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Remains Confirmed as Terry Smith Jr.'s

First reported missing July 7, 11-year-old Terry "JuJu" Smith Jr. of Menifee was a victim of homicide, authorities confirmed Thursday.

Terry Smith Jr. (Photo courtesy of Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
Terry Smith Jr. (Photo courtesy of Riverside County Sheriff's Department)
The human remains discovered July 10 behind the home of a missing Menifee boy have been confirmed as his, authorities said Thursday.

Eleven-year-old Terry "JuJu" Smith Jr. was a victim of homicide, according to a Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office report.

Just after midnight July 10, a male juvenile's remains—now confirmed as his—had been found partially exposed from a shallow grave near a tree in the backyard of the home in the 3300 block of Helen Lane in Menifee where Terry lived with his mother, her partner, his half sister and half brother.

Terry was first reported missing the morning of July 7 by his mother.

The discovery of the remains brought a dramatic halt to a nearly four-day law enforcement search for the boy that was complemented by the efforts of several hundred citizen volunteers.

Terry's 16-year-old half brother, Skylor Atilano, was charged with murder shortly after the remains were discovered. He is being held at Southwest Juvenile Hall near Murrieta, awaiting a September court appearance.

The positive identification of Terry's remains was delayed because they were those of a juvenile, sheriff-coroner's Sgt. Brent Sechrest previously told Patch. Identifying records such as fingerprints are not available on minors, unless there is a criminal record, he explained.

The coroner's office had to await dental records from Terry's father, Terry Smith Sr., a West Virginia resident who purportedly had legal custody of the boy. The father previously told Patch he had also sent his DNA to help identify the boy.

Smith Sr. arrived in Southern California last week, and held a public memorial service to thank the volunteers who tirelessly searched for his son.

However, a spokesperson for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department told The Press-Enterprise that is was a DNA swab collected from the boy's mother that was used to positively identify the remains.

Sgt. Lisa McConnell told the newspaper that the state Department of Justice expedited the testing due to the nature of the case.
Laura August 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Not low information, more like uneducated. And it shows. Not sure why this has anything to do with religion, but I have a feeling you will tell me. Calm down, Carl. Other's are allowed their opinion without being chased by the opinion police.
Carl Petersen III August 02, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Laura August 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM "Not low information, more like uneducated. And it shows." ____________________________________________________ College graduates backed Obama over Romney 50% to 48%, so there goes your theory. You still haven't explained what politics has to do with this story.
Carl Petersen III August 02, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Laura August 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM "Not sure why this has anything to do with religion," ____________________________________________________ You did not recognize my quote?
Carl Petersen III August 02, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Laura August 02, 2013 at 02:59 PM "Calm down, Carl. Other's are allowed their opinion without being chased by the opinion police." ____________________________________________________ Laura August 02, 2013 at 11:47 AM "Bushy and Rosita: You are living proof of how Obama got elected president.........twice." ____________________________________________________ Who exactly is the opinion police?
Steve Newman August 03, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Can't believe it took so long to ID the body- what an embarrassment if it was not him after all the ceremonies and vigils.

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