New York State Police say it took nearly three decades but they finally captured a former Livingston County man wanted on first degree rape charges. Gary Smith, 66, was arrested in West Jefferson, Ohio. According to the District Attorney's Office, its case remains strong and new technology will help get justice for the victim.
After 28 years of chasing a ghost, the search came to an end after a call from Ohio State Police.
"My first assistant DA jumped right out of his seat and ran and grabbed two boxes of files that have been in storage," said District Attorney Greg McCaffrey, D-Livingston County.
Gary Smith is charged with rape, sodomy, and kidnapping after he allegedly attacked a woman in 1983. When Smith failed to show up for his trial in 1985, the hunt began.
"I've heard rumors that we were close to catching him over the years, but to me it's amazing in this day in age someone can evade prosecution, it will be fascinating to find out where he's been all these years."
Smith's story was featured on America's Most Wanted several times. Thousands of tips came in but he remained under the radar.
That's until Smith used his real name and social security number at a nursing home in West Jefferson, Ohio last week. Police were contacted and he was extradited back to Livingston County.
"If I have my way and the proof supports it he'll never get out again and will die in state prison," McCaffrey said.
At an intersection of Routes 39 and 20A, police say Smith forced a woman into his car. If the case goes to trial, that woman may have to testify against Smith 30 years after the alleged attack, but DNA may help."
"It's going to be our request to get a DNA sample from him to see what else is out there," said McCaffrey.
Smith was quiet in court, other than saying "(after) 16 days of radiation, I have no brain." He then began to cry. Smith has terminal prostate cancer.
Almost 28 years to the day he jumped bail, Smith will answer to those charges in court on June 18.