Additional Search Warrant Issued in Kristin Smart Case

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Additional Search Warrant Issued in Kristin Smart Case
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Kristin Smart (courtesy photo)

By edhat staff

The San Luis Obispo (SLO) Sheriff's Office announced today another search warrant was issued related to the disappearance of Kristin Smart over 20 years ago.

The search warrant was executed around 7:00 a.m. in San Pedro, Los Angeles County, at the home of Paul Flores. Flores continues to be a person of interest in the case as he was the last one seen with Smart in 1996. 

In February, the SLO Sheriff's Office served search warrants at four locations in California and Washington State. Today's search warrant only involved the home of Paul Flores.

As with the search warrants in February, this current search warrant is sealed by the court and the SLO Sheriff's Office is precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them including items sought or recovered during the process. 

Smart was 19-years-old at the end of her freshman year of college on May 25, 1996, when she disappeared on the campus of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). She is presumed to have been abducted and killed, and was legally presumed dead on May 25, 2002. Smart's body has never been discovered and it remains an unsolved case.

The SLO Sheriff's Office stated this is an active and on-going investigation. They will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time.

In September of last year, Orcutt native Chris Lambert released a podcast series titled "Your Own Backyard" about the Smart case. The podcast was downloaded over a million times in its first 4 months leading to the renewed public interest in the investigation. The Smart family thanked Lambert for “his outstanding podcast” and attributed growing interest and progress in the unsolved case to his program. 

In January of this year, the SLO Sheriff's Office released new information in the Kristin Smart investigation "in response to the large number of recent public inquiries," they stated.

The Sheriff’s Detective Division has a team of investigators and forensic specialists who are actively working on the case. Since 2011 the team has serviced 18 search warrants, conducted physical evidence searches at nine separate locations, conducted a complete re-examination of every item of physical evidence seized by all agencies involved in this case, submitted 37 evidence items from the early days of the case for modern DNA testing, recovered 140 new items of evidence, conducted 91 person to person interviews, and written 364 supplemental reports, according to the January press release.

Altogether the Sheriff’s Office has spent approximately $62,000 in investigative expenses including, but not limited to, DNA forensic testing as well as investing more than 7,500 employee hours since 2011 when Sheriff Ian Parkinson took office.

"Although it is generally not our practice to comment on items of evidence in active investigations, in this specific case we can confirm that the Sheriff’s Office currently holds two trucks in evidence that belonged to Flores family members in 1996. The Sheriff’s Office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time," the statement concluded.

The trucks from the Flores family refer to Paul Flores, a Cal Poly student who was the last to see Smart alive. Smart was being walked back to her dorm by three other people following an off-campus party. Flores maintains his innocence stating they parted ways when he reached his dormitory which was before hers.

During a taped interview, Flores admitted to previously lying to investigators about a black eye. He said he received it while fixing his truck before ending the interview and refusing to answer questions. He later stated he received it playing basketball. Smart’s bloody earring was also found by a tenant at the former residence of Paul Flores’s mother. This earring has since mysteriously disappeared from police custody and initial searches of the Flores family home yielded no results.

Former San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ed Williams previously said “there are no other suspects” than Paul Flores in Kristin Smart’s disappearance, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

The Smart family filed a civil case of wrongful death against Flores in 2005. Flores has denied any involvement in the disappearance and his family also filed a lawsuit against the Smart family for emotional distress.

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a-1615866178 Mar 15, 2021 08:42 PM
Additional Search Warrant Issued in Kristin Smart Case

"... the search for clues in her death has intensified, with investigators using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar on Monday to canvass a property connected to a “prime suspect,” the authorities said.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said it had obtained a search warrant to comb for evidence at the Arroyo Grande, Calif., home of Ruben Flores, whose son, Paul Flores, was the last person to see Ms. Smart on the day she disappeared in May 1996."
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/15/us/Kristin-smart-death.html

a-1587660495 Apr 23, 2020 09:48 AM
Additional Search Warrant Issued in Kristin Smart Case

"Smart’s bloody earring was also found by a tenant at the former residence of Paul Flores’s mother. This earring has since mysteriously disappeared from police custody..."

It would be interesting to learn how such direct evidence "mysteriously disappeared"? One would think that the police evidence security procedures would preclude something like that.

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