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Michigan Issues Health Alert

The state of Michigan has issued a health alert warning residents of Kent County that “possibly hundreds of people have been exposed to HIV” after the arrest of 51-year-old David Dean Smith. Smith is HIV positive and he told police officers that he was on a mission to infect as many people in his path as possible with the disease.

Grand Rapids police were told by Smith that over the previous three years he engaged in unprotected sex with as many people as he possibly could. He estimated that this number could be in the thousands. His goal was to infect these people with HIV and kill them.

Smith was arrested last week on charges of sexual offense and he is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond in the Kent County Jail. The preliminary hearings are scheduled for January 4 and 9. Smith’s attorney, Richard E. Zambon, said, “I am concerned about his mental health and am planning on exploring all options.”

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Smith had targeted residents of Michigan along with those living quite a few states away, according to court records filed with the Grand Rapids 61st District Court. He met his victims using Yahoo! Personals.

One of the two victims of Smith who have come forward claim that Smith made contact through the internet medium. The victim, a woman, said she contracted HIV in 2008 and knew directly afterwards that Smith was the one who infected her.

She said that prior to his arrest, Smith texted her the following, “Turning myself into the law, my life is over. Take care. Always love you.”

It has yet to be determined why Smith decided to inform authorities of his behavior but there are court documents showing that he has a history of mental illness. That history includes an admission to Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services for threatening to commit suicide. Michigan Live reports that Smith is “sexually aroused by causing pain to females.”

It is also hard to determine how many people Smith infected over the previous three years. The one victim, who spoke to WOOD-TV, claims that Smith said he had sex with close to 3,000 people, from both sexes.

Any other victims of Smith should come forward to the Kent County Health Department for questioning and to aid in the investigation.

Smith is from Comstock Park and has been charged with a felony in connection with the claims.

“He came to us,” said Grand Rapids Police Sgt. Jim Potter. “He indicated there were more victims.”

Records of reported AIDS and HIV cases are kept by the Kent County Health Department but the department does not release information about those cases because of federal confidentiality regulations.

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