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Liberty father mourning after his child found dead in Vegas

September 7, 2018

An angry Liberty father is mourning the death of his 3-year-old son who was found dead after he went missing near Las Vegas on Sunday, allegedly while with his biological mother at a park.

Daniel Theriot was found Monday by authorities in a remote area near Lake Mead after an extensive search. Las Vegas prosecutors Wednesday charged his mother, 20-year-old Cassie Smith, and her 40-year-old boyfriend, Joshua Oxford, with first-degree murder in connection with Daniel’s death.

“There are no words (to describe) how angry I am and how I feel,” said James Theriot, 26, Smith’s ex-boyfriend and Daniel’s father.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department patrol officers were dispatched to Sunset Park at 2601 E. Sunset Ave. to investigate a report of a missing child.

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The officers spoke to Smith, who told them she had taken the child to the park to feed the ducks. Smith alleges she took a phone call and turned her back to the child. The child was gone when she returned.

A police press release said officers immediately established a command post in the area and requested additional resources to assist with the search. Red Rock Search and Rescue, Child Protective Services, Clark County Park Police, National Park Services, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Child Abuse Rapid Deployment Team all assisted.

While officers were searching the immediate area, another team of officers went to check the apartment where the child lived.

When they arrived, they found Oxford watching Smith’s other son. CPS took Smith’s other son into custody and took him to an area hospital, where medical staff discovered signs of physical abuse.

During their investigation, detectives located the 3-year-old in a remote area near Lake Mead.

Initially, Oxford and Smith were transported to the Clark County Detention Center and charged with one count of child abuse or neglect.

On Wednesday, following the autopsy, prosecutors added first-degree murder charges to both Smith and Oxford in the death of Daniel.

Theriot, the boy’s biological father from Liberty, was in disbelief.

He received a phone call at 11:30 p.m. Sunday from an FBI agent informing him his son was missing. He was notified Monday morning that the body had been found.

Theriot said his ex-girlfriend was living in Spring with the two boys and going to school to become a certified nurse assistant until a couple of months ago.

Allegedly, she met Oxford and wanted to move to the West Coast to be with him. Theriot said the couple found it too expensive to live in California so they moved in with his mom at her home in Las Vegas.

Once in Vegas, Theriot thought things might be better for the two boys. Instead, he received a series of texts from her warning that Daniel had been acting up.

One of the texts from Smith read: “Daniel is getting worse and worse by the day, he wont listen to either of us. We cant take it anymore. I lost it on him yesterday and josh did today, we cant do this anymore.”

He had planned to visit near his birthday Sept. 20th.

On Labor Day Theriot was awakened by a call from the FBI informing him that his son had been found dead.

“There are no words (to describe) how angry I am and how I feel,” he said.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com

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