Terry Dewayne Smith is the father of Terry Smith Jr., who went missing on Saturday July 6. The boy’s remains were found buried in a shallow grave beside a tree close to the backyard of his home in Menifee, California.
Skylor Atilano, 16, Terry Smith’s half-brother, has been arrested in relation to the 11-year-old’s death.
Here’s what you need to know about the father of the slain boy and what he thinks of the suspected half-brother…
1. Terry Smith Sr. Knew Something Bad Happened When His Son’s Mother Called Him
Terry Jr. had been living with his mother, Shawna Smith, in Southern California for two years when he called his father, a 62-year-old retired truck driver, asking to come home, reports The Washington Post.
Later, Terry Sr. got a call from the boy’s mother. He thought she was calling about a plane ticket, but soon realized that something was wrong:
“She asked me if I was in California and I said, ‘No, I’m still in West Virginia. Why?’ She said, “Cause your son’s missing,’” Terry Sr. recalled. “And just the way she talked and the way she expressed it and all that, I knew something bad happened.”
2. His Son Lived With Him Until 2011
Terry Jr. lived with his father in Charleston, West Virginia, until he moved in with his mother in 2011.
“I taught him how to walk,” Terry Sr. said. “I helped him when he was on the baseball team here.”
3. He Said Terry Jr. Feared His Half Brother
Terry Sr. told NBC4 that his son feared his half brother, Skylor, who reportedly had anger issues, and that the news of Skylor’s arrest didn’t come as a surprise. In fact, he said that his son told him he wanted to come home because he didn’t feel comfortable with his brother.
“That was one of the last things I heard my son tell me,” Terry Sr. said, “that ‘I want to move back because my brother and sister there treat me like a brother and not like a step.'”
4. He Says His Son Was Not Autistic
Contrary to what the boy’s mother told the press, Terry Sr. said his son was not autistic.
“Nope, nope, nope,” he said. “In fact, when everyone in West Virginia heard that, they all flipped because they know better. He was a hyper little boy, he might have had ADHD.”
5. He Describes His Son as a Normal Boy
“He was a very bright, well-adjusted child, at least he was when he left here,” he said. “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.”