2 men arrested in 1996 cold case of college student Kristin Smart

2 men arrested in 1996 cold case of college student Kristin Smart”

Parkinson credited the podcast "Your Own Backyard" with helping to bring forth a new witness.

Smart was a 19-year-old freshman when she vanished on Memorial Day weekend of 1996. They did not say if any evidence was found.

On May 27, 1996, a friend of Smart's at Muir Hall, reported Smart missing to the Cal Poly University Police Department.

Paul Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Smart on the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo before she vanished in 1996, was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area.

The news comes about a month after Sheriff Ian Parkinson named Paul as the "prime suspect" in the case, and investigators searched his father's home and property using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. It is unclear what new evidence detectives had unearthed to prompt another search of the property, which was first scoured 20 years earlier, as an affidavit seeking a judge's sign-off on the warrant remains sealed.

Delays in the investigation of the Smart case prompted California lawmakers to pass legislation requiring colleges and universities to share information more quickly about missing students with off-campus police. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that student said he left Smart a block from her Muir Hall dorm, and he returned to his building. Sheriff's investigators didn't get involved until a month later. Smart's body, Parkinson said, has not been recovered, although search efforts continue. Additional evidence related to the murder of Smart was discovered during the search. "There was something of value in various locations that have kept coming up and coming to light".

In February 2020, his parents' and sister's homes were searched on the same day detectives searched Paul's home in San Pedro.

Kristin Smart Pd
Kristin Smart and the of Ruben Flores

Flores went from a "person of interest" to a "suspect", as the case progressed, and eventually became the "prime suspect".

Flores has remained mum through the years, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that was brought against him.

Flores was being held without bail. His defense attorney Robert Sanger declined comment Tuesday. It wasn't immediately clear who his lawyer was.

Investigators are now digging under Rubin Flores' home in another attempt to find the teen's body. They appeared to be disassembling a deck outside the home and the sound of power saws and drills could be heard whining in the background.

An accessory is defined as "a person who, after a felony has been committed, harbors, conceals or aids a principal in such felony, with the intent that said principal may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction or punishment, having knowledge that said principal has committed such felony or has been charged with such felony or convicted thereof".

The disappearance of Kristin Smart is one of California's most enduring mysteries.

Over the years, the case has run mostly lukewarm, never officially going cold.

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