San Luis Obispo, CA

Physical Evidence Found and Two Arrests Made in the Disappearance of Kirstin Smart

Lisa Goetz

Photo by Matt Popovich/Unsplash

Major developments have unfolded over the past 72 hours in the Kristin Smart case. The California Polytechnic State University student, just 19 years old at the time, disappeared the weekend of May 25, 1996 while walking back to her dorm room after attending an off-campus party.

Twenty-five years later, the police have arrested the long-time person of interest turned prime suspect in the case, Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores. Paul Flores has been charged with allegations of first-degree murder and Ruben Flores has been charged with allegations of accessory after the fact, according to San Luis Obispo district attorney Dan Dow. Paul Flores is being held without bail and bail for Ruben Flores has been set at $250,000.

During a April 14 news conference, the day after the arrests, Dow noted that "these charges mark a major we mark the very first move to bring justice to Kristin Smart, her family and the entire community of San Luis Obispo County.”

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office has been tight lipped about the evidence found. Earlier this year, the Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant and entered Ruben Flores' property, using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs, to search for evidence.

Prosecutor Dow elaborated that “significant new information has come in to the Sheriff’s Office that we’ve reviewed over the last two years, and some very important information just a month ago. We’ve got physical evidence, we have witness statements — things that, in our view, in the totality, have brought us to the point where we believe we can go forward and prosecute Mr. Flores for the murder of Kristin Smart.”

The disappearance of Kristin Smart has been featured on numerous true crime TV shows and talk shows since 1996, and more recently on true crime podcasts such as Your Own Backyard. Paul Flores became a person of interest early on in the investigation after it was determined, through witness statements, that he was the last person seen with Smart.

An article in the Los Angeles Times reports that LAPD Robbery-Homicide has evidence against Paul Flores in other crimes that occured in the Los Angeles area, where he has lived for the past 16 years.

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Lisa Goetz writes cryptocurrency news, analysis and opinion. A freelance journalist with 11 years of experience, Goetz's articles have been featured in USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and the Houston Chronicle.


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