Former MTV reality star Connor Smith arrested on grooming charges after year-long manhunt

Former MTV reality star Connor Smith has been arrested after spending 13 months on the run, evading authorities who launched a nationwide manhunt for him.

The 33-year-old, who was a cast member on season three of MTV’s dating show “Are You The One?” in 2015, was wanted on three felony charges, including traveling to meet a minor for a sexual encounter, grooming and disseminating harmful material. 

In February 2023, a warrant for Smith was issued in Lake County, Illinois. He was taken into custody by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office at 15163 George Blvd. in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday, according to a charge report posted on the office’s website.

Smith was booked into the Pinellas County Jail that same day at 2:01 p.m. local time, per the report.

Former MTV reality star Connor Smith has been arrested after spending just over a year on the run. (Cook County Sheriffs Office/MTV Reality YouTube)

According to an affidavit obtained by People magazine, Smith did not have any weapons on him at the time of his arrest. The affidavit further stated that Smith did not appear to be under the influence of drugs and there were no signs of mental health issues.

NATIONWIDE MANHUNT UNDERWAY FOR FORMER MTV STAR WHO ALLEGEDLY TRIED TO HAVE SEXUAL ENCOUNTER WITH MINOR

Last February, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department issued a media release, which described Smith as having corresponded with a female undercover detective who was pretending to be under the age of 15.

According to the release, “Smith sent ‘the child’ sexually explicit images and videos of himself. Smith then made arrangements to meet the ‘girl’ for a sexual encounter.”

The Sheriff’s department says Smith had been in communication with “the girl” for several weeks.

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On Feb. 9, 2023, under the pretense he was meeting the “girl,” Smith drove to an alternate location. Detectives moved in to apprehend him, however he was able to “escape and fled in his vehicle.”

conner smith side by side

Smith was wanted on three felony charges, including traveling to meet a minor for a sexual encounter, grooming and disseminating harmful material.  (Lake County Sheriffs Office)

A nationwide arrest warrant was then filed for Smith, with a Lake County Judge setting bond on the warrant at $1 million.

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Smith previously told authorities that he would surrender himself to them, but he failed to do so.

Smith had previously been accused of inappropriate behavior towards a minor in 2021. He was arrested and charged with rape, sexual battery and two counts of criminal confinement, according to court documents obtained by Us Weekly. 

According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, the charges were dropped in Sept. 2022. 

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An attorney for Smith said at the time that they were “pleased with the outcome and glad we were able to vindicate our client of these horrible false charges.”

Additionally, attorney Maryam Afshar-Stewart told the media, “Unfortunately, these type of accusations, despite a dismissal, carry consequences that are far-reaching. . . . While a dismissal is a step in the right direction, Mr. Smith has a long road ahead to repair the damage that has been caused by these false allegations.”

Fox News Digital’s Caroline Thayer contributed to this report.

This post was originally published on Fox News

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