MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — A missing boy’s 16-year-old half-brother was arrested Wednesday in connection to the discovery of a body near the child’s Menifee home.
The official search for 11-year-old Terry Smith, who was last seen Saturday night, was suspended around 1:30 a.m. when a volunteer search group came across possible human remains.
“We were hoping it wasn’t him, that it was a mistake,” a volunteer in the group said.
Images from Sky2 showed investigators removing a body from a shallow grave approximately 75 feet from the family’s home in the 33000 block of Helen Lane just before noon.
While authorities are yet to confirm the identity of the body, KNX’s 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports the body is of a male juvenile.
The unidentified person appeared to be a male wearing blue shorts, which Smith was last seen wearing.
Smith, who was being watched by his half-brother while his mom was out Saturday evening, started following the older boy to a nearby market when the teen told him to go home around 7:30 p.m., according to Sgt. Lisa McConnell.
“When the brother went home he believed he had seen him in the room,” Martinez said. “There was some light in the room, and he believed the brother was in the room.”
It wasn’t until around 10:30 a.m. Sunday that the boy’s mother realized her son was missing from the family home.
“When they woke up in the morning, the mother walked into the room and noticed he was missing,” Martinez said.
Police have said they interviewed Smith’s mother and they said she is not a suspect.
A massive search effort, including 1,000 volunteers and authorities, was organized Sunday as a result.
Wednesday evening hundreds gathered in a vigil held in the boy’s memory.
KCAL9’s Tom Wait said the ceremony was attended by people trying to get closure and understanding.
Just a few dozen yards from the vigil, Smith’s home — what police called the scene of the crime.
No one was home when Wait knocked on the door. Outside the home, there were many people holding candles and saying prayers.
A young girl fought back tears as she said, “Just to know that someone could be so selfish and take a life, it makes me very upset.”
The murder suspect had told Wait that he last saw his sibling alive as he tried to follow him out of the house Saturday evening.
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