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New photos and video: Search warrants served for evidence in relation to Kristin Smart case 

FBI at Susan Flores home

SLO County Sherrif’s investigators and FBI agents at the home of Susan Flores in Arroyo Grande.

Update Feb. 5, 2020:

–The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday morning that it has served search warrants for specific items of evidence at four separate locations in California and Washington in relation to the Kristin Smart case. Two of those locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one location is in Los Angeles County, and one location is in Washington State.

Kristin Smart

Kristin Smart

On Wednesday morning at around 9 a.m., sheriff’s investigators and FBI agents cordoned off the home of Susan Flores in the 200 block of Branch Street in Arroyo Grande. Susan and Ruben Flores are the parents of Paul Flores, 43, who is the last person known to have seen Kristin Smart before her disappearance in 1996.

Investigators were seen taking photos inside and outside of the house. Investigators carried bags and items out of the house, including a computer, and loaded them into a van. Ruben and Susan Flores were both present at this morning’s search, according to an eyewitness. Ruben Flores was seen inside the house arguing with investigators.

Investigators seized a computer they are loading into a van at the home of Susan Flores in Arroyo Grande, Calif.

There was no sign that investigators were excavating in the property’s backyard, where many have speculated that Kristin Smart could be buried.

Authorities gathered “some items of interest,” SLO County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla told the New York Times. The discovery of the items, which Mr. Cipolla declined to describe, raised hopes that the case might finally be solved, the Times wrote. “We will now analyze those and see how they relate to this case,” Cipolla said in the interview. “We would like nothing more than to bring closure to the Smart family in this case.”

In Southern California, investigators with the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were seen at about 9 a.m. outside the home of Paul Flores in the 900 block of West Upland Avenue in San Pedro, CBSN and KTLA news reports.

KSBY reported an additional search warrant was served on Ruben Flores’s Arroyo Grande home, and the fourth search warrant was served at a home near Kenmore, Washington, where Paul’s sister reportedly lives.

The search warrants are limited in scope and sealed by the court. As a result, the sheriff’s office says they are precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them. This is an active and on-going investigation. The Sheriff’s Office says it will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time, nor do they “anticipate any additional news releases regarding this investigation.”

–Images by photographer Jason Brock

Update posted Jan. 30, 2020:

Sheriff’s office now in possession of two trucks potentially related to Kristin Smart case


kristin smart
–In response to a large number of recent public inquiries, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is releasing the following information in the Kristin Smart investigation:

The Sheriff’s Detective Division has a team of investigators and forensic specialists who are actively working on the Kristin Smart case. Since 2011 this work has included:

• The service of 18 search warrants
• Conducting physical evidence searches at nine separate locations
• A complete re-examination of every item of physical evidence seized by all agencies involved in this case
• Submission of 37 evidence items from the early days of the case for modern DNA testing
• Recovery of 140 new items of evidence
• Conducting 91 person to person interviews
• The writing of 364 supplemental reports

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

Although it is generally not a practice for the sheriff’s office to comment on items of evidence in active investigations, in this specific case they said that they 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.

Story Jan. 20:

The Stockton Record reported Saturday that answers might be forthcoming in the 1996 disappearance and presumed death of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart.

From the Record:

Something may break soon in the case of Kristin Denise Smart, the former Stockton resident and student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, whose disappearance in 1996 remains unsolved.

Kristin’s mother, Denise Smart, said she recently has been contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and told to be ready for a development that might bring closure to her 23-year nightmare. Denise said she was told by authorities, “Be ready. This is really going to be something you don’t expect. We want to give you the support you need.”

The FBI also suggested she secure a family spokesperson and the family “might want to get away for a while.” What the FBI didn’t say is when this development might be announced. – Read the full original report here.

Kristin Smart’s disappearance:

Kristin Denise Smart (born Feb. 20, 1977, legally presumed dead May 25, 2002) was abducted and killed at the end of her freshman year of college, May 25, 1996, on the campus of California Polytechnic State University. Three fellow students escorted Smart back to her hall of residence after an off-campus party. Her death is an actively investigated missing person case.

On Sept. 6, 2016, the San Luis Obispo Sheriff Department reported it had received information about the possible location of Smart’s remains, resulting in a hillside excavation on the Cal Poly campus. After five days of digging, bones were recovered from at least one excavation site. However, it was initially unclear if the findings were animal or human, and forensic analysis may take months to determine this.

In September 2019, freelance journalist and podcast producer Chris Lambert completed five episodes of a podcast that tells the story of who Smart was and explores the details of her disappearance. Hear his Your Own Backyard podcast here.


About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at