Atlanta

Officials issue statewide alert for convicted murderer who walked away from Atlanta facility

ATLANTA — Georgia Department of Corrections issued a statewide alert for an Atlanta Transitional Center resident who disappeared Wednesday.

Authorities are looking for 52-year-old Charles Smith, who walked away from the facility along Ponce de Leon Avenue in northwest Atlanta. It is unclear how he was able to walk away without getting caught.

No one has seen him since.

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Tazz Ellis lives at the center. He told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington that he has a good job and said he follows the rules.

He said he has no idea why Smith would just up and leave, putting his parole in jeopardy.

“Bad mistake on him,” Ellis said.

According to GDOC records, Smith was sentenced to life after being convicted of killing someone in Clayton County in 1992.

Since his incarceration, inmate records indicate that Smith was moved to Phillips Transitional Center and Atlanta TC before his disappearance. Before being granted parole, Smith was incarcerated from 1994 to 2021.

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Keke Banks stays with her boyfriend across the street from the center. She told Washington that she’s nervous now.

“You don’t know if he’s going to go back out and do something else to somebody,” Banks said.

When asked how a parolee is able to walk out of the center, the Department of Corrections sent a statement to Washington, saying:

“Details surrounding how he exited the facility are currently under investigation.

“Transitional Centers are our lowest security level facilities, as they provide the residents an opportunity to live in a structured setting while also providing counseling and assistance in finding and maintaining outside employment to assist with their re-entry.

“Unfortunately, some individuals choose not to take advantage of this opportunity, and when that occurs, we dedicate all of our Fugitive Unit resources toward swift action and recapture.”

Authorities ask anyone who spots him, to not approach him, and instead call the police.

Smith is described as being 5 feet 10 inches in height and weighs 201 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and black pants.

Anyone with information regarding Smith’s whereabouts is asked to call 911 or 478-992-5111.

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