Kristin Smart case: Cops find 'items of interest' from home of man who took the 19-year-old to her dorm

Smart disappeared from the California Polytechnic State University campus in 1996 and has not been seen since


                            Kristin Smart case: Cops find 'items of interest' from home of man who took the 19-year-old to her dorm
Kristin Smart (Getty Images)

California investigators have recovered "items of interest" from the home of a suspect in the disappearance of college student Kristin Smart, who was last seen more than two decades ago.

The San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office announced in a press release that they had served a search warrant for "specific items of evidence" at the Los Angeles County home of Paul Flores.

Flores has long been considered a person of interest in the case as he was the last person to see her alive, and had previously seen authorities search his San Pedro home for evidence linking him to her disappearance.

The recent search warrant stemmed from that raid in February when the Sheriff's Office served search warrants at not just his home, but also three other locations in California and Washington State.

"The search is now concluded and we recovered some items of interest in the case," said Tony Cipolla, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. "We are following up on leads, tips, and good investigative work."

Flores was detained at his San Pedro, California home, and released back to his home after the search, which began at 7 am PT and ended at 10:30 am PT, Cipolla said.

No further details were released, with the press release reading, "As with the search warrants in February, this current search warrant is sealed by the court. As a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them including items sought or recovered during the process."

"This continues to be an active and on-going investigation. The Sheriff's Office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time."

MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported how the FBI may have found a breakthrough in the case in January and had told Kristin's mother Denise to brace herself up for the news they were going to give her.

"Be ready," the FBI told her. "This is really going to be something you don’t expect."

Smart was last seen on the night of May 25, 1996, when she decided to stay late at a frat party at the California Polytechnic State University where she was studying.

She was reportedly found passed out on a neighbor's lawn at 2 am by two fellow students, Cheryl Anderson and Tum Davis, who helped her get to her feet and decided to lead her to her dormitory which was nearby. Shortly after, they were joined by Paul Flores, who offered to assist them in taking Smart back to the dorm.

It was the last time anyone saw her, though the University Police Department initially did not report her as a missing person because they suspected the teen had gone on an "unannounced vacation." She was legally declared dead in 2002 though her body was never found.

In 2016, after more than a decade of inactivity, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced they were probing a new lead in the case. Cadaver dogs were subsequently brought and officials spent nearly three days excavating an area near Smart's dorm in Cal Poly campus.

They found some items, which, as of January 2020, are still being investigated.

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