Authorities mum after new search in Kristin Smart cold case


Deputies prepare to have a car towed for evidence, Monday, March 15, 2021, at the Arroyo Grande, Calif., home of Ruben Flores. Ruben is the father of Paul Flores, the sole person of interest in missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart’s 1996 disappearance. (David Middlecamp/The Tribune (of San Luis Obispo) via AP)

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (AP) — The latest of many searches in the nearly 25-year mystery of the disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart ended Tuesday with no comment from authorities on whether it yielded any results.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that service of a search warrant was concluded at the Arroyo Grande home of the father of former student Paul Flores, who has long been under investigation in the case but has never been arrested or charged.

“As with any active investigation we will not be commenting on what, if any, evidence has been discovered,” the office said. “No further info will be released at this time.”

The office announced the search Monday and noted that the use of cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar had been authorized.

Smart, 19, of Stockton, vanished in May 1996 while returning to a dorm at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, after a party. She was seen with Flores, who also was a student at the time.

Arroyo Grande is about 15 miles south of the Cal Poly campus.

Last year, search warrants were served on Paul Flores’ home in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles and at other locations in California and Washington state. Investigators conducted digs on the campus in 2016.

Paul 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 civil lawsuit that was brought against him.

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