Sex offender goes off radar in Burke County


Perry Nathan Smith (WRDW-TV)

News 12 First at Five/ July 31, 2014

BURKE COUNTY, Ga.--A convicted sex offender with a 41 page rap sheet ends up in the Burke County Emergency Room claiming he killed his father and four other people. He's in jail in the psych ward now, but authorities are still trying to figure out how a sex offender slipped through the cracks without making it onto Burke County's sex offender registry.

You won't find Perry Nathan Smith's name on the Burke County sex offender registry. Sgt. Annette Hodge with the Burke County Sheriff's Office says, "Right now we don't know where he was supposed to have been."

Deputies got a call last week from the Burke County ER. Smith allegedly told nurses he killed his father and four other people.

"Eventually, they had to arrest him for causing a disturbance. That's when they found out he was a sex offender," Sgt. Smith said.

While the story about murdering 5 people turned out to be false, they did learn some surprising truths. Smith is a convicted sex offender with a 41 page rap sheet. He's been in and out of prison at least 7 times. Two of those sentences were for child molestation charges. Hospital records list two separate Burke County addresses since his most recent release from prison in 2013, which was news to the Sheriff's Office.

The current address where Smith claims to live in Waynesboro is just a couple of blocks away from a children's park. The other address he listed back in 2013 is near Henrietta Lake's home. She doesn't recognize his picture, but the circumstances are troubling to her.

"I'm very concerned about my grand kids. Not only my grand kids, but the other kids in the area," she said.

Sgt. Hodge says once sex offenders are released from prison, the state is supposed to let the county know. In this case, Smith was originally released in Richmond County.

"The Department of Corrections actually should have been responsible for him until Richmond County put him on the registry. Richmond County never had contact with him," Sgt. Hodge says.

It appears Smith was shuffled to a few different halfway homes and care facilities, but in the process, no one let Burke County know he was there. A big mistake that could have ended a lot differently, Lake says. "I'm very surprised, and I feel they're not really doing their job."

Smith is in custody at the East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta, charged with disturbance at a hospital and being a wanted sex offender. It'll be up to a court to decide what happens next.

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