The search for a missing autistic boy continued on Tuesday after the 11-year-old went missing on Saturday, authorities said. Terry Dewayne Smith, nicknamed “Juju,” was last seen playing video games at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at his home in Menifee, Calif., NBC Los Angeles reports.
Police were called to the home at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, after his mother, Shauna Smith, went to Terry’s room to give him medication and he wasn’t there. A search ensued, conducted by authorities and volunteers, and has been ongoing since then in the Southern California city and local area.
"He is approachable, somewhat," Smith said, adding he is sensitive to water and becomes frightened if water touches the top of his head. On a Facebook page dedicated to finding Terry, Smith noted that her son climbs rocks, but not trees or fences. He won’t enter a home, boat or parking area. He likes animals and will respond to his name.
Authorities believe the boy was not taken but rather wandered from his home.
"Right now, all we have is that he probably wandered off,” Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Albert Martinez told Patch on July 7. "[Investigators] did process the house yesterday and they didn't find any clues as far as any type of foul play, but they're not ruling anything out."
Martinez said that no one has heard from the boy, who normally calls home when he leaves.
"Usually if he does leave, he is in contact with his mom, which makes it awkward in this situation because he hasn’t contacted Mom yet. He knows his telephone number," Martinez said.
About 200 citizen volunteers have taken part in the search for Terry, setting up a command post and a Facebook page to share information about the missing boy, described as 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 76 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue basketball shorts, officials said.
Tuesday’s forecast in the area calls for a high of 102 degrees, adding to the challenges involved in the search.
"It's going to be in the hundred-degree range today, and we need to get the boy found," Lt. Charlie Wilhite, of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, said. "Those are very rugged foothills up there. 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."
Originally from Montreal, Zoë Mintz joined IBTimes in March 2013. A graduate from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, her writing has...
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