Orange County officials were warning residents Tuesday that a dangerous sex offender who has targeted young boys was due to be released, and were asking for the governor of California to intervene.
Early Wednesday, Costa Mesa police tweeted that he had indeed been released, but was not currently in the Orange County city, leaving many to wonder where he was.
Cary Jay Smith, 59, was set to be released from a state hospital where he spent the last 20 years. He was set to return to Orange County where he once lived after the hospital neglected to renew a hold July 11, 2020.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel made the plea Tuesday to Gov. Gavin Newsom, saying Smith, who previously testified that he fantasized about raping and killing boys, the DA statement said.
Local news from across Southern California
“This sexual predator has repeatedly testified under oath that he will re-offend if he is released and we should believe him,” Spitzer said.
In 2002, Spitzer attempted to file 20 felony counts of a lewd and lascivious act with a minor against Smith. The statute of limitations had run out, officials said.
Smith was sent to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino in 1999 after his then-wife revealed a letter Smith had allegedly written to a psychiatrist. In the letter, he allegedly described fantasizing about raping a 7-year-old boy in Costa Mesa.
After being hospitalized, Smith was given trials every six months to determine whether he was still a danger to society.
During trials, testimony by Smith revealed that he reportedly likes to go by the name "Mr. RTK," which stands for rape, torture, and kill.
During hearings, he also said he had molested some 200 boys and killed three, officials said. It wasn't clear if those claims were ever substantiated.
Eventually Smith pleaded guilty to a 1985 misdemeanor sexual offense, and had to register as a sex offender. The registration was removed in 2005, officials said.
Smith was placed in Coalinga State Hospital. He was due to be released back to Orange County, where he lived 20 years ago.
Spitzer and Steel were pleading for Governor Newsom to intervene, and to have Smith once again register as a sex offender.
“After over 20 years in confinement, Coalinga State Hospital has released Cary Jay Smith, a child sex offender from Orange County, back into our community. Smith, an unstable individual, has openly made threats to rape and murder children and has stated that he would reoffend upon his release,” Steel said. “The fact that he is being released back into our community is unconscionable. We must take this threat to our community very seriously and ensure that everyone in Orange County is aware of this individual’s grave threat to our children.”
Newsom hadn't responded yet.