Search Warrants Issued in Kristin Smart Case
Kristin Smart (courtesy photo)
Due to the high-profile nature of the investigation into the disappearance and whereabouts of Kristin Smart and to avoid the dissemination of misinformation, the Sheriff's Office is announcing this morning it has served search warrants for specific items of evidence inside four separate locations in California and Washington.
Two of those locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one location is in Los Angeles County and one location is in Washington State. The search warrants are limited in scope, and sealed by the court. As a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them. This is an active and on-going investigation. The Sheriff's Office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time, nor do we anticipate any additional news releases regarding this investigation.
New Details Emerge in Kristin Smart Case
The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office released new information Wednesday in the disappearance of Kristin Smart that occurred over 20 years ago.
Smart was a 19-year-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.
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.
On Wednesday afternoon, the San Luis Obispo 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 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.
Flores currently lives in San Pedro while his parents live in Arroyo Grande.