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Father of San Pedro man at center of case into Kristin Smart’s 1996 disappearance is arrested

The father of the long-time person of interest in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart was arrested on suspicion of accessory after the fact on Tuesday morning, April 13, records show – hours before the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department is expected to announce “major developments” in the case.

Paul Flores, the man who for years officials have described as a person of interest in the case, has lived in San Pedro for 10 years. Investigators searched his home last year and the father’s home in Arroyo Grande last month.

The father, Ruben Flores, 80, was arrested in Arroyo Grande at around 9:30 a.m., inmate records show. He was being held on $250,000 bail.

Officials are scheduled to discuss the developments during a 2 p.m. press conference.

Flores, who was a California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo student along with Smart, was the last known person to see her and had become the “prime suspect” in the case, the Sheriff’s Department has said.

The 19-year-old Smart, who was from Stockton, vanished while returning to a university dorm after a party.

Flores has told detectives he walked Smart to her dorm after the party, authorities have said, and he became a person of interest shortly after her disappearance.

In 2002, a judge declared Smart dead. In 2016 a portion of the Cal Poly campus was excavated in an effort to find her remains.

Flores’s home in San Pedro was searched by investigators in February 2020 and again in April that year. His father’s residence is less than 20 miles south of the campus.

Investigators in March were given legal authorization to use cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar in their search on Ruben Flores’ property in the 700 block of White Court. That search warrant was sealed.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Source: Orange County Register

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