Updated May 11, 2021 - 6:55 pm
Las Vegas police announced Tuesday that the boyfriend of the mother of a missing 2-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with murder.
Terrell Rhodes was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Tuesday afternoon, six days after the toddler, Amari Nicholson, was reported missing. The 27-year-old will face additional charges stemming from an altercation as he was taken into police custody, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Richard Meyers said during a 5 p.m. news conference.
During the altercation, Meyers said Rhodes was “briefly able to retrieve an officer’s firearm.” Meyers did not say if Rhodes fired any rounds from the weapon or whether anyone was injured during the arrest, noting only that the situation “was quickly de-escalated.”
Amari vanished last Wednesday around 6 a.m. at Emerald Suites, 3684 Paradise Road, near East Twain Avenue. Meyers said investigators found the circumstances of his disappearance suspicious and soon considered Rhodes the primary suspect in what is now being considered a homicide investigation.
Police did not say whether Amari’s remains had been recovered as of Tuesday.
Search parties but no Amber Alert
Hours before police announced Rhodes’ arrest, paternal family members of Amari pleaded for the public to help find the child.
“We don’t want the public to forget about Amari,” the boy’s paternal aunt, Yolanda Everett, of California said during a news conference Tuesday morning. “We want to keep his name out there. We want to keep his face out there.”
The relatives, along with representatives from the nonprofit Nevada Child Seekers, said they had been working tirelessly to generate more awareness about the boy’s disappearance, including handing out flyers in the area where Amari was reported missing.
Efforts to reach Everett after police announced Rhodes’ arrest were not successful.
Everett had said Amari was last in Rhodes’ care at the apartment that Rhodes shared with the boy’s mother, Tayler Nicholson, who was out of state in Colorado. Rhodes told police that a woman showed up at the apartment claiming to be a paternal relative of the boy’s and said she was there to pick him up.
But Everett and another paternal aunt, D’Errica Perryman, of Las Vegas, said Tuesday morning that they were certain no one from their side of the family picked up the child.
Margarita Edwards, executive director of Nevada Child Seekers, said an Amber Alert was not issued for Amari after he was reported missing because the case did not meet the requirements for such an alert in Nevada, including a vehicle description.
“There is no vehicle description,” Edwards said early Tuesday, ahead of Rhodes’ arrest. “We also don’t have a suspect description.”
Edwards noted that an endangered child alert had been activated following Amari’s disappearance. Efforts to reach Edwards on Tuesday evening were not successful.
Boyfriend had criminal history
Amari’s father, Jrygio Hayes of the Reno area, was in Las Vegas over the weekend to help search for his son, according to relatives. The boy’s mother, who has sole custody of Amari, has not responded to requests for comment. She also was not at either news conference Tuesday. But she had pleaded for help on social media.
“Please help look and please share all posts of Amari help bring our baby home,” the mother wrote on her Facebook page late last week.
Records show Rhodes had prior convictions in District Court for felony burglary, which he pleaded guilty to in 2017, and felony robbery and battery to commit robbery later that year. He was sentenced to a minimum of two years for the robbery and battery in July 2018.
On Thursday, police submitted a request for prosecution on a charge of failure of a convicted person to properly register. The district attorney’s office had not charged Rhodes in connection with the case as of Tuesday evening.
Rhodes was expected in court for an initial appearance early Wednesday, jail records show.
Anyone with information about the case may contact Metro’s homicide unit at 702-828-3521 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.