Terry Smith Sr. Claims Ex-Wife Hindering Coroner's Report

Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. and his son Terry Jr. are seen here in a photo from Terry Sr's Faceb...

Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. and his son Terry Jr. are seen here in a photo from Terry Sr's Facebook page. 

The father of the boy found buried on the property of his mother's Menifee home said today that he plans to arrive in California Friday and will claim his son's body as soon as possible. He also accused his ex-wife of hindering the coroner's efforts to positively identify the body to prepare it for release.

Speaking in an exclusive phone interview with Menifee 24/7, Terry Smith Sr. said from his home in Charleston, W. Va. that he has full custody of 11-year-old Terry Smith Jr. and that he plans to have the body cremated and returned to West Virginia for burial in a cemetery behind the apartment complex where he lives. Before that, however, he plans to have a memorial service in Menifee.

"We will have a big memorial service in Menifee," Smith said. "I want to meet and greet everybody out there and let them know they are not going to be forgotten."

Smith may have a battle in gaining custody of the body. He said his ex-wife Shawna Smith told him in a phone conversation that she will not let him take the boy back to West Virginia, where he lived with his father until 2011. Futhermore, he claims she is not releasing to the coroner's office dental records to help with the identification.

Terry Smith Sr. said the coroner's office called him and said it will take a week to positively identify and release the body with dental records, but longer with only DNA testing. He said he does not have the dental records but that he sent DNA swabs to the coroner's office.

"The coroner called me," he said. "The lady told me Shawna's not telling them where the dental work is at."

Sgt. Curt James of the Riverside County Coroner's Office told Menifee 24/7 that the identification process of the body thought to be that of Terry Smith Jr. is being given "top priority."

"We are actively pursuing it," he said about efforts to positively identify the body. He had no comment about Terry Smith's claims regarding the dental records and could not estimate how long it could take to release the coroner's report.

Shawna Smith could not be reached for comment. On Monday, she declined to speak to reporters following a detention hearing for her son Skylor Atilano, 16, who has been accused of the murder. Menifee 24/7 left a message with her through the Facebook group Faithful Servants, which has had contact with her, but Shawna did not respond.

Terry Smith and Shawna Smith have been divorced twice. Shawna lives in Menifee with her partner, Denise Bugna, her daughter Mary Atilano and her son Skylor Atilano. Skylor, Terry Jr's half brother, was arrested last Wednesday for the murder of Terry Jr., whose body was found buried in a shallow grave on the Smith's property.

Terry Smith Sr. said he has documents proving he has full custody of Terry Jr. and that he will take them to the Riverside County Coroner's office upon his arrival here to claim the body. He said Shawna has already warned him that won't happen.

"She said there's no way I'm going to get her baby boy," Smith said. "And I flat out told her, 'Oh, now you're gonna fight me.' I have proof that she never even once tried to get Terry Jr. in the divorce. Not once. And the only reason she got full custody of Mary is she said, 'You give me full custody of Mary and I'll give you full custody of Junior."

Terry Smith Sr. said he married Shawna when she was pregnant with Mary from another man, but that his name is on Mary's birth certificate and that he raised her as his own child until she moved to California with her mother and Skylor a few years ago.

Terry Smith Sr. said he knew soon after allowing Terry Jr. to visit his mother in Menifee in 2011 that she might not return him.

"I never relinquished custody of Terry," Terry Smith Sr. said. "All I did was a hand-held paper, and it never went to court. On that paper, I was supposed to get my visits and my phone calls. Then she cut me off from my phone calls and all that.

"He wanted to go out there to live. I had a feeling that eventually the Disneyland and everything would fade away, and he'd realize what's going on. I know what she did to Skylor and I know what she's done to Mary and I knew sooner or later she was gonna start pulling things with Terry Junior -- especially when I heard all this about her saying he's autistic and everything. She was just trying to get a check."

Smith said Terry Jr. called him "a few months back," begging to come home.

"He told me, 'Dad, I want to come home. I'm tired of being treated like a half brother, being left alone.' Shawna got upset when I told her. She said, 'He's got to finish school first.' I said, 'OK, Shawna, as soon as he's out of school, call me. I'll get a plane ticket and I'll be there.' "

According to Terry Smith Sr., Shawna Smith never told him when Terry Jr. was out of school.

