Missing At-Risk Boy's Mother: "He's Alive, I Know He Is"

A search for the boy included a helicopter, bloodhounds and volunteers

By Brandon Lowrey and Angie Crouch
|  Thursday, Jul 11, 2013  |  Updated 11:22 AM PDT
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Hundreds of volunteers were desperately searching in triple-digit temperatures for a boy with autism who went missing over the weekend. Beverly White reports from Menifee for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

Hundreds of volunteers were desperately searching in triple-digit temperatures for a boy with autism who went missing over the weekend. Beverly White reports from Menifee for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

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Night Search for Missing Boy

Dozens of people went searching in Menifee Monday night, hoping to find an boy with autism, missing since Saturday. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 8 2013.

Authorities Search for Missing Autistic Boy in Menifee

An 11-year-old boy went missing from his Menifee home on Saturday night or Sunday morning, and authorities have been searching the area with bloodhounds, but had not found him as of Sunday night. John Cadiz Klemack reports from Menifee on NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2013.
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A massive search for an at-risk 11-year-old Menifee boy with autism continued Wednesday morning after he went missing over the weekend.

Updated Article: Deputies Return to Family's Home

The missing boy, Terry Dewayne Smith, was described as 4 feet, 8 inches tall, 76 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. He was last seen at his home in the 33000 block of Helen Lane (map) wearing blue basketball shorts. Sheriff's vehicles are at the home early Wednesday.

Some 700 volunteer searchers, including family and friends, gathered Tuesday, holding hands and praying. They were searching a largely rural 55-square-mile area in 100-degree heat.

"He's alive, I know he is," said his mother, Shawna Smith. "Mommys' hearts don't lie. ... He's still here -- he's somewhere; we just need to find him."

Menifee Police Chief John Hill said officers had spoken to registered sex offenders in the area about the case, seeking information about Terry's possible location.

"There are no leads at this point in time," Hill said.

Smith said her son is sensitive to water and becomes frightened if water comes into contact with the top of his head.

"He is approachable, somewhat," Smith said.

Search officials advised anyone who sees Terry not to approach him, but to call 911 and keep him in eyesight.

A Facebook page -- Find Terry Smith -- has been set up to support the volunteer search effort. A new search crew was set to head out at 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the page.

At about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, his mother went out to play pool with some friends and left Terry with his older stepbrother. The pair was playing video games.

When their mother checked in on them at about 1 a.m., she thought they were asleep.

In the morning, Shawna Smith discovered Terry was missing when she went into the bedroom to give him his medication. She reported him missing at 10:30 Sunday morning.

Terry's brother said he last saw the boy walking on Helen Lane Saturday night near the family home.

Authorities used a helicopter, bloodhounds and volunteers to search the area, but had not found him by Tuesday. Teams of deputies and volunteers continued the search.

Temperatures climbed into the triple-digits Monday in the Menifee area. Tuesday's forecast called for a high of 102 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's going to be in the hundred-degree range today, and we need to get the boy found," said Lt. Charlie Wilhite, of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. "Those are very rugged foothills up there. There are a lot of rocks and areas not accesible by vehicle. There are a lot of areas where you might not see somebody unless you were right on top of them."

Anyone with information can contact authorities in Menifee at (951) 210-1000 or the Riverside County Sheriff's Department dispatch line at (951) 776-1099.


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