Terry Smith case: Arrested teen was violent -
missing boy's dad
Thursday, July 11, 2013
MENIFEE, Calif. (KABC) -- In an interview with Eyewitness News, Terry Smith's dad said the 16-year-old who was arrested for murder in the disappearance of the Menifee boy was violent, and his mother knew it.
"(The mother) knew that he did get violent with his brother and sister. I begged her to get him the right kind of help," said Terry Smith Sr., who lives in West Virginia. "In fact, I begged her to get the right kind of help for herself, and it just never happened."
The teen was taken into custody on Wednesday, suspected of killing 11-year-old Terry Smith Jr. The suspect is believed to be the victim's half-brother.
News of the arrest came hours after authorities revealed they found a body matching the boy's description in a shallow grave behind the family's home. The identity of the remains has not been confirmed, but authorities said the remains are of a male juvenile that fits Smith's description.
Hundreds of people had volunteered to search for the boy, who was reportedly autistic. But Terry Smith Sr., who lives in West Virginia, said his son did not have autism.
"He was rambunctious. He was not autistic. I'll fight that until the day I die," he said. "He was a typical little boy. He loved life. And Thomas the Train set."
The school district also disagreed with the family about whether the boy was ever diagnosed with autism.
"I know it's going to be a bit of a shock to people to hear this, but no, he was not autistic," said Jenny Smith, who said she taught the boy.
According to Terry Smith Sr., the boy was born in West Virginia and moved to California with his mother about three years ago. But the boy wanted to return to West Virginia, he said.
"Terry Jr.'s going to get his last wish. And that's to be back home here," he said. "He was born back here, this is where his life started, and this is where he's going to wind up at."
Those who had searched for the boy held a vigil Wednesday night, releasing balloons to honor the 11-year-old. The developments in the case shocked and saddened many in the community.
"Shock. Hurt. Anger. Regret, for some reason, because I was talking to him," said Sue Emory, who spoke to someone believed to be the 16-year-old family member Tuesday night.
"I was telling him how we were supporting him, and loving him, and all the bad stuff that had been written about him, shame on the community for judging without knowing," she said, recalling the conversation. "And he was so gentle and kind-sounding, you would never know."
Smith's mother and her partner spent several hours at the sheriff's station in Perris for questioning. Authorities have not said what role they had in this case, but they are not facing criminal charges.
"This has been a devastating week for our family and for everybody involved in the search," the family said in a statement. "This community has been amazing and we appreciate all the support."
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Riverside County Sheriff's Department at (951) 776-1099.
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