Cary Jay Smith, the convicted sex offender recently released from a state psychiatric hospital, checked into a motel in Garden Grove Monday after earlier being reported in north San Diego County.

The Garden Grove Police Department was notified that Smith checked into the motel and have 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.

“@SDSheriff is monitoring a sex offender released by Coalinga State Hospital two weeks ago to ensure the safety of our communities. 59-year-old Cary Jay Smith is staying at a motel in the North County.”

Smith left Riverside County following protests against him.

“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.

At 9:05 p.m. Saturday, Corona police tweeted: “A short time ago Cary decided to leave the City of Corona. Thank you to everyone who engaged with us upon learning he was in our community.”

A few hours later, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Lake Elsinore station issued a community alert. “Convicted Sex Offender Cary Smith is CURRENTLY in the city of Lake Elsinore,” it read.

“…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.”

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.”

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