Terry Smith Sr. said he knows nothing about a memorial service at Revival Church this Saturday that was announced on the Facebook page Faithful Servants on Monday. A spokesperson for Faithful Servants messaged Menifee 24/7 on Facebook saying there is now some confusion on whether that event will be open to the public.

Terry Smith Sr. says that regardless of that event, he will prove his custody of Terry Jr. to authorities and will plan his own memorial service for the people of Menifee before taking the boy home to West Virginia.

There, he said, the boy will be cremated and his ashes will be buried in the cemetery near his home, with a plaque including a mention of the volunteers who tried so hard to find him after he was reported missing by his mother.

"There will be some mention about Menifee and all the people who helped try to find him and had their hearts broken," Smith said.


Terry Smith Sr. 7264546834803759028

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  1. The whole debacle is so fishy I feel like I am in San Pedro!
    Something ISN'T right! NOT AT ALL!
    The people of Menifee have been AWESOME and would give you the shirt off their backs! But I can assure you if they are crossed they will demand to know the truth!

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Why isn't the mom in jail with Skylor? She sounds charming... Eek

  4. I really hope Mr.Smith gets Terry with out any trouble. Shawna didn't seem fit to have him in life she shouldn't get him in death. My heart goes out to Mr.Smith for his loss.
    Justice for JuJu

  5. The behavior of this mother is unacceptable. The city needs to rally behind this father and see that his son can be buried in a place other than where he was killed. Let's get to the bottom of this and have closure for Terry Jr. He deserves that. No child should suffer.

  6. Robert EntricanJuly 17, 2013 1:30 PM

    His quotes sound so honest and genuine ... I really hope the mother doesn't continue to create more obstacles and get in the way of closure and healing :-\ ... such a sad SAD situation ... (sigh)

  7. So many lies told by the mom. She knows more than she is telling. I feel bad for the dad and siblings.

  8. The mom sounds suspicious .honestly she should be in jail not skylar.i.hope.the truth comes our soon ......Freeeskylae

  9. There are many questions still not answered. Like how was it that a mother does not realize her 11yr old is missing and say it must've been between the hours of 7:30pm-10:30am? where was she? The local watering hole? What was the cause of death? Was there any forensic evidence in or around the home? Did the brother put in a guilty plea?etc etc. I agree with a comment made by anonymous @ 12:43 Something is up with that mom. She knows more to this than anyone else. If it was indeed the half brother the mother didn't see any change in his behavior? I think the mother had something to do with this or at least in the covering up the real happenings. Theres no way My son could be buried 75ft from my home and me not come across it! I myself would be combing through all areas of my land and surrounding land looking for signs. And if my oldest son was in charge of his little brother i'd be drilling him with questions.

    1. You nailed it! These are the exact questions I ask as well. I hope the authorities look so much more into this case.

    2. you and me both! as would any sane, concerned parent missing a child!

  10. Too add to the other comments already here-how dare she not provide dental records and or any other nessecary paperwork to/for the coroner's office to help quickly identify her son-WTH? Terry [JU JU] Smith needs to be able to finaly rest in peace,back home near his dad and other siblings. Shawna Smith is indeed strange and seems cold hearted and does ot seem to be grieving at all-could say so much mre but will end with-prayers to Terry's father/family as well as all family members on the mom's side accept that nonmother Shawna Smith.I still believe she [mother] played a huge part in her son's death-R.I.P. Litlle JU JU-Prayers go out to everyone but the mother.

