LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. -- A sex offender who was recently released from a mental hospital has relocated to San Diego County after moving several times around Southern California since he was set free, authorities say.
The release of Cary Jay Smith, 59, has triggered warnings from law enforcement several times as he moved from Orange to Corona to Lake Elsinore over the last several days.
Protests were held at the Lake Elsinore motel where he was staying and by Sunday afternoon, he had left that community.
"We care about our kids," said Lupita Garcia of Lake Elsinore. "We care about our community. We are a very close-knit family. We will not stand for this."
Some residents angrily confronted sheriff's deputies at the motel, even shouting at them to turn Smith over. Deputies eventually whisked Smith away in a patrol car.
One woman, identified as Isabel Veloz, 45, of Lake Elsinore was arrested for allegedly throwing an object at a sheriff's deputy, causing a minor injury.
The San Diego Sheriff's department confirmed that Smith is now staying at a motel in the North County.
Deputies there are monitoring him and have warned the public to stay away from him. Authorities have also noted that Smith is not wanted for any crime and is not on probation or parole.
Earlier, when he had relocated to Lake Elsinore, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department issued a community alert, stating:
"Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department are currently watching Smith while he is staying at a local hotel to ensure the safety of our community. Smith is not on any form of supervised release nor is he required to register as a sex offender. Smith is allowed to move around without restrictions. We will update the community when he leaves the city."
Corona police issued a community alert after Smith relocated from Orange to Riverside County. On Saturday, it was reported he was on the move again.
In a tweet published at 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Corona Police Department said 59-year-old 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.
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.
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.