‘I’ve never come across anyone this evil’: O.C. community speaks out after release of sex offender who allegedly targeted young boys

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Authorities believe a sex offender from Costa Mesa has returned to Orange County following his release from a Central California mental hospital, and they’re warning the public that he may remain dangerous.

Cary Jay Smith, 59, was released from Coalinga State Hospital in Fresno County Tuesday after being in custody for nearly 20 years. He was originally sent to a San Bernardino mental hospital in 1999 on a 72-hour psychiatric hold after his wife presented a letter he wrote detailing sex acts he wanted to perform on a 7-year-old boy from his neighborhood, according to the O.C. District Attorney’s Office.

In a photo from the Orange County Register, Cary Jay Smith testifies in court in Santa Ana on July 2, 2013. (Jebb Harris, Orange County Register/SCNG)
In a photo from the Orange County Register, Cary Jay Smith is seen testifying in a Santa Ana court on July 2, 2013. (Jebb Harris, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Smith was denied release for two decades due to civil trials that determined he presented a “demonstrated danger of inflicting substantial physical harm” to children, authorities said. 

“During those hearings, Smith has repeatedly testified that he fantasizes about raping and then killing young boys in order to avoid being identified,” Kimberly Edds, spokeswoman for the DA’s Office, said in a statement. “He claims that he has killed three boys and molested 200. He prefers to go by the name Mr. RTK, which stands for rape, torture, kill.” 

Costa Mesa residents who live in the neighborhood where he’s from say they’re now afraid and on high alert. 

“As far as I know, this is one of the few neighborhoods he has ties to, at least mentally,” former neighbor Bob Keyes said, his wife adding that she’s afraid.

Another former neighbor Lynn Rinner said police told her Smith once expressed his wish to kidnap and rape her 7-year-old son.  

“This guy who was already in custody at the time had written a journal entry for his psychiatrist that he had been following a little boy that lived in his parent’s neighborhood and wanted to kidnap him, rape him and maybe kill him,” Rinner told KTLA.

O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer expressed outrage, saying Smith is no longer required to register on the sex offender website.

“He has said when he’s released he will rape, torture and kill a young boy after he sexually assaults that child,” Spitzer said.

So the DA wrote a letter urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to get Smith back on the sex offender registration list.

A retired O.C. Sheriff’s Department sergeant who worked in a jail where Smith was in custody told KTLA he found pictures of boys in their underwear in Smith’s belongings. When the sergeant took the photos away, Smith allegedly tried to attack him.

“In my 30 years, I’ve never come across anyone this evil. Surely evil,” he said. “I’ve heard so many things he’s said over time. He’s clearly not capable of controlling himself.”

Costa Mesa police say there’s no indication he’s back in the city and his family moved away long ago. 

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