MENIFEE (CBSLA.com) — The father of an 11-year-old Riverside County boy who went missing over the weekend told KCAL9 Wednesday he has always doubted the circumstances surrounding Terry Smith’s disappearance.
Terry Dewayne Smith Sr. spoke to KCAL9’s Tom Wait by phone shortly after Sheriff’s investigators recovered a body from a shallow grave about 75 feet from the boy’s home in Menifee.
Smith Sr. — who lives in West Virginia — also told Wait his son didn’t have autism. He said anyone who knows his son would agree. “They’ll all tell you he wasn’t autistic. He might be a little hyper. He was a typical boy. Ah, was fun-loving.”
Authorities descended on the area after volunteers found a suspicious section of brush on the property and called in the tip, according to Wait. The body appeared to have blue shorts, similar to what Smith was reported to have been wearing when he went missing Saturday night.
Smith’s father told Wait he had been skeptical about the disappearance of his son from the beginning.
“I thought there was something fishy about the whole story to begin with. Things didn’t add up,” Smith said.
Smith – who said he had last spoken with his son a couple of months ago – added his suspicions were raised after the boy’s mother called up Smith to find out whether he was in California before he was told his son was missing.
On Wednesday evening, Smith spoke to KCAL9’s Serene Branson and said, “I sent out DNA and they found him in a shallow grave and it was him.”
Police told him they were calling the alleged murder a case of domestic violence. They told me “[the half-brother] hit him in the head with a rock.”
Smith said his son planned on visiting him in West Virginia this summer. “The last words he told me was that he wanted to come home and be with his brother and sister here because they treated him like their little brother and not the way he was being treated out there.”
The distraught Smith told Branson his son’s half-brother had violent tendencies and that his ex-wife, Shawna, was always covering up for him.
“Shawna created the mess that [name withheld] is in. Definitely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt. She said Terry and [name withheld] got into it, so I knew there was more to this story than what Shawna and them were putting out there.”
He also accuses his ex-wife of trying to get more money from the state with a false diagnosis of autism.
“I think she was trying to up the ante. I’m not trying to be hateful or mean or nasty to Shawna,” he told Branson, “but that is my true belief and I don’t care who knows it.”
Smith says he will come to California to retrieve his son’s remains and then take him back to West Virginia for cremation.