Ohio sex crimes fugitive spotted in Nashville

Posted at 1:42 AM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 07:44:45-05

Detectives in Ohio are asking people in the Nashville and Murfreesboro areas to be on the lookout for a fugitive youth soccer coach accused of sex crimes against a teenager.

Investigators in Dayton, Ohio have been searching for 41-year-old Justin Smith.

According to detectives, Smith's financial records show he stayed in both Nashville and Murfreesboro between November 1st and 5th. 

“Financial records show he was using Uber, and ate at Panera Bread, Chili’s restaurants, and stayed in hotels in both cities," Detective Isaiah Kellar told CBS affiliate WHIO-TV.

Detectives report Smith has been using his own name, as well as the names J. Smith and Justin House. 

WHIO-TV reports Smith was on trial for three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of sexual battery, and two counts of sexual imposition. He was a youth soccer coach and soccer league president when he was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

During testimony, the victim's mother told the court she discovered a text message exchange between Smith and her daughter, which included the words "I love you" and more explicit messages.

Smith fled his sexual assault trial after taking the stand in his own defense, investigators said. He also cut his court-ordered GPS ankle bracelet. 

Two days after he took the stand, a jury convicted him of all eight felony counts. However, Smith cannot be sentenced on those convictions unless he is present.