Kristin Smart was a 19-year-old student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo when she vanished without a trace in May 1996. Her disappearance shocked the local community and made national headlines, sparking a decades-long search for answers.
On May 25, 1996, Smart was last seen walking back to her dorm room after attending an off-campus party. She was accompanied by Paul Flores, another student at Cal Poly, who was the last person known to have seen her alive. Flores told authorities that he had walked Smart back to her dorm room and left her there, but no one ever saw or heard from her again.
For years, Smart’s family held out hope that she would be found alive. They worked tirelessly to keep her case in the public eye, holding vigils, raising awareness, and working with law enforcement to follow up on any leads that might bring them closer to finding their daughter.
In 2020, after nearly 25 years of searching, Smart’s family finally got the answers they had been seeking. In September of that year, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office announced that they had discovered human remains on a property in Arroyo Grande, California, belonging to Flores’s family. The remains were later identified as Smart’s.
The discovery of Smart’s body brought renewed attention to her case and the circumstances of her disappearance. It also led to the arrest of Paul Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, in April 2021. Paul Flores has been charged with murder, while his father has been charged with accessory to murder.
The story of Kristin Smart’s disappearance and the search for justice for her and her family is the subject of a recent documentary on the Oxygen network. “The Disappearance of Kristin Smart” examines the case in detail, interviewing family members, law enforcement officials, and others involved in the investigation.
Kristin Smart’s family has described her as a bright, energetic, and compassionate young woman who had a passion for helping others. She was an accomplished athlete and student, who had been accepted to several prestigious universities before choosing to attend Cal Poly. Her family has said that they hope her story will serve as a reminder to others to be vigilant and take precautions to stay safe, particularly when socializing with others.
In the years since her disappearance, Kristin Smart’s family has worked tirelessly to keep her memory alive and to bring her killer to justice. While the discovery of her body has provided some closure, they have said that there is still much work to be done to ensure that those responsible for her death are held accountable.
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