Missing Boy With Autism: Terry Smith Prompts Desperate Search
Hundreds of people are desperately searching for a missing boy with autism. Eleven-year-old Terry Dewayne Smith was last seen 7:30 p.m. Saturday night in Menifee, California. He goes by the name "Juju." His mother reported him missing Sunday morning when she went to his bedroom to give him his medication and found his room empty. At this point, authorities believe Terry wandered from his home and wasn't abducted. But of course, no one knows for certain. Regardless, he could be alone, wandering without food, water, or medication in hot, Southern California summer temperatures.
Terry was last seen wearing blue basketball shorts. He is believed to be 4 feet, 7 inches, and about 76 pounds, with sandy brown/blond hair and blue eyes. His mother, Shauna Smith, describes him as "approachable, somewhat." She says he is sensitive to water, especially if it touches the top of his head. He will refuse to enter a home, boat, or parking area. He climbs rocks, but not trees or fences. He knows his phone number and is usually in touch with his mother if he's away from her.
Today, hundreds of volunteers and emergency workers are searching for Terry Smith around Menifee, which is located about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The area is surrounded by rugged foothills. "There are a lot of rocks and areas not accessible by vehicle. There are a lot of areas where you might not see somebody unless you were right on top of them," says Lt. Charlie Wilhite of the Riverside County Sherriff's Department. Temperatures are expected to reach triple digits today.
There is a Find Terry Smith Facebook page where you can find more information, including how to help volunteer in the search. If you think you have seen Terry, or might know where he is, please contact the sherriff's Perris station at (951) 210-1000 or sherriff's dispatch at (951) 776-1099.
Our hearts go out to Terry Smith's family. We hope he's found alive and well -- very, very soon.