Several questions remain about the tragedy, but the facts which have been released are disturbing. Terry’s 16-year-old brother has been arrested and is expected to be charged with his murder.
Riverside County Sheriff, Captain John Hill, refused to release the name of the suspect, or his relationship to the victim.
Terry’s body was found about 75 feet from his home. The body sheriffs discovered was wearing the same clothing described by the family. The cause of his death has not been released pending an autopsy.
The family was interviewed in their home by authorities. Present were the mother, Shawna Smith, her partner, and a 16-year-old stepbrother. Although sheriffs said that after the interviews ‘a 16-year-old brother was arrested,’ they refused to define his relationship to Terry.
Shawna Smith and her partner left the home about 7:30 Saturday evening to play pool with some friends. She left Terry with his older stepbrother. When she arrived home about 1:00 Sunday morning, she believed the boys were asleep.
Sunday morning, around 10:30, she went into his room to give Terry medicine, and discovered he was missing.
By late Sunday morning, the search had spread to 55 square miles. Slowly, the perimeter was closed. Terry’s body was found about 12:55 on Sunday morning.
“We will find a way to remember him in our hearts,” said Jenny Smith, who was one of his fourth-grade teachers.
Dallal Harb, is the owner of the Menifee market. She allowed her store to be used as the command post for the search. She says she used to take Terry home occasionally.
“I just don’t want to believe it,” she said. “I see what’s going on. But I just don’t want to believe it.”
Police have not divulged what the information was that caused them to believe that Terry’s 16-year-old stepbrother was responsible for his death. And the cause of death is yet to be defined.
Whatever the events were last Saturday evening or Sunday morning, only Terry and his murderer know why he ended up in a shallow grave near his home.
Alfred James reporting