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Donald J. Smith admitted to trying to lure children in the past

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Updated: 6/22/2013 2:29 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The man arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Jacksonville is a known sex offender, and has tried to lure children before.

Donald J. Smith tried to lure a young girl away from her mother in 2009. Smith, posing as a DCF worker, called a local mom saying he needed to speak with her child. The mother got suspicious and called police.

Smith was arrested. Last year he pleaded guilty to attempted impersonation of a public employee and attempted child abuse by mental harm.  He was sentenced to one year for each count, but with time served, he was out of jail within a year.  Smith was released from jail on May 31 of this year.  He was out for just 21 days before Charish was found dead.

The mother in the 2009 case told Action News today she is heartbroken and terrified, saying this could've been her daughter four years ago. Stephanie Boggs wonders why Smith was out of prison at all.

Smith's criminal past with children goes back decades.

Records show he was convicted in 1977 for lewd and lascivious behavior on a child under 16.

He was sentenced to five years in prison in 1993 for attempted kidnapping of a minor. He tried to lure three little girls into a van filled with pornography. When he was released, Smith had to register as a sex offender.

JSO told Action News Smith was not on probation during the time of Charish's disappearance, but he was on JSO's radar while he lived at his registered address on Segovia Avenue.  Around 1 p.m., a woman at that home, believed to be Smith's mother, was led away by police.

Stay with Action News for the latest developments on this breaking story.
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