Home of Suspect's Dad Searched in Kristin Smart Case

Cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar were to be used
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2021 12:02 AM CDT
Home of Suspect's Dad Searched in Kristin Smart Case
Deputies prepare to have a car towed for evidence, Monday, March 15, 2021, at the Arroyo Grande, Calif., home of Ruben Flores.   (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)

On May 25, it will be a quarter-century since the last time Kristin Smart was seen—and new developments in the California missing persons case continue to roll in. On Monday, authorities served a search warrant at the home of Ruben Flores in Arroyo Grande, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. Smart was a student at the nearby Cal Poly State University San Luis Obispo when she vanished on her way back to her dorm from a party in 1996, and her classmate Paul Flores, Ruben Flores' son, was the last person known to have seen her before she disappeared. The younger Flores remains the only person of interest in the case, and in a news release Monday, the sheriff's office called him the "prime suspect," ABC 7 reports. The New York Times reports police have only recently begun referring to the now-44-year-old that way.

"The Sheriff’s Office has been authorized to utilize cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar during the course of the search," the press release continues. "This process could potentially take one to two days to complete." A spokesperson says it's the most extensive search at that property since Smart disappeared. Smart's family says it is "encouraged" by news of the search. Paul Flores' home was searched in February of last year, along with several other locations, including his mother's home, and "items of interest" were found; his home was raided again in April of that year. This February, he was arrested in Los Angeles, where he now lives, on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He's been released in advance of his court date. He denies involvement in the disappearance of Smart, whose body has never been found, but has not cooperated with police since an initial interview after she vanished. (More Kristin Smart stories.)

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