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New search warrants served in Kristin Smart disappearance, Paul Flores questioned

Paul Flores
Paul Flores, person of interest in the Kristin Smart missing person case, is questioned by SLO County Sheriff's investigators at his San Pedro home Wednesday Morning (Courtesy KCBS)
Kristin Smart

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif - The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced search warrants were served Wednesday morning involving the disappearance of Kristin Smart.

Sheriff's officials had warrants for four locations in two states, California and Washington. Two locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one is San Pedro in Los Angeles County and the final location is in Kenmore, Washington, about 12 miles northeast of Seattle.

Search warrants were carried out by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, along with assistance from the FBI.

A Sheriff's spokesperson said Paul Flores, a person of interest in the case, and the last known person to see Smart alive, was briefly detained and questioned this morning at his San Pedro home.

In addition, "some items of evidence" were taken from inside the locations where the search warrants were served.

According to the Sheriff's Office, those items will now be analyzed as related to the case.

One of the confirmed San Luis Obispo County locations was at the Arroyo Grande home of Flores's mother, Susan Flores.

According to neighbors, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office and FBI investigators arrived at the East Branch Street house sometime before 7 a.m.

"I got out of bed, we came over and looked, and there was five to seven authorities," said Skyler Perry, who lives nearby. "One of them was from the FBI. They were just going in and out of the backyard and in and out of the house through the front door."

Once word of the search warrants began to spread through the media and social media, it brought onlookers out to the scene.

I have kids that are 22 and 18 and it's heartbreaking," said Francine Aragon, who came from Santa Maria to be at the location. "Her mother should have had justice a long time ago."

Visiting the scene with Aragon was Pete Leyva, who said he is an avid follower of the case.

"There's a lot of people that are heartfelt and want to see justice done," Leyva said. "It will prevail. If law enforcement is doing their job, they'll get all the evidence together and hopefully, this will conclude soon."

Smart was a Cal Poly student who vanished in May of 1996. Her case has been brought back into the spotlight due to the popular "Your Own Backyard: The Disappearance of Kristin Smart" podcast and heightened media coverage.

The family of Kristin Smart declined to release a statement regarding today's events.

California / San Luis Obispo County
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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Joe Buttitta

Joe Buttitta co-anchors The Morning News on KEYT NewsChannel 3 and NewsChannel 12 as well as NewsChannel 3 Midday. To learn more about Joe, click here

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