LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Toward the end of the summer, a Las Vegas mother reported her 3-year-old son missing.
The report launched a frantic search around Sunset Park for the missing toddler, but as the day unfolded, so did the mother’s story.
Police later recovered the Daniel Theriot’s body from a remote area near Lake Mead and charged his mother, Cassie Smith, and her boyfriend, Joshua Oxford, with his murder.
On Monday, the two sat on opposite benches inside a courtroom.
Smith’s friend Jennifer Seymour had been in contact with the accused mother since her arrest. She said the night before he was killed, Smith planned to leave Oxford.
“She never expected any of this to happen,” Seymour said. “Cassie was scared and she tried to leave. She packed the boys clothes and bags, everything was packed.”
But Smith didn’t leave, and never reported Oxford to police.
“I wish she would have just told them,” Seymour said. “If you were scared or afraid that Brandon was going to get hurt, you should just tell the cops.”
Brandon is Smith’s other son who also lived with her and Oxford.
“She feels horrible,” Seymour said. “She cries every time we talk.”
Seymour said she hasn’t been able to talk specifics about the case over the phone with her friend, but she believes Oxford killed the boy.
On Monday, a judge pushed back the preliminary hearing in the murder case because attorneys are still waiting for an autopsy report.
“She said she has a feeling she’ll be there for a while,” Seymour said.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office did an autopsy on Daniel’s body, however a specialized exam is still pending. A neuropathologist from Stanford University is conducting a test and that takes time.
On May 16, the Clark County coroner determined Theriot died due to blunt force trauma. His manner of death was homicide, the coroner said.
“I want nothing more than for Daniel to have justice,” Seymour said. “He was an innocent 3-year-old who did not deserve this.”
The Clark County DA’s office did not have comment on the case.
The Special Defender’s office has not responded to our request for comment.