Search for Body of Missing Boy Ends Without Success

From United Press International

A fruitless three-day search for the remains of an epileptic boy believed to have been murdered seven years ago and buried in a backyard ended Saturday, detectives said.

"We had no success," Detective Jim Dieli said. "We uncovered a lot of bones, none of which appear to be human, but they are being examined by the coroner's office."

At least 20 Police Academy recruits, eight detectives, two city workers and two representatives of the coroner's office began digging Thursday in the yard of Theodric Smith, 26, in the 400 block of East 93rd Street.

Smith is a suspect in the Christmas Eve disappearance of Robert Thompson, who was 14 years old at the time.

Detectives, using tractors from the city, spent about 25 hours digging six feet into the ground throughout the lot on 93rd Street, Dieli said.

"There were a lot of man hours spent in that excavation and search," Dieli said, noting that two police cars were assigned to secure the area during night hours.

"It was a costly venture, to say the least, and it was a disappointing venture, to say the least," the detective said.

He said the investigation would be returned to the missing persons bureau, which would follow up any new leads on the case.

Investigators were tipped that the body might be in the yard by the 12-year-old brother of the victim, Dieli said.

Smith is facing trial in Compton Superior Court on charges of attempting to murder the brother, who also was allegedly sodomized by Smith, Dieli said.

In the attack, Smith threatened to kill the boy "like he did his brother seven years ago," Dieli said. "Then he said where he buried (Thompson). Based on the statements (from the boy), we obtained a warrant to search the suspect's yard."

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