Arrest made in 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart

Arrest made in 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart

John Segale, a Smart family spokesperson, told CNN the family was notified by law enforcement officials Tuesday that Paul Flores and his father, Ruben Flores, were arrested Tuesday morