LOS ANGELES (AP) — A detective in the search for a missing Southern California boy that became a murder investigation says a woman who called saying she was having visions led authorities to the boy's body.
Pam Ragland had given accounts to media outlets of her central role in finding the body of 11-year-old Terry Smith Jr., and Riverside County Sheriff's Detective John Powers told KFI-AM radio on Thursday that she "absolutely is" telling the truth.
"The whole thing is extremely bizarre," Powers said. "I've never experienced anything like this in my life."
Sheriff's spokesman Albert Martinez also confirmed Ragland's involvement for The Associated Press.
Ragland, who said she is not a psychic but believes people can finely hone their intuition, told the Los Angeles Times she had a vision of a boy lying on his side in the dirt near a tree.
Investigators, who had been searching for Terry along with hundreds of volunteers since Saturday, took a call on a tip line from Ragland and invited her to help.
An off-duty firefighter and fellow volunteer drove Ragland around the area of Terry's family property Tuesday night as she looked for images she had pictured. She told him to stop when she saw a certain tree.
"I smelled something, and it smelled like something dead," Ragland told the Times.
She said one of her children found a lump, thinking it was a dead animal, but Ragland told her "That is not an animal. That's a head."
Powers said the property had been thoroughly searched and he had previously searched the exact spot himself.
A 16-year-old member of Terry's family was arrested on suspicion of murder. Smith's body has not been officially identified by the coroner, but police said it fits Smith's description.
"I believe we all have abilities and we learn not to use them," Ragland said. "I think that's what happened I learned to use mine again."
Powers said there was nothing to indicate there is anything suspicious about Ragland's role.
Everyone involved "has just been completely blown away by this," Powers said. "If it wasn't true it would be unbelievable."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.