- (Photo: ABC News Screen Shot)
Human remains have been found at the home of a missing boy from Menifee, California. Police have not said whether they are the remains of 11-year-old Terry Dewayne Smith, Jr. or not.
Authorities are currently investigating the scene and running tests to see whether the remains are those of the Smith, who went missing on Saturday night. Police have called off the search, and volunteers and members of Menifee anxiously await any news about the young boy.
"He (Smith) can't speak for himself anymore. Menifee needs peace of mind now. Tell us the truth," volunteer Gloria Castillo told the Associated Press.
Police arrested Smith's 16-year-old half-brother on suspicion of murder; Skylor Atalano was the last to see Smith alive on Saturday. He reportedly walked to a friend's home, noticed that his younger brother was following him, and sent him back home. That was the last anyone saw of Smith.
A body fitting the description of Smith was found in "a shallow grave containing partially exposed human remains," Capt. John Hill told the Desert Sun.
Smith's father, Terry Dewayne Smith Sr., said that he had come to terms with his son's death.
"They told me they had found a shallow grave with the remains of a young man in it," he said in a phone interview with Menifee 24/7. "I asked if it was Terry and they said they believe so, but it's not written in stone yet. Then they asked me for any DNA or dental work for Terry. I have come to the realization that it's Terry," he said.
Over 1,000 people joined the search for Smith, who was autistic. Local companies donated food and drinks to help keep volunteers on-the-scene and searching around-the-clock. The entire Menifee community came together to support one another and look for Smith.
"Your effort was not in vain," a pastor from the Revival Church in Menifee said at a vigil held in Smith's memory, "if it was done in love. If we are God's creation, any of us who show care and compassion for another pleases God. I'm honored and humbled to see the response of this community."