Kristin Smart

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 12:58 p.m. to include that Paul Flores was arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Paul Flores, the prime suspect in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, was arrested and charged with murder this morning in San Pedro, according to San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office records.

Ruben Flores, Paul’s father, was also arrested at his Arroyo Grande home this morning on a single charge: accessory after the fact. His bail is set at $250,000. 

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, Ian Parkinson, is holding a press conference at Cal Poly today at 2 p.m. to provide “major” updates on the quarter-century-long case. In-person attendance will be limited, but will be live-streamed on Instagram and Facebook

Another search warrant was served today at Ruben’s Arroyo Grande home, the second one this year. Forensics tents, radar technology, and whirring from the garage were witnessed this morning, via live-streams from Chris Lambert, host of “Your Own Backyard,” a podcast detailing the Kristin Smart case, and KSBY’s Brooke Martell. 

During a March 15, 2o21 search, police named Paul the “prime suspect” in the case for the first time. Cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radars were used during the search, Mustang News reported earlier this year. 

Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996 when she was returning to Cal Poly’s campus after a fraternity party, and witnesses say Paul was the last person to be seen with her. 

Paul was arrested in Los Angeles County in February on suspicions of being a felon in possession of a firearm. That arrest came after information was obtained during the searches of his San Pedro home in February and April of 2020, according to Sheriff’s officials, Mustang News reported. Paul was eventually released on $35,000 bail. 

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