The 16-year-old stepbrother of the 11-year-old autistic boy who disappeared from his Menifee, California home over the weekend was arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder, authorities said during a news conference on Wednesday.

Authorities had previously revealed that they had found remains in Terry Smith's home, but initially said they were still investigating if they were human or linked to the case. During the public statement, officers confirmed that they found the body of a boy who fits the description of Smith in a "shallow grave" at the house.

So unbelievably sad...

Read more ¿Qué más?: 11-year-old Menifee autistic boy still missing as community resumes desperate search

Investigators reportedly found the remains after responding to an anonymous tip early Wednesday and were still working to positively identify the body as Smith's as of this morning.

Though it's unclear what might have caused the teen (who remains unidentified) to allegedly carry out the heinous act, police say they believe it was a result of "a domestic issue" at the house. Smith's mother and several more of his family members were also taken in for questioning, but eventually released.  

The discovery of the body marks a tragic end to days of an intensive search carried out by hundreds of officers and volunteers, who scoured the neighborhood in desert-like temperatures. Now, this latest news has left much of the community shocked and devastated.

And I can't help but feel the same way. This is one of those cases that's upsetting beyond words. An innocent young boy's life taken at the hands of a cruel monster—one of his own family members, no less! It's utterly heartbreaking, especially when so many people, myself included, were following the search and holding out hope that he would somehow be safe and sound. All we can do now is hope that the police will find out what really happened and that the person who committed this horrific crime will be aptly punished.  

 Image via Riverside County Sheriff's Departmenr

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About the author

Michelle Regalado is a Staff Writer at MamásLatinas. She loves reading, travel, pop culture, and writing about anything and everything.

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