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Kristin Smart and Paul Flores

Kristin Smart: Family makes statement following arrest of prime suspect in missing Cal Poly student case

The family of 19-year-old Kristin Smart released a statement Tuesday, following the news of an arrest made nearly 25 years after Smart’s disappearance.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paul Flores, the prime suspect in the disappearance and presumed death of a Cal Poly freshman, Kristin Smart, was booked Tuesday in the San Luis Obispo County jail on suspicion of murder.

Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, 80, was also arrested Tuesday morning at his Arroyo Grande residence, on a charge of “accessory after the fact of a felony” according to San Luis Obispo County jail records, AP reports. His bail has been set at $250,000.

According to jail records, bail has not yet been set for Paul Flores.

Read more details about the Kristin Smart case here 

John Segale, a spokesperson for the Smart family, released a statement from the family on Tuesday afternoon.

“Given that this is an extremely emotional day, the Smart family will not be conducting any interviews and will not be meeting with any reporters today or in the foreseeable future,” Segale said.

“Please respect their desire for privacy and do not call or go to their home. If you need more information or have questions, please call or text me at 916.600.1081. I will always respond to your inquiries as soon as possible. The following statement was written by the family. It is long, it is passionate and, after 25 years, every word was chosen because it has meaning and purpose. Feel free to use as you see fit.”

For over twenty-four years, we have waited for this bittersweet day.  It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home.  While Kristin’s loving spirit will always live in our hearts, our life without her hugs, laughs and smiles is a heartache that never abates.  The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain.  We now put our faith in the justice system and move forward, comforted in the knowledge that Kristin has been held in the hearts of so many and that she has not been forgotten. 

We honor Kristin today and those who worked with unparalled tenacity and dedication to bring us to this day. Without Kristin in our life, there will never be justice, but we will pray for peace. Unfortunately, the indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early on set the course for many years.

However, when Sheriff Parkinson took office in 2011, he made a promise that Kristin’s disappearance would be one of his top priorities. We are here today because he has remained true to his word. We have kept the faith; never given up; and fully placed our trust and support with him and his team. 

The task he and his team accepted was unprecedented in volume and scope, yet they met every setback and challenge with resolve and an unequaled commitment to Kristin and our family.

 Our gratitude to Sheriff Parkinson and his department for their professionalism, compassion, and perseverance is without measure.   We are forever grateful for Detective Clint Cole who joined ‘Team Kristin’ in 2017 and brought new oxygen to Team Kristin and kept our hopes alive. We would not be here today without his professionalism, perseverance, and dedication. His heart and commitment are without equal.

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the exceptional skills, indefatigable work and unselfish dedication of Christopher Lambert who produced Your Own Backyard Podcast. Chris, along with four incredible angels (C, J, J, and J), balanced Kristin on their shoulders while lightening our burden and held our hearts and hopes with fierce resolve and commitment. There simply are ‘no words’! 

We also wish to extend our deepest gratitude for all those on the SLOSO team, including Commander Nate Paul, Detective Cole, and their incredible and dedicated support staff. To each law enforcement agency that assisted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department with their extraordinary efforts, our gratitude is immeasurable. Each gave 110% to ensure that this day would come. 

We are pleased that Kristin’s case has now moved to the district attorney’s office, where we know we will be in good hands, and look forward to the day when there will be ‘justice’ for Kristin. 

To HEAL, we must REMEMBER not only Kristin but also every heart that carried Kristin and our family in theirs! Kristin’s story is ultimately one of unwavering commitment, resilience and immense gratitude.

For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Here is a previous episode on the case. 

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[Feature Photo: Kristin Smart/Handout; Paul Flores/Police Handout]