A convicted sex offender who’s been pushed from city to city since his release from a Central California mental hospital has landed in Garden Grove, officials said Monday.
Garden Grove police have been monitoring 59-year-old Cary Jay Smith since they learned of his arrival, the department said in a news release.
Smith has popped up in several communities following his release from Coalinga State Hospital in Fresno County two weeks ago.
Orange County authorities first alerted the public to his release July 14. Smith is not on any form of parole and is no longer required to register as a sex offender, meaning he can move around freely.
Smith was initially sent to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino in 1999, after his wife alerted a psychiatrist to a journal entry he’d written, detailing sex acts he wanted to perform on a 7-year-old boy from his Costa Mesa neighborhood, according to the O.C. District Attorney’s Office.
Smith was held at the San Bernardino facility for years, following a series of civil trials that determined he presented a substantial danger to children, prosecutors 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, spokesperson 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.”
A retired O.C. sheriff’s sergeant who worked in a jail where Smith was once held 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.”
Smith was required to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor child sex crime in 1985. But the state removed his requirement to register in 2005 “for reasons that remain unclear,” Garden Grove police said.
Several agencies have recently requested Gov. Gavin Newsom reinstate his registry requirement. The governor has yet to publicly respond.
Although he doesn’t need to officially declare his whereabouts, local authorities have been closely tracking Smith’s movements across three counties since he arrived in Southern California.
After departing an adult living facility in the city of Orange Friday night, Smith was spotted in Corona Saturday morning. Later that night, local police said he “decided to leave” and went to Lake Elsinore.
On Sunday, Riverside County deputies escorted Smith away from a Best Western in Lake Elsinore. He had stayed at a motel in northern San Diego County, but by Monday afternoon local sheriff’s officials said he was no longer in San Diego County.
Garden Grove police plan to continue surveilling Smith. They urged members of the public not to make contact with him.