SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The family of Kristin Smart says they are grateful for the continued support from the community after a judge determined Paul Flores will stand trial for her murder.
The decision to allow the case to head to jury trial was made Wednesday after more than seven weeks of court sessions as part of a whirlwind preliminary hearing.
Paul Flores will go to court to face charges for Smart's murder. His father, Ruben Flores, will face charges for allegedly helping his son to cover up the crime.
The Smart family released a statement on Thursday thanking the community for more than 25 years of unending support.
"Yesterday was a very good day and we want to take this opportunity to thank all of Kristin's supporters in San Luis Obispo and beyond. So many people have played such important roles over the past 25 years, and we are humbled by the amazing support and generosity we have received. We want to especially thank the District Attorney's Office for their relentless efforts.
Our family has always known that this was going to be a long, difficult, and emotional journey. We are now one step closer to justice for Kristin. She – and all who have worked so hard toward this day – deserve nothing less."Statement from Smart Family
The investigation into Kristin Smart's disappearance stretches back to May 25, 1996; Memorial Day weekend.
Smart was a Cal Poly freshman who was last seen walking with Paul Flores to her dorm after a party off campus. Investigators said she never made it to her room, and friends and family never heard from her again.
Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested earlier this year in April.
Paul Flores is accused of killing Smart during an attempted rape at his dorm room. His father is accused of helping his son conceal her body for more than two decades.
Both have pleaded not guilty. They are due back in court for arraignment on Oct. 20.
Ruben Flores remains out on bail, while Paul Flores is still in custody without bail.