Suspect Arrested 25 Years After College Student Disappeared: Family

April 13, 2021 Updated: April 13, 2021

The suspect in the disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart was arrested Tuesday.

Paul Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, were taken into custody early on Tuesday in San Pedro, a Smart family spokesman John Seagle said, according to CNN and KCRA.

Smart, 19, of Stockton, California, vanished while returning to a dorm at California Polytechnic State University in 1996 after a party. Smart was seen with Flores, who was also a student at the time.

In April 2020, a search warrant was served at Flores’ home in San Pedro. Flores, now 44, was arrested in February on a weapons charge unrelated to the case.

A month ago, the San Louis Obispo County Sheriff’s office said Flores was “the prime suspect” in the Smart case.

The office also said: “The search warrant has been sealed. As a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details regarding it. This is an active and on-going investigation. The Sheriff’s Office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time.”

Smart was declared deceased in 2002.

In 2016, following new information, the FBI flew in dogs to dig up part of a hillside at Cal Poly to no avail, reports said.

Derrick Tse, Flores’ roommate at the time, told officials that Flores allegedly admitted to killing Smart. “Yes, I killed her and brought her to my mom’s and she is still there,” Flores allegedly said, according to Tse’s statement.

In January 2020, Kristin’s mother told a Stockton paper that a former FBI agent said she would prepare for a break in the case.

“Be ready. This is really going to be something you don’t expect. We want to give you the support you need,” the agent reportedly told her.