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LAS VEGAS, NV – A couple have been arrested after the woman’s missing 3-year-old was found murdered at Lake Mead.

On Sunday morning, 20-year-old Cassie Smith called 911 to report her son, 3-year-old Daniel Theriot, was missing.

She said she had taken her son to Sunset Park to feed the ducks, but when she took her eyes off of him to use her phone he had seemingly disappeared.

Police immediately began a huge search effort that included shutting down the park and checking cars as they left. But they also began doubting Smith’s version of events when they received info from other park-goers.

No one at the park remembered seeing Smith and her son at the park that morning, nor did anyone remember seeing Smith searching for him at the park.

“We started doubting if the three-year-old was ever at the park,” said homicide detective Ray Spencer. “We suspected some foul play was involved.”

Early Monday morning investigators would have their suspicions confirmed when Daniel’s body was found near Lake Mead National Recreation Area. According to police, he’d had been dumped there up to 12 hours before Smith reporting him missing.

Smith and her 40-year-old boyfriend, Josh Oxford, were subsequently arrested and charged with child abuse in relation to Daniel’s 2-year-old brother. He was removed from the home and taken to a hospital.

Police say the couple is expected to be charged with the murder of Daniel pending the boy’s autopsy.

“We do have an idea of how the child was killed. I will tell you that it is absolutely disturbing,” Spencer said.

According to one of Smith’s family members, Smith was never abusive towards her boys — just neglectful.

“Every time I would come to town to visit my mom, I would just have to deep clean that house and tell her, ‘Hey, you need to clean the boys after they eat. You have roaches in this house, they can’t live like this.’ There’s roaches living in their beds, there’s roaches in her bed. It was absolute filth and disgusting,” she said.

She went on to add that signs of physical abuse towards her children did not show up until after Oxford showed up — specifically bruising on the children and the boys acting out. After Smith and Oxford moved to Las Vegas they cut off all contact with Smith’s family.

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