25 Year Cold Case of Kristin Smart Finally Solved

In May of 1996, a college freshman year teen, Kristin Smart (19) disappeared after she attended her school party off-campus. The key suspect, Paul Flores was the last person who had seen Kristin alive. After Kristin went missing, her family filed a civil suit against Paul Flores. Flores has maintained his innocence in the involvement in Kristin’s disappearance, however. However, her family and the detective-in-charge never gave up on Kristin’s case.

The key suspect, Paul Flores (44) was taken into custody with a murder charge on Tuesday morning in San Pedro California, and his father Luben Flores (80) arrested on an accessory charge; San Luis Obispo County sheriff confirmed on Tuesday.

Paul Flores is being held without bail and his father, Luben Flores is being held on a bond of $250,000. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s officials served another search warrant at the Arroyo Grande property this morning. Ian Parkinson, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff held a conference at the California Polytechnic State University where Kristin went to college.

In February, authorities served search warrants on multiple members of the Flores family. Some of the “items” were discovered during searches, investigators said at the time.

In March, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office searched Ruben Flores’s home in Arroyo Grande.

A judge signed the two arrest warrants and two search warrants that were executed today. Parkinson said that the searches may continue into Wednesday, depending on what is found.

Parkinson explained that the cold cases podcast which is Lambert’s podcast, “Your Own Backyard,” brought renewed interest to the investigation. “He took a local story and expanded it into an international story,” Parkinson told reporters. “Once that message got out, we started getting more information… there are a lot of people that are students here that are not from San Luis Obispo. When they graduate, a lot of them will leave, and so they’re dispersed all over the country. That message gets out to the nation, and those people that used to live here at the time might remember something.”

The Smart family expressed how they felt when their fears of Kristin’s death became a reality, “The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain,” in a long heartbroken statement.

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