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Search warrants issued in case of vanished college student Kristin Smart

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 12:57:22-05

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. -- Law enforcement served search warrants in the case of Kristin Smart, a college student who vanished in California 24 years ago and is presumed to be dead.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced on Wednesday that the warrants included a search for specific items of evidence inside four separate locations in California and Washington.

Two of those locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one location is in Los Angeles County and one location is in Washington State, a press release stated.

Wednesday morning, KSBY crews witnessed sheriff's deputies and FBI investigators at the Arroyo Grande home of Susan Flores, the mother of the only person of interest in the case, Paul Flores.

FBI investigators were seen putting up tape around the home on Branch St.

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"The search warrants are limited in scope, and sealed by the court," public information officer Tony Cipolla stated. "As a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them."

The press release stated the sheriff's office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time. It also said the office does not anticipate any additional news releases regarding this investigation.

Last week, the sheriff's office announced they have two vehicles related to the investigation in evidence.

The two trucks, which sheriff's officials say belonged to family members of Paul Flores in 1996, have been a hot topic in recent episodes of the "Your Own Backyard" podcast, which chronicles the disappearance of California Polytechnic State University student Kristin Smart in 1996 and the investigation that followed.

Flores was one of the last people to see Smart and has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

The sheriff's office also detailed the work that has been done on the case since it was made a priority for the department in 2011:

  • 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

Smart was last seen returning to campus after attending a party in San Luis Obispo one night in May 1996. While her body has never been found, Smart was declared legally dead in 2002.

This story was originally published by Dustin Klemann at KSBY.