Human remains sought at home of missing California boy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 10 July 2013 13:07

MENIFEE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities in Southern California searched for possible human remains Wednesday at the home of an 11-year-old autistic boy who disappeared over the weekend, but volunteers pledged to continue hunting for him in the scorching desert.

The home on Helen Lane in Menifee was being treated as a crime scene and investigators were trying to determine whether human remains were on the property, Menifee Mayor Scott Mann said in an email.

Riverside County sheriff's detectives were led to the home shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday based on evidence indicating there might be a body there, Deputy Albert Martinez told the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( ).

Details were not released, but the Sheriff's Department suspended its search for Terry Dewayne Smith Jr.

"Our searchers are on standby. We are waiting to see what investigators find on the property," Martinez told KNX-AM radio.

Volunteers, though, planned to continue searching the surrounding semirural area for the boy who was last seen on Saturday night.

"Until we have absolute confirmation from the sheriff directly, we will continue to do our job, which is to search," said a posting on a Facebook page where the volunteer search was organized.

About 1,000 people, including sheriff's deputies on horseback, emergency workers and volunteers, hunted for him on Tuesday.

Authorities were concerned that he wandered away without food, water or his medication in an area 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles where temperatures have topped 100 degrees.

The 4-foot-8 boy with sandy brown hair and brown eyes was last seen wearing blue basketball shorts. Local children were asked to not wear blue, to help avoid confusion.

Terry was last seen when he followed his 16-year-old half-brother, who told the boy to go home, the Desert Sun reported. The boy's mother said she didn't realize he was missing until the next day.

Terry's mother shared details of the boy's habits on the searchers' Facebook page. Without his medication, Terry may be "over sensitive and may be walking on his tiptoes," the page said.

Searchers were also instructed to call him by his nickname "Juju" because hearing his full name called out might cause him to believe he's in trouble and flee.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.