DAYTON — UPDATE @ 6 p.m.
Defense attorneys for fugitive soccer coach Justin K. Smith said they are appalled Montgomery County officials froze the bank accounts of his family members.
Attorneys Adam Arnold and Michael Booher released a statement Friday evening that as of 4:30 p.m. there were no motions filed in court, nor were their offices notified of any search warrants or court orders regarding the freezing or seizure of any bank accounts of Smith or anyone he has ties.
“However, we are informed by his family that accounts in the name of his wife, his father and his mother have been frozen. These accounts constitute the sole means of support for Justin’s wife and children, and there is absolutely zero evidence that any of these funds were used to assist Justin in fleeing from the state of Ohio nor in his current hiding,” they stated.
The attorneys said that Smith’s family members are innocent victims in this case who do not know Smith’s whereabouts.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s detectives have frozen the account of a fugitive soccer coach in an effort to track him down and bring him to justice, officials said Friday.
Justin K. Smith, 41, has been seen in Kentucky and Tennessee since he disappeared in the middle of his sexual assault trial on Halloween in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court in Dayton.
He was absent when a judge convicted him of three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, three counts of sexual battery and two counts of sexual imposition involving a 14-year-old girl Smith coached. He had waived his right to a jury trial.
Detectives said they think Smith cashed in his state retirement in the summer after resigning from his job at the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
They believe Smith may be using that money to hide.
As a result, they’ve frozen his assets.
“Well, it’s a good thing for law enforcement in the sense that he’s not going to have the funding to continue his escape,” said Isaiah Keller, special investigations detective. “It’s just going to be more difficult for him to stay in hotel rooms, to get transportation, and just be getting around on a day-to-day basis.”
The first pictures that surfaced of Smith were of him checking into a Marriott hotel in Lexington the same night he left Dayton.
He also was seen walking out of a department store there and captured on surveillance inside.
Detectives say Smith was seen a couple of times in Tennessee the following week, but has since gone underground. They say he could be tempted to return to the Dayton area to see family around the holidays, but they aren’t sure if he’d be dangerous if spotted.
“We don’t know, we don’t know what his mind frame is, what he’s thinking, at this point, stay away and contact law enforcement,” Kellar said.
The warrant for Smith’s arrest is nationwide.