Published July 12, 2013
Prosecutors in Southern California will file a murder charge against the teenage half brother in the death of an 11-year-old boy who was the subject of an intense search.
Riverside County District Attorney spokesman John Hall said Friday that the 16-year-old suspect will make a court appearance Monday in juvenile court.
The Associated Press is not identifying the suspect because of his age.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to determine if the case should be transferred to adult court.
Terry Dewayne Smith Jr.'s body was found after a four day search Wednesday in a shallow grave under a tree behind the house he shared with his mother, half brother and other family.
A woman who told authorities she'd had visions led authorities to the body, a detective in the case said Thursday.
Riverside County Sheriff's Detective John Powers told KFI-AM radio that Pam Ragland found the body matching the description of Smith.
Powers said Ragland called a tip line to say she was envisioning a location, and was invited to join the search.
Ragland and her children came to the house without knowing it was the boy's, walked on to the property and right to the partially buried body, according to the detective.
Powers said he searched the area previously without seeing it. He said the situation is "extremely bizarre" and he's "blown away."
On Thursday, the bereaved father said he had been expecting his son to fly home this summer to live with him in West Virginia after two years with his mom in Southern California.
"All I want to do is get Terry Jr. back here because that was the last thing he told me on the phone," said Smith Sr., a 62-year-old retired truck driver. "He wanted to come home."
Initial reports from the mother, relayed by law enforcement, described Terry Jr. as an autistic boy who took special medication and answered only to his nickname, "JuJu." His father, however, insisted that his son was not autistic.
The boy lived with him until 2011, when he went to live with his mother, and was a normal kid who loved video games and baseball, he said.
"He was a very bright, well-adjusted child, at least he was when he left here," said Smith Sr. "He pushed buttons and would aggravate you. But, other than that, it was just the typical way ... of a typical boy trying to get his way."
Smith Sr. also helped raise the half brother accused in the case, he said. The teen moved from West Virginia to California after his mother abruptly pulled him out of school, he said.
"I taught him how to walk. I helped him when he was on the baseball team here," he said, recalling that he called the half brother "little Spider-Man."
A phone listing for the boy's mother, Shawna Smith, was disconnected. Messages left at a second number associated with her address were not returned.
Investigators told Smith Sr. that Terry Jr. died after a hit to the head but declined to say more, citing a request from police who are still working the case.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.