who moved with their mother to California, but that 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.

"Terry went out there for a visit and she took him to Disneyland, the beach and all those places," Smith said. "He wanted to stay out there. A while ago, Shawna told me Terry wanted to come back to West Virginia. Then Sunday she told me he's missing."

Smith said he was interviewed by a detective and is trying to reach him again to express his concerns about the circumstances surrounding his son's disappearance. Deputy Albert Martinez said all family members have been interviewed, including Terry Smith Sr., who is not considered a suspect.

Hill told reporters the search for Terry Smith Jr. has covered 55 square miles but has not resulted in any evidence of his whereabouts. The search includes members of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office, Cal Fire, Los Angeles and Orange County Sheriff's Departments, mountain and rescue teams, the FBI and officers from the Anaheim, Irvine and Garden Grove police departments. This is in addition to hundreds of citizen volunteers.

"The outpouring of support from the community is amazing," he said.

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann also thanked law enforcement, rescue teams and members of the public for their assistance.

"We're grateful for your participation in this arduous task," Mann said. "I pledge that we will continue this search effort until circumstances dictate otherwise."







27 Comments:

  1. I pray to god that this does not end like all the missing cildren you read about and find family is involved. People there are so many people who will take in your child stop harming the helpless

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  2. Doug, outstanding coverage over the last few days. The most informative of all coverage I've seen.

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  3. This is BY FAR the most accurate and revealing rendition of what is really happening! Kudos and more kudos to 24/7 for extracting the most sensible information and compiling it into such realistic, believable terms. Up until this offering, the whole thing just didn't quite make sense. In spite of all the good intentions and wonderful outpouring of love and caring from hundreds of people, this is beginning to play out in quite a different direction. The absence of the "Mother" and the withdrawal of the sibling is quite shocking. The two teachers and the Dad are the most believable!
    Dogs and horses would pick up a trail or detect some scent by now. It just isn't adding up.

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    1. Im with you there, something is off. the first thing I thought about when they said the dogs picked up no scent seemed odd BUT ONLY God knows the truth. my heart breaksfor this boy.

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    2. I absolutely agree. I follow other news stories but this has shown to be the one making the most sense. Things didn't seem right from day one. I have a screen shot of the horrid facebook entry (now removed) and will gladly send it to this reporter. Just tell me where.

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    3. Now is the time to share what you have! The brother who posted that on Facebook knew when he did it that it was "Public Domain" The fact that you had the good sense to preserve it can only be interpreted as a sign that there was an absolutely good reason why you felt in your gut you should do that.
      Nothing on Facebook is anonymous so I don't believe you are betraying any implied trust or otherwise. Many of us as you can see by the posts knew there was something not right from the start. PLEASE post what you have to share and bless you!

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    4. I also saw it yesterday, and knew something was off with this kid and something was seriously wrong. He still has a facebook page and now his status is an apology for what he said was a remark he knew was "found offensive". Gee, ya' think?! Saying he kep the mom around to bang her and has to deal with "the retard". Just sick and awful. Sounds like a nightmare of a family dynamic and I am sorry for children who must live in these horrid situations. So so sad.

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    5. I didn't believe the story from the beginning....when mom said "when I looked in on the boys last night Terry was in his bed sleeping. At 10:30 this morn I noticed he was gone." And then the step brother giving a completely different story the next day. Messed up family! I hope the step brother rots in hell. And shame on mom for her part in this - even if that part consist of simply poor parenting. Disgusting!!!!

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  4. I know it has already been checked into but has anyone tried checking bus, plane or trains? If he said he wanted to go back to his dad's that might be a good place to check

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  5. Is there a picture of the boy?

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    1. go to facebook and find terry smith pg , they have lots of picts

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    2. yes go to facebook , find terry smith pg

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  6. i was also wondering if the boy may have tried to go back to his dad??

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    1. This is a good question.. Obviously he hasn't got to his dad's yet though. I think the dad would say something.

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  7. Its so sad, something is off for sure! If there is no scent found off the property maybe they should dig a little deeper onto the property and see if there is anything unusual... have they mentioned if there were and different car tracks or anything?

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  8. Donald there are pics of Terry everywhere.

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  9. My heart breaks for this boy I pray that he is safe and unharmed. Things have not been adding up and the dogs not picking up a trail is weird.I just hope that there is no fowl play involved.

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  10. My instincts are feeling that the boy had to have been picked up by someone in a vehicle. The fact that tracking dogs did not pick up a trail, or that the trail ended abruptly is very disturbing and can only mean he entered a vehicle.
    I hope in my heart that he is found safe, whether or not it's in the area or another location?

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  11. Just heard on the news this morning that Terry's property has now turned into a crime scene. It's all over the news unfortunately & now forensics is involved.....we need to pray for little Terry!

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  12. has anyone investigated the bunkers/

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  13. I am a newspaper editor and can say with all certainty that this is the best reporting I've seen on the Terry Smith case. Excellent job. That said, there has been discussion on Patch about an offensive Facebook posting by the brother, where he calls Terry a "retard" and makes a distasteful reference to his mother. Apparently, it's been deleted. Do you have any information on that?

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    1. I have also heard numerous reports about his offensive posts. Many people have claimed to have taken screenshots of his comment. I'd be curious to see the validity of these.

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    2. I have a screenshot of the disgusting Facebook post his step-brother wrote. It's actually a quote from the movie "Step Brothers". Regardless, in the situation he's in, it's a horrible thing to say about your Step Mother and Step Brother. Let me know your email address and I'd be happy to forward it to you so it gets out to the public. I will bet you anything it's that step brother of his that did this. That poor sweet child.

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    3. I personally saw the Facebook page. Listed under "Work" he had typed something about being able to live there so "dad and I can bang mom" and something else about "putting up with the retard. It's true...he actually had it posted on his page with a pic of him with super black hair and nose piercings. A real winner.....(dripping with sarcasm). I didn't take a pic of his page but I was surprised he would have something so awful on his page when his brother was supposedly missing.

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  14. Someone needs to post the screenshot of the brother's deleted Facebook stuff.

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  15. How sad the mayor only showed his face when the cameras were on. Where was he when the volunteer were out searching? He could have been handing out food or supplies or doing something to help. His concern was that Menifee looked good and I have to say not only Menifee but all the surrounding towns and people from out of town that showed up in force to do anything they could do deserve our utmost gratitude and thanks. One such volunteer was Councilman Tom Fuhrman who turned over his property for rest to the mounted volunteers and their horses during the brutally hot days. The mayor has yet to give thanks to him for providing maps and countless hours assisting. Hats off to this councilman as he was the only county representative present during the search.

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