MENIFEE ( —  New questions have emerged in the murder of Terry Dewayne Smith, an 11-year-old Menifee boy.

Circumstances behind the boy’s death remain unclear. It is also unknown why the boy’s body — found in a shallow grave less than 100 feet from his mother’s house — was not discovered during initial searches over several days.

Officials do not believe the body was placed in the shallow grave after the searches began. “We have no information to indicate that that occurred. Right from the very beginning, the family has cooperated and the property had been searched,” said Sgt. Lisa McConnell of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

The boy’s mother’s partner, Denise, was tight-lipped when she spoke to reporters.

“We are just asking for a little time to grieve,” she said. “Everybody who has known Terry, if they are lucky, for five minutes. We have known him for 11 years and we have 11 years of grieving to do.”

Police have not officially stated a cause of death.

The boy’s father, Terry Dewayne Smith Sr., who lives in West Virginia, told reporters that the police have told him Terry died after being hit on the head with a rock.

Police arrested Smith’s 16-year-old half brother for murder.

Meanwhile, the murdered boy’s father on Thursday talked about a dangerous family life for his son. Smith broke down when discussing his son.

“He was a very loveable, bright…  child,” said Smith Sr, choking back tears.

He told reporters that he pleaded with the boy’s mother to let Terry live with him in West Virginia. Smith said he feared for the boy’s life.

“I told her a long time ago and begged her a long time ago, to get herself some help and to get  [the half-brother] some help,” Smith said. “It was a time bomb.”


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