In a tweet published at 10 a.m., the Corona Police Department said 59-year-old Cary Jay Smith was "currently" in that city, adding that officers "are watching Smith while he is in Corona to ensure the safety of the community."
Several hours later, police tweeted that he left the city. However, it's unclear where he is headed next.
A short time ago Cary decided to leave the City of Corona. Thank you to everyone who engaged with us upon learning he was in our community.— Corona Police Dept. #CoronaPD (@CoronaPD) July 19, 2020
The agency noted that Smith, a former Costa Mesa resident who was released from a state mental hospital earlier this week, "is not on any form of supervised release or required to register as a sex offender. Smith can move around without restrictions."
In 1985, Smith pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sexual offense involving a child and was compelled to register as a sex offender; that requirement was removed by the state in 2005.
Sex offender and former Costa Mesa resident released from state mental hospital
Smith was admitted to a psychiatric facility in 1999 after his wife provided a letter in which Smith described sex acts he wanted to perform on a 7-year-old boy who lived in their neighborhood.
That boy's mother, Lynn Vogt, says she feels fortunate that her son was never harmed but believes Smith will hurt others.
"Realistically, I'd love to see him locked up but I know that's probably not going to happen until he says or does something that shows, right now, today, that he's a danger to people," said Vogt. "The guy shouldn't be roaming free. There's just no way."
The Orange County District Attorney's Office in 2002 filed 20 felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor against him, but the charges were dismissed due to the statute of limitations.
During the years that Smith was held by the state, he was entitled to a new trial every six months to demonstrate that he was no longer a danger to society.
"During those hearings, Smith has repeatedly testified that he fantasizes about raping and then killing young boys in order to avoid being identified. He claims that he has killed three boys and molested 200," the DA's office said in a statement Tuesday. Whether those claims have ever been substantiated is unclear.
"He prefers to go by the name Mr. RTK, which stands for rape, torture, kill," the statement said, warning county residents about Smith's release from Coalinga State Hospital in Fresno County.
Smith briefly settled in Costa Mesa, Orange and Corona, causing an uproar among concerned residents in all three cities.
Mr. Smith is not on any form of supervised release or required to register as a sex offender. Smith can move around without restrictions. Corona PD will update the community when he leaves.— Corona Police Dept. #CoronaPD (@CoronaPD) July 18, 2020