Convicted sex offender Cary Jay Smith has moved steadily across Southern California after being released from Coalinga State Hospital on July 14—and public officials have been tracking him all the way.
Smith was last spotted at a motel in northern San Diego County on July 19, after making stops in Lake Elsinore, Corona, Orange, and Los Angeles. Local law enforcement and city officials have been using social media to keep the public informed of Smith’s whereabouts.
Smith spent nearly 21 years in mental health hospitals for fantasizing about killing and raping young boys before being released. He was institutionalized on a civil commitment that allowed for a release review every six months.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer issued a press release on July 14 warning residents of Smith’s release and calling for Gov. Gavin Newsom to require Smith to register as a sex offender. “This sexual predator has repeatedly testified under oath that he will re-offend if he is released and we should believe him,” Spitzer said.
Smith, 59, arrived in San Diego from Lake Elsinore, where he spent less than 24 hours. When Smith was spotted on July 19, Lake Elsinore Councilwoman Natasha Johnson called for a public protest. Smith left the area just hours before the protest was scheduled to begin.
“Elsinore was not and is not his home,” Johnson said in a Facebook video. “While we focused on our backyard today, we are hoping that the next community that is forced to deal with this exception can share their concerns as we and other cities have—very quickly.”
Prior to arriving in Lake Elsinore, Smith stayed briefly in the City of Corona, in Riverside County. On July 18, the Corona Police Department released a community alert on Twitter informing residents that officers were “watching Smith while he is in Corona to ensure the safety of the community.” Later that day, they alerted the public via tweet that Smith had “decided to leave” the city.
The City of Orange Police Department began tracking Smith as soon as he arrived on July 17. In a tweet, they informed the public that a “Dangerous Sex Offender Recently Released from State Mental Hospital is Residing in Orange,” adding that Smith had “checked into a Facility in the area of Tustin and Chapman.”
“We immediately set up a surveillance detail and we have consistently monitored Smith since he arrived in Orange,” the tweet stated.
Smith arrived at the adult residential facility following a one-night stay in Los Angeles after being released.
Smith refers to himself as “Mr. RTK,” standing for rape, torture and kill, and has admitted more than once his intentions to continue his pursuit of inflicting harm upon minors. Smith has written letters and poems describing torturing children and having sex with them.
Smith had been required to register as a sex offender in 1985 following a guilty plea to a misdemeanor sexual offense involving a child, but the requirement was removed in 2005 for an unknown reason.
Spitzer wants to know why. He and Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel have urged Newsom to reinstate the requirement.
According to Kimberly Edds, the DA’s public information officer, psychologists have testified in court that Smith is an imminent danger to the public.