Police 'Evaluating All Options' in Investigation of Missing Boy

Menifee Mayor Scott Mann speaks to reporters during a press conference this afternoon. Saying ...

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."




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