Suspect and his father arrested 25 years after California university student disappeared

Kristin Smart case: Paul Flores, prime suspect, arrested nearly 25 years after her disappearance, reports say

His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was arrested in the San Luis Obispo County town of Arroyo Grande on charges of being an accessory after the fact, the source said.

Although Flores had always been a suspect, Parkinson said no arrests had been made because law enforcement can't arrest someone based on "what we might believe, it has to be based on physical evidence".

As San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office investigators searched the Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores on Tuesday, people gathered outside to take in the spectacle - some seated in cars and others walking by and livestreaming video of the scene.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paul Flores was the last person seen with Kristin Smart before she vanished from a college campus on California's scenic Central Coast almost 25 years ago and suspicion has followed him ever since.

Ruben was booked on suspicion of accessory after a felony, according to San Luis Obispo County jail records. Defense attorney Robert Sanger declined to comment, though he confirmed Flores was arrested. He reportedly "pulled his arms into his T-shirt, scrunched over at the waist in his chair and lifted his feet off the floor, as if moving toward a fetal position" and said, "If you are so smart, then tell me where the body is".

The FBI says that Smart, a student at California Polytechnic State University, was last seen at about 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996.

Even though maybe they've been tirelessly toiling in the background all these years, it seems like investigators only start trying again to solve the 25-year-old Kristin Smart murder case every five years.

She was seen with Paul, who was a student at the time. But for decades, despite multiple rounds of interrogations and searches using radar and cadaver dogs, Smart's body was never found.

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On May 25, 1996, Kristin Smart, a freshman at California Polytechnic State University, left an off-campus fraternity party near the school, which is located in San Luis Obispo. Parkinson said the podcast led investigators to a witness in 2019 who was not previously interviewed.

The Smart family released a preliminary statement on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, California authorities announced they had evidence to arrest and charge Flores, now 44, in Smart's death. That is, until Orcutt resident Chris Lambert launched his "Your Own Backyard" podcast examining the case and sparking new attention. New information helped detectives obtain a court order to monitor Paul Flores's cellphone.

A spokesman for the Smart family (pictured holding a photo of Kristin Smart) said "this is an extremely emotional day".

Standing on the campus near where Smart was last seen alive with Flores, Parkinson acknowledged missteps by law enforcement hampered the investigation.

Parkinson said over 40 search warrants had been executed at 16 locations over the years and so much evidence had been compiled that it would fill three terabytes on a computer hard drive.

Investigators are now digging under Rubin Flores' home in another attempt to find the teen's body.

Paul has remained silent through the years, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that was brought against him.

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