Terry had been missing from his Menifee home since Saturday, and hundreds of volunteers have helped search for him. Volunteers were told to stop searching Tuesday night, because they were getting stranded in the desert and causing problems, hours after local officials pledged to continue searching for the boy.
The boy was reported missing Sunday morning in the Riverside County community about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Terry was last seen Saturday night, reportedly following his half brother, who told the boy to go home, the Desert Sun newspaper said. The boy’s mother, Shawna Smith, said she didn’t realize he was missing until the next day.
Searches of the area with a bloodhound, horses and a helicopter were unsuccessful. Hundreds of volunteers also joined the effort but days of covering miles of desert in 100-degree temperatures turned up nothing.
A posting on a Facebook page devoted to the search said Terry’s family worried he might have wandered off without food, water or special medication.
However, “foul play has never been ruled out” by investigators, Martinez said.