KSBY Investigates: Kristin Smart disappearance - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

KSBY Investigates: Kristin Smart disappearance - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

KSBY Investigates: Kristin Smart disappearance - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

May 25, 2015 marks the 19th anniversary of the day Cal Poly student, Kristin Denise Smart, disappeared. With no body, no crime scene, and no arrests, her missing person's case is among the highest-profile cases on the Central Coast. It leaves Kristin's family, investigators, and the community frustrated and aching for answers.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office says she has never stopped searching for Kristin and is still actively working the case. However, investigators say they need a break.

It all started early in the morning in late May 1996, when Kristin left a party and was last seen outside the Muir Hall dorm, where she lived at the time. That is when the trail goes cold and the mystery begins. Her family is left with no answers while continuing the fight for justice in their daughter's name.

Kristin Smart was 19-years old. She was weeks away from finishing her first year at Cal Poly. Summer break and saying goodbye to her freshman year were just around the corner that Memorial Day weekend. But that night, Kristin never said goodbye to anyone.

Friends of Kristin told investigators she had left a fraternity party and walked back to her dorm room with a friend.

"That's a lot of years, 20 years," says Kristin's father. , Stan Smart. "

Another anniversary of her disappearance and Kristin's family has not stopped their search.

"It is not over with and has not gone to trial, which is an opener for a lot of people I think," explains Smart. "But keeping her name out in front of people, the general public, that is a good thing. Having her picture on a billboard can be a good thing, just as a reminder to people that this happened and it should be resolved." < / p>

In an Arroyo Grande front yard, there stands a billboard, with Kristin's smiling face. I've been there for 19 years, put up by someone Kristin had never met, but who can not forget her.

"Here I am saddened by a person I never knew in my life and my only connection to "Murphy has been working with Kristin's parents, Denise and Stan, since 1996. Together, they have chased hundreds of leads, hoping. just one would lead them to Kristin.

"I have grown to love her through the people who loved her, very wonderful people, Smarts.

In 2002, Kristin was declared legally dead. Murphy believes another former Cal Poly student knows what happened to Kristin.

"All evidence seemed to point toward this man, named Paul Flores," states Murphy. Kristin was seen with the night she went missing, according to police witnesses. Nineteen years later, Sheriff's offices say, Flores remains a person of interest in her case, but he has never been arrested or charged for Kristin's disappearance.

Kristin's parents have filed several wrongful death lawsuits against Flores, starting just months after she went missing.

"When the time comes to try the case, I will get Paul Flores found responsible, I will, "states Murphy. "I will not escape me if I get a court date because I have enough evidence to make it look pretty bad for him."

The evidence thus far, though, has not been strong enough for the Sheriff to make an arrest.

"Some of those rumors and some of those leads have been examined on multiple occasions," says San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson. You can not say that you did not do it, because if you say, hey, it "I've been looking around the backyard and digging the whole backyard, I dig deep enough." "I looked hard enough," said Sheriff Parkinson. "So there are always possibilities."

"It's not what you believe, but it's what you want." can prove, and at the end of the day we can have beliefs about a lot of things but we have to prove it in court, "explains Parkinson. "I have faith in some of the things that we have uncovered. We have a stronger case now in the ability to solve this than we have had in the past years."

Sheriff Parkinson's optimism comes from new help San Luis Obispo County District Attorney.

"What I decided to do was to appoint a Deputy District Attorney, one who could look at the evidence alongside investigators, to assist them to look at different angles that might not be explored in trying to bring a resolution to this case, "says San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow.

"It's uncommon generally, for our particular county, to have a case go unsolved for 19 years," Dow explains. "I will make sure we have everything we can and put every resource we can in making sure we bring justice for Kristin Smart."

Other new partnerships within recent years include the FBI, the California Department of Justice, and the National Center for Missing Children, all working to find those responsible for Kristin's disappearance, and where her remains are.

"As long as there are leads coming in, it is an active case," Sheriff Parkinson.

With Kristin's parents in mind, the Sheriff will only close the case when he has long awaited answers to the Smarts. we recover Kristin, "states Sheriff Parkinson. "I am going to tell you, I am not giving up. This is personal to me. I want nothing more than to be able to pick up the phone or drive to Stockton and sit down with them and tell them the good news." While the search continues for Kristin, her parents are left with a memorial of their daughter in Shell Beach.

"We enjoy going down and visiting the Dinosaur Park and seeing the location where we are getting a little bit of frustration to go back there frankly, until we get it resolved, "says Smart.

Leaving a father and mother yearning for the opportunity to finally to lay their child to rest in the presence of those who loved her For now, only the person who took her, knows where she lies.

Kristin would have been 38-years old on the 19th anniversary of her disappearance. Her family, friends, and investigators hope to mark no more anniversaries with her case unsolved.

Her parents live on the joy of their two children give them and the strength that comes from the hope of one person coming forward with the information that will bring their daughter home.

KSBY-TV has repeatedly tried to reach Paul Flores and his attorney for comment. They have not responded to our requests.

Again, Flores has said in the past that she had nothing to do with Kristin's disappearance and pleaded the Fifth Amendment in any questioning regarding her case.

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