State Watch

Suspects in Kristin Smart case arrested 25 years later

Two men suspected in the disappearance of Kristin Smart 25 years ago were arrested Tuesday morning and booked into a California county jail, according to John Segale, a Smart family spokesman.

Smart, then a first-year student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo disappeared in 1996. She vanished after attending a party on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend that year, according to a report from People magazine. 

Smart’s body has never been found, and she was declared dead in 2002. 

Multiple reports state that Paul Flores, Smart’s former college classmate, and his father, Ruben Flores, were taken into custody.

Paul Flores was charged with the murder of Kristin Smart on Tuesday morning and was not granted bail, a San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office spokesman announced during a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Ruben Flores was charged with being an accessory after the fact. His bail is set at $250,000.

“We have not recovered Kristin” the spokesman said, noting that the office will continue its search for her body.

Authorities said that Paul Flores may have been the last person to see Smart. He reportedly walked her home from the off-campus party that night after she’d been drinking, according to People.

Officials searched Ruben Flores’s home Tuesday morning after previously conducting a search of Paul Flores’s residence last year, during which they recovered “items of interest,” CNN reported.

Paul Flores has maintained his innocence over the years. One of his attorneys, Robert Sanger, declined to comment on the case to The Hill.

Segale shared the family’s reaction to the news of the arrest.

“A lot of prayers, astonishment, excitement, happiness, and of course sadness,” he told CNN. “Sadness, because this has gone on for 25 years. The Smart family had not been able to bury their daughter. There was no closure.”

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.

Updated 5:17 p.m.

Tags Arrest Cal Poly California Disappearance of Kristin Smart paul flores ruben flores San Luis Obispo, California true crime
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