According to the Santa Ana Police Department, 59-year-old Cary Jay Smith was no longer in the city. It's unclear where he will settle down next but police tweeted that it would continue to monitor the situation in partnership with other local law enforcement agencies.
#Update #PublicAdvisory #SantaAnaPD has received information that Cary Jay Smith is no longer located in Santa Ana. SAPD will continue to monitor the situation and work in partnership with our law enforcement partners and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.— SantaAnaPD (@SantaAnaPD) July 23, 2020
Shortly after, police in Costa Mesa issued a community advisory that Smith had arrived at healthcare facility in that city. "CMPD is committed to public safety and will continue to monitor the situation and collaborate with our law enforcement partners," the advisory read.
Smith had relocated in Santa Ana after a brief stay in Garden Grove and several other cities across the region. Each time he has moved around Southern California, including a previous stay in Costa Mesa, Orange, Corona, Lake Elsinore, San Diego County, his movements set off warnings to local communities from local law enforcement.
He was released from a mental hospital earlier this month following more than 20 years of confinement.
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.
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.