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Crime

SLO County Sheriff’s investigators use cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar during latest search for Kristin Smart

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. - A new development in the nearly 25-year search for missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart on Monday.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office conducted an extensive search using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar at a property in Arroyo Grande.

The Arroyo Grande home on the 700 block of White Ct. is the residence of Ruben Flores.

Flores is the father of Paul Flores, who has been has been named as "the prime suspect in the disappearance of Kristin Smart."

The Sheriff's Office said the search warrant used is sealed, which will prevent the department from revealing too much information.

"In order to get a search warrant you have to have an affidavit," said Dan Payne, a retired FBI special agent. "Somebody has to swear to the truthfulness of the information establishing probable cause why that site has to be search and what they're looking for. You have to describe the site, or the person, and the items that you're looking or planning to seize."

Payne added the use of cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar, "Tells me they're looking for human remains and the ground penetrating radar will only show disturbances in the earth if its been dug or changed in some way."

“We are encouraged by the news of today’s search of Ruben Flores’ property," a statement from the Smart Family said. "We appreciate the vigilance and professionalism of Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his department and our family looks forward to learning more in the hours and days ahead.”

The search started shortly after 7:30 a.m.

"I walk out my front door, and I look over here and I see the caution tape," said Justin Negrete, who lives right across the street. "I see the cars. I see all the police and I'm like, wow, this is for real."

Monday's activities marked the third search of the property, following one conducted early in the investigation, and another in February 2020.

"It would be nice if they did find everything that they're looking for and put an end to this," said neighbor Tom Negrete. "As far as it being right across the street, that's kind of scary. Makes it kind of like and Elm Street area."

Due to the high-profile nature of the case, interested visitors came out to the scene all day long.

"I had to come out and see it for myself just because we want closure and we want justice for Kristin and her family," said Sandy Danger, who drove in from Santa Maria. "We're all wishing that something does come out of this and that she is found to give her family a piece of mind and justice and closure for the family."

The Sheriff's Office said these new tactics in the search could take two days to complete. They warn traffic in the area may be impacted for non-resident vehicles.

Kristin Smart

Smart disappeared in 1996 walking back to her Cal Poly dorm room in San Luis Obispo.

Paul Flores is the last known person to see Smart alive.

California / San Luis Obispo County
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