GARDEN GROVE, Calif. - Cary Jay Smith, the convicted sex offender recently released from a state psychiatric hospital, was on the move again after he was last seen in Garden Grove, police said.
Smith checked into a motel in Garden Grove after earlier being reported in north San Diego County.
The Garden Grove Police Department said in a tweet late Tuesday morning that Smith was no longer in the city and that local authorities continue to monitor his whereabouts.
Garden Grove police were notified that Smith checked into the motel Monday and set up a surveillance detail to monitor him, the department said Monday evening. The name and location of the motel were not released.
About 4 p.m. Sunday, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department revealed on Twitter Smith was in their jurisdiction.
"Cary decided to leave the Lake Elsinore area. Thank you to everyone who engaged with us upon learning he was in our community," the Riverside County Sheriff's Department's Lake Elsinore Station posted Sunday on Facebook.
A protest against Smith staying in the Lake Elsinore area was planned but called off following the announcement that he had left Lake Elsinore. Protesters did go to the 31000 block of Casino Drive about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, said Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Sarah Mack.
Smith was released from Coalinga State Hospital last Tuesday after spending 21 years there for openly fantasizing about raping and killing children. He stayed in Los Angeles for one night before making his way to Orange, where he checked into a halfway home on Thursday, said Sgt. Phil McMullin of the Orange Police Department.
On Saturday morning, Corona police said Smith had relocated to a motel in that Riverside County city, where he was being surveilled by law enforcement.
"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 police said in a Twitter message.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel issued a news release last week about Smith and sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for help researching why Smith was no longer required to register as a sex offender despite a conviction and requirement to do so in 1985.
Newsom's office referred questions to the Department of State Hospitals. Ken August of the Department of State Hospitals said state and federal privacy laws prohibited the department from commenting.
Smith appeared to be "very mild and passive" when McMullin of the Orange police spoke with him Thursday night. Smith pleaded guilty in 1985 to a misdemeanor sex offense against a child, requiring him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, Spitzer said.
However, in 2005, that requirement was lifted for an unknown reason, Spitzer said.
"We need to look into this and know why he is no longer a lifetime 290," Spitzer said, referring to the code in the law that requires sex offenders to register with authorities so they can be tracked.
"We believe he is a lifetime registrant," Spitzer said.
Smith was committed to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino in 1999 on a psychological hold when his wife gave a psychiatrist a letter her husband wrote that described sex acts he fantasized about on a 7-year-old boy in his neighborhood in Costa Mesa, according to prosecutors.
The state kept him locked up in a state hospital under a civil commitment that concluded he was a danger to children, according to prosecutors. Under that law, he had the opportunity to seek release in a trial every six months.
However, during the hearings he testified that he continues to fantasize about sexually assaulting and killing young boys, prosecutors said.
"He calls himself Mr. RTK," which stands for Rape, Torture, Kill, Spitzer said. "That's what I think has kept him in. He says, 'If you don't cut off my penis and hands I will molest again.'"