Dating service tip helps capture of fugitive soccer coach

State / Regional
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DAYTON, Ohio(WDTN)- The extradition hearing for a Germantown man captured after 45 days on the run was scheduled for Monday. In October, Justin Smith was found guilty of an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teenage girl he coached in soccer.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was involved in a nationwide manhunt for Smith. Chief Deputy Rob Streck said Smith’s use of a dating service in Florida is ultimately what got him arrested. 

“The person who he was set up to go out to meet did the research and then when she found out who he was. She did the right thing and called the sheriffs office,” Streck said.

Smith wasn’t in the court room the day he was found guilty on eight counts including unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual battery and two counts of sexual imposition. He’d been on the run for two days using cash and throw away phones to stay off the grid.

A nationwide warrant was out for his arrest.

“We’ve had sheriff’s offices and police departments all over the east coast running down leads for us, going through houses, going to hotels, restaurants and getting video,” Streck said.

Law enforcement said Smith had an ankle monitor that he cut off. It last pinged in Franklin where Smith had ditched it in a strangers vehicle on Halloween. Later that night, cameras spotted him at a  Lexington, Kentucky hotel. In early November, investigators found he’d been in Tennessee.

Streck said it is unknown how long Smith had been in the Okaloosa County area where he was captured. 

There is a chance Smith could be fight his extradition to Montgomery County. If he does, there will be a court proceeding to sort that out.

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