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San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced that Paul Flores, who had been for years considered the “prime suspect” in the disappearance of Kristin Smart, has been arrested for murder. Paul’s father Ruben Flores has also been arrested and is facing charges of accessory to murder.
KURTIS MING: Nearly 25 years to the day Stockton's Kristin Smart left a college party as a freshman at Cal Poly, never to be seen again, news of two arrests.
IAN PARKINSON: I'm here this afternoon to announce the arrest of Paul Flores for the murder of Kristin Smart, and the arrest of his father, Ruben Flores, as an accessory to the murder.
KURTIS MING: The prime suspect and his father, now in jail, but cops have not found Kristin's body, although the Sheriff thinks they are closer to finding it this afternoon. Thanks for joining us. I'm Kurtis Ming.
ELIZABETH KLINGE: And I'm Elizabeth Klinge. Right now, investigators are serving two search warrants after arresting Paul Flores at his San Pedro home, and his father, Ruben Flores, near San Luis Obispo. That includes using ground penetrating radar equipment in the search. CBS thirteens 13's Renee Santos is in Stockton now, where Kristin's parents and neighbors called this day bittersweet. Renee?
RENEE SANTOS: Yeah, and I just got off the phone with the college friend of Kristin who was there that night, but several people in this neighborhood that I talked to didn't want to go on camera, but say that today is a sigh of relief, including Kristin's parents, who right now are asking for respect and privacy.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff says investigators are still conducting a search warrant that Ruben Flores', Paul's father's, home in Arroyo Grande. Paul, who had been for years considered the prime suspect in the case was also arrested, accused of murder. The Sheriff only telling us Ruben was arrested as an accessory, but wouldn't go into detail about what evidence was found against him. But we do know that forensic and physical evidence has been discovered at two homes in this case, the Sheriff getting a chance to speak with Kristin's parents today.
IAN PARKINSON: I think they're feeling a bit of relief, but as you can imagine, until we return Kristin to them, this is not over.
RENEE SANTOS: Now, just to give you an idea of how extensive this investigation has been, the Sheriff says they have conducted 137 interviews and recovered 193 pieces of evidence. Now, people here in the Smart family neighborhood are sending their prayers, and they do say that these arrests are a step towards justice for their family.
KURTIS MING: All right, Renee. Well, the Sheriff said today, of course, everybody wants to know what this evidence is that they recovered that finally cracked this case. He's not telling us, because he says the Floreses deserve due process. But Kristin would have been in her 40s now. You've got to wonder, all those people who graduated high school with her in Stockton, who went on to have their lives, had their families, being in their 40s now, what they think, to finally have an arrest and a potential path to justice in this case.
ELIZABETH KLINGE: Well, the Smart family released a statement, "for over 24 years, we have waited for this bittersweet day, and it's impossible to put into words what this day means for our family. We pray it's the first step to bringing our daughter home."