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Person of interest in Kristin Smart's 1996 disappearance arrested on weapons charge

Written by on February 12, 2021

Paul Flores, a person of interest in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday. 

Flores posted his $35,000 bail and was released Thursday evening, according to Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Department inmate records. 

Smart was a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo when she vanished while walking home from a party in 1996. Flores, who was also a student at the time, was seen with her, but he has never been arrested or charged. 

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Police searched four locations in California and Washington state in relation to the case last February. 

<img src="https://www.kslm.news/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/MISSING-STUDENT-COLD-CASE-AP.jpg" alt="Police searched four locations on Feb. 5, 2020 in relation to the disappearance of Kristin Smart nearly 25 years ago. 
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)”>

Police searched four locations on Feb. 5, 2020 in relation to the disappearance of Kristin Smart nearly 25 years ago. <br> (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Associated Press)

Police also searched Flores’ home in Los Angeles County last April “for specific items of evidence.”

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office told The Tribune that Flores’ arrest Thursday “originated as a result of information obtained during our search warrants last year at the home of Paul Flores as part of the Kristin Smart investigation.”

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The investigation into Smart’s disappearance is still active, with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office saying last year that 91 interviews have been conducted and at least 18 search warrants have been executed since 2011. 

Police also conducted digs in 2016 at the campus where Smart went missing. 

Flores is due back in court on June 10. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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