The older brother of an autistic Menifee boy who went missing will be formally charged with his brother's murder Monday, Riverside County prosecutors said.
The 16-year-old brother of Terry Smith Jr., 11, was arrested after his brother's remains were found in a shallow grave near the family’s home.
The brother is due in juvenile court for a detention hearing Monday. Prosecutors will ask a judge to consider charging the brother as an adult at a future court date, prosecutors said.
Terry's mother reported him missing the morning of July 7, prompting a four-day search that drew 1,000 volunteers and law enforcement personnel and spanned more than 55 miles. It ended early July 10 when volunteer Pam Ragland and her children found a body in the shallow grave near the boy's home.
Authorities have said the 16-year-old half brother, whom The Times is not identifying because he is a minor, was the last to see Terry. Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Alberto Martinez said the teen told his mother he went for a walk to a nearby market on the evening of July 6, found his younger brother was following him and told him to go back home.
Some family members expressed disbelief at the developing news.
"The boys didn't even disagree," said Paula Smith, Terry's aunt. "Other than the normal 'leave me alone,' the normal kid stuff, there was no violence ever. It wasn't allowed over there, so I don't understand this at all."
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