A sex offender who was recently released from a mental hospital, triggering warnings from law enforcement, is on the move again.
Cary Jay Smith, 59, left San Diego County after only one day there and relocated to Garden Grove, law enforcement officials say.
Smith has moved multiple times since he was released from a mental hospital earlier this month following more than 20 years of confinement.
Each time he has moved, to Costa Mesa, Orange, Corona and Lake Elsinore and then to San Diego County, his movement has set off warnings from local law enforcement to residents.
His latest stop, in Garden Grove, is triggering a similar warning.
"The Garden Grove Police Department received information that Cary Smith has checked into a local motel in Garden Grove," the Orange County city's law enforcement agency wrote.
"Upon learning of his arrival, we immediately set up a surveillance detail and have consistently monitored Smith. The Garden Grove Police Department is committed to public safety and will continue to monitor Smith and collaboration with the OCDA."
Sex offender and former Costa Mesa resident released from state mental hospital
While Smith was confined to a mental hospital, he testified to having fantasies about raping and killing young boys, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office. He also said he liked to go by Mr. RTK, standing for rape, torture, kill.
That history is what triggered warnings from law enforcement and the OCDA.
Each community where he has moved has protested his presence and demanded he leave. In Lake Elsinore, an angry group showed up at the motel where he was staying and deputies had to keep them from going inside to confront Smith.
After that heated confrontation, deputies escorted Smith away from the motel. By Sunday night he had settled at a motel in the northern part of San Diego County.
The San Diego County Sheriff's Department tweeted on Monday afternoon: "#UPDATE @SDSheriff can confirm Cary Jay Smith has left #SanDiegoCounty. It is always our goal to keep our communities safe. #KeepingYouSafe."
While authorities have warned the public about Smith's presence, they have also noted that he is not a registered sex offender, is not wanted for a crime and is not on probation or parole. He is free to move about as he wants. Nonetheless, law enforcement in every city he has stayed at has established surveillance over his whereabouts.
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.
When asked recently, officials with the state Attorney General's Office would not comment specifically on why Smith was no longer required to register as a sex offender on the Megan's Law website.
But they noted that in general there are several reasons why a person might not be on the list. For example, the person may have been convicted of an offense which is not listed under the current legal requirements for registration. A person can also be relieved from the requirements for registration.
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 last week.
It does not appear those claims have been substantiated.
"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.