‘Prime suspect’ arrested in California college student Kristin Smart’s 1996 disappearance

Kristin Smart was a student at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo when she vanished while walking home from a party in 1996

In a news conference from the university, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the department arrested Paul Flores, 44, for allegedly murdering Smart as well as his father, Ruben Ricardo Flores, 80, on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact.

Although Flores had always been a suspect, Parkinson said no arrests had been made because law enforcement can't arrest someone based on "what we might believe, it has to be based on physical evidence".

Search warrants were served past year on Paul's home in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles, and at other locations in California and Washington state.

His father, Ruben Flores, was also taken into custody at his home in Arroyo Grande this morning on an accessory charge.

In late 2016, investigators discovered additional evidence which confirmed Paul Flores was a suspect in the disappearance of Smart. Their cases have since been turned over to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office for review.

A spokesman for the Smart family said this was "an extremely emotional day".

Smart, 19, of Stockton, was last seen May 25, 1996, while returning to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo after an off-campus party.

May 25, 2021, marks 25 years since Kristin's disappearance. She was walking back to her to her dorm room from an off-campus party while accompanied by a fellow student (Flores). While her body has never been found, she was declared legally dead on May 25, 2002.

Early one Saturday morning almost 25 years ago, Kristin Smart left a college party near the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus and never returned to her dormitory.

DOH: AstraZeneca vaccine suspension 'may last for two weeks'
Health Secretary Brendan Murphy called the policy change "highly precautionary" given the low rates of possible adverse effects associated with the AstraZeneca shot.

San Luis Obispo jail records showed Paul Flores was booked on a murder charge.

The Smart family released a preliminary statement on Tuesday.

Last month, after refusing to speak with reporters for years, Susan Flores told a local television station she was exhausted of the enduring "harassment" by detectives who had treated her son as a "scapegoat".

Parkinson also credited the podcast "Your Own Backyard" for giving the case renewed widespread attention that led to a key witness coming forward.

In 2019, detectives interviewed a new witness in the case.

Since Parkinson took office in 2011, investigators conducted 137 interviews, served 41 search warrants and collected 143 items.

Smart's family said in their statement that "an indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early on set the course for many years".

Parkinson said over 40 search warrants had been executed at 16 locations over the years and so much evidence had been compiled that it would fill three terabytes on a computer hard drive.

After speaking with investigators in the weeks after Smart's disappearance, Paul Flores refused to discuss the case when he was called to testify before a grand jury and again later in a deposition for a civil suit brought by Smart's family. The sound of power saws and drills whined in the background as they searched under a large deck and in the garage.

Related News:

Most liked

Schools to return to online learning after April break
Child care for non-school aged children will still be open, but before and after school programs will have to cease operations. Private schools operating in-person this week are to transition to remote learning by April 15.

Biden to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11
Many Republicans slammed the decision as premature, but other GOP lawmakers cheered USA troops finally coming home. It will also reignite political division over America's involvement in what many have called "the endless war".

Biden to withdraw all USA troops from Afghanistan by September 11
There are fears that if foreign military forces withdraw before a lasting agreement is reached, the Taliban might seize power. Former President Donald Trump's administration had previously negotiated a withdrawal date of May 1, 2021, with the Taliban.

National Football League players react to Minnesota police shooting of Daunte Wright
At least 200 protesters gathered Monday night in Southeast Portland to protest the police killing of a Black man in Minnesota. The video touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Explained: How Japan plans to release contaminated Fukushima water into the ocean
The dilution process won't remove tritium from the water but could reduce other radionuclides to safe levels, it said. The steady release of even a small amount of radioactive material will have a lasting effect on marine life.

USA man shot by Minnesota officer in traffic stop crashes, dies
Police and medical personnel attempted life-saving measures following the crash, but the man died at the scene, Gannon said. Police later ordered the protesters to disperse, with footage showing tear gas and stun grenades being fired by officers.

US, Iran clash over sanctions; US sees possible `impasse`
The IAEA determined on Wednesday that Iran had violated those limits by recovering uranium from items called scrap fuel plates. The official also noted that the U.S. delegation in Vienna brought up the issue of Americans detained and missing in Iran.

Myanmar's United Kingdom ambassador 'locked out' of London embassy
At a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, a spokesman for the ruling junta defended the actions of the security forces. The measures freeze the firm's assets in the United States and ban Americans from doing business with it.

Fresh Covid case in New Zealand as it prepares travel bubble
The suspension is temporary because "we do have obligations to allow citizens to return to New Zealand", Ardern says. The PM said she recognised the difficulty the suspension will cause for some citizens attempting to return home.

Employee Opens Fire in Texas Office Park
Cops said Bollin fled before they arrived, but authorities tracked him to the small town of Iola, about 20 miles to the northeast. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent dogs to the scene of the shooting, said spokesman Deon Washington.

Is Russia about to launch a fresh offensive in eastern Ukraine?
Mr Kozak suggested the rebels could hold their own for now against Ukrainian forces as they consisted of "battle-hardened units". The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine began in April 2014.

Biden Set to Announce Six Executive Actions on Guns Tomorrow
The number of such sales has grown rapidly in recent years, and ghost guns have increasingly been showing up at crime scenes. Biden backed an assault weapons ban in 1994 when he was a senator.

Use-of-Force Trainer Testifies in Chauvin Trial
Johnny Mercil took the stand on Tuesday and had taught a use of force training class attended by Derek Chauvin in October 2018. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Mercil if that restraint was part of the training at the Minneapolis Police Department.

Rockies to host MLB's All-Star Game amid controversy over Georgia voting law
Coors Field in Denver has been chosen to host this year's All-Star Game, sources told ESPN's Buster Olney on Monday. Almost 30% of the businesses in Atlanta are black-owned, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Derek Chauvin trial continues Tuesday
He has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges in the case being heard by a racially diverse 12-member jury. The friend, Morries Hall, was in the vehicle with Floyd when police arrived.