  11. This whole thing is fishy, first Terry was missing to long without the notice of the family, then when they did call the authorities their stories we're very strange. People we're out scouring the land and hills in the area and found nothing and then all of a sudden after a search warrant is issued the boys body is found that close to the house. To me bells went off the minute I heard that police even needed a search warrant. If it we're my child missing the first thing I would've said is check the house, land, etc. and quickly rule out the family so authorities could get out there and find him, from the start something was up. I also feel authorities are not giving out all the information because the only way their able to identify the body for sure is through his dental records, really? To me that's saying one of two things, A. he was beaten so badly that he could not be identified or B. he's been dead for a lot longer than a few days because even with the heat and elements a body would not decay so quickly (3 days) that its unidentifiable. I think the brother killed him and that both the mother and her so-called partner not only knew about it but they help cover it up and they were not expecting the people of Menifee to rally together so quickly to help and that through off their plans of disposing of the body and they messed up needing to be in a hurry and thus having to bury on their own property and that hair was visible. I think the step-brother along with the mom and her partner all need to be in jail for their involvement. The one the police need to put the pressure on for information is the sister, she's gonna be the one that will fill in a lot of the blanks. Anyhow, this whole thing really blows. My heart goes out to his father and to young Terry Jr. who deserved so much better than this and I can only hope that he is at rest and that god comforts his broken heart. You will remain in the heart of so many, god bless you Terry Jr.

  12. To add: why would any loving, caring Mom hinder information being obtained such as dental records..Terry deserves to RIP as soon as posible.

  13. why is she not in jail for OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? i think this with every single article i read. it seems like every new day she is pulling more shady behavior. everyone deserves to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, but nothing about this woman's actions would imply innocence. aside from her fake-ass crocodile tears on tv she has shown not an ounce of concern for little terry jr, she certainly hasn't been acting like a mother at all! i'm sure the authorities are onto her games, its just a matter of time before they have enough evidence to put her in custody also.

    1. I think her " crocodile tears" are only there because the jig is up. They've been caught, found out, however you want to put it. Not a single tear is truely over that innocent little boy.

  14. I don't get it, something about the mother is off. i feel there is more to this story.

  15. Please, read carefully. Dad tosses blame at mom, yet really...he has his own blame to claim. First, "According to Terry Smith Sr., Shawna Smith never told him when Terry Jr. was out of school." Really? If your son called and wanted to come home so bad, and you already knew mom was not providing information and cutting you off - why then did he not call the school district and inquire about the last day of school? IF he has custody, why did he not just get the child home with him ASAP, especially since he states the kid wanted to be back with him? If he has full custody as he states "
    Terry Smith Sr. said he has documents proving he has full custody of Terry Jr. and that he will take them to the Riverside County Coroner's office upon his arrival here to claim the body. He said Shawna has already warned him that won't happen." then how is it she was going to be getting checks for him being autistic?

    "Terry Smith Sr. said he knew soon after allowing Terry Jr. to visit his mother in Menifee in 2011 that she might not return him." And what, out of his deep love and devotion for his son he got him home since he supposedly has legal custody?? He did what???

    Your child goes missing and you???
    A) stay where you are at waiting for updates from others?
    B) catch the next plane/train/bus out to be there and search for your child?

    Folks, it's easy to blame but there's much more to this story than any of us will ever know.

    1. Agree! This child was failed by everyone around him.

    2. If he had Terry Jr. up until 2011 why doesn't he have dental records?

  16. It's very sad that the lil boy known as, Ju Ju is still considered "John Doe," knowingly he is Terry R, Jr. R.I.P. Like many others, hundreds if not a thousand, when I was searching for Ju Ju, it didn't matter to me that I had recently been discharged from the hospital for blood pressure related issues. It' was steaming hot, and it did't matter to me since the only thing in my nine was to find Ju Ju and find him fast due to the weather conditions it was critical. The snakes in the hills, or some suspicious ppl we encountered in a local Menifee parks at 3:00 am, none of it mattered to me just as long as I knew we were out there for the right reasons, that was to find missing Ju Ju. So please don't tell us that we can't attend a service for Ju Ju. It's our way of saying good bye, and God bless.

  17. There is so much to this story but all anyone has right now. Is speculation. I wouldnt jump to conclusions until all if the facts are out there

  18. mom should be in jail

    1. she should , what about if all this time is not even the half brothers fault , what if is the moms fault and he is just covering for the mom, everything sounds so fishy

  19. Is the service tomorrow open to public? Ive heard yes and no and I would like to go show my respects for the little boy.

  20. I live here have a ten year old and a sixteen year old live a mile away and pray this father gets his peace I agree the mother is involved and hope justice is do and this town is heart broken and saw his post all over and took one look and new the autism story was a lie a handsome young man may you rest in peace

  21. Did his body ever get a proper burial?



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