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The last known person seen with a California college student who disappeared in 1996 has been arrested, according to reports.
Paul Flores, 44, was named last month as the “prime suspect” in the decades-old disappearance of Kristin Smart, who vanished from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo on May 25, 1996. She was declared dead in 2002, although her body has not been found.
Flores was arrested in the Los Angeles area Tuesday, while his father, Ruben Flores, 80, was booked at his home in Arroyo Grande — where San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s investigators conducted a search warrant last month in the case.
“The sheriff’s office has been authorized to utilize cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar during the course of the search,” the department said last month. “This is an active and ongoing investigation.”
Defense attorney Robert Sanger confirmed to the Associated Press that Paul Flores was arrested in Smart’s case, but details of the charges he faces were not immediately available.
Ruben Flores, meanwhile, was arrested on suspicion of accessory after a felony, jail records show.
Sheriff Ian Parkinson has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to discuss “major developments” in the investigation of Smart’s disappearance.
Flores, who had been considered a person of interest in the case prior to being named its top suspect last month, has been uncooperative with investigators.
Smart, a 19-year-old from Stockon, was last seen returning to a dorm after a party at Cal Poly, which Flores also attended at the time.
Flores was arrested on a weapons charge last month after a search warrant was executed at his Los Angeles County home.
Investigators have not said what they found during the search of Ruben Flores’ home, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported.
A spokesman for Smart’s family told CNN that news of the two arrests prompted “really emotional moments” for her relatives.
“A lot of prayers, astonishment, excitement, happiness, and of course sadness. Sadness, because this has gone on for 25 years,” family spokesman John Segale said. “The Smart family had not been able to bury their daughter. There was no closure.”
With Post wires
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