Home of 'person of interest' searched in Kristin Smart's 1996 disappearance

An investigation into the 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart took another twist with a second search warrant issued at the home of a former fellow student Wednesday.

Authorities served a search warrant at the Los Angeles County home of Paul Flores, with the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office saying in a statement that investigators were looking for "specific items of evidence."

Smart, 19, vanished in May 1996 while returning to her dorm at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

A friend said Smart had attended an off-campus party and was seen returning to the school with Flores, who was also a student.

She was legally declared dead in 2002, although her body was never found.

Image: Kristin Smart (FBI via AP)
Image: Kristin Smart (FBI via AP)


Flores "continues to be a person of interest" in the cold case, the sheriff's office statement said. The search warrant is sealed by the court.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office assisted in Wednesday's search of Flores' home, which is about 200 miles south of San Luis Obispo.

A search warrant was also served at Flores' home in February. At that time, authorities also served warrants at two locations in San Luis Obispo County and one in Washington State.

"Today's search warrant only involved the home of Paul Flores," Wednesday's statement from the sheriff's office said. Flores, who has been the subject of several police inquiries and searches, has never been charged in connection with the disappearance of Smart.

In January, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said it had seized two trucks that belonged to members of Flores' family in 1996.

In September 2016, sheriff's deputies and FBI agents excavated a section of Cal Poly's campus. The department said at the time that "items of interest" were recovered and were being analyzed, once again bringing attention to the case.

A recent locally produced podcast also renewed interest in the case.

Smart would have turned 43 in February.