MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — The search for a missing 11-year-old boy with autism entered its third day Tuesday, officials said.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department searched for Terry Dewanye Smith overnight Monday, but were unable to locate the boy.
Smith, who was being watched by his half-brother while his mom was out Saturday night, started following him to a nearby market when his stepbrother told him to go home. He was last seen at 7:30 p.m., according to Riverside County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa McConnell.
“When the brother went home he believed he had seen him in the room,” Sheriff’s Deputy Albert 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 in the 33000 block of Helen Lane.
“When they woke up in the morning the mother walked into the room and noticed he was missing,” Martinez said.
Temperatures soared past 100 degrees Monday as officials intensified their search for the boy with helicopters and bloodhounds. Similar measures were taken Tuesday.
“At this point, he’s probably dehydrated, scared, not taking his medication and may not respond when called,” volunteer Julie Rogoff said.
Smith’s aunt, Tracy Armato, said searchers should “be gentle. We don’t know if he’ll be scared of all the searchers.”
A Facebook page has also been established to help in the search.
“I really want to thank all the residents who have come out and donate to the search to find my son. I just want my baby home,” Smith’s mother, Shawna, said online.
Sheriff’s officials say Smith responds to his nickname “Juju.” He is 4 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 76 pounds and has sandy blonde hair and brown eyes.
Investigators have asked children in the Menifee and surrounding areas to not wear blue in hopes it would be easier to spot Smith who was last seen wearing blue basketball shorts with no shirt or shoes.
Deputies do not suspect foul play. They urge anyone who has seen Smith or knows about his whereabouts to call the Sheriff’s Perris station at (951)210-1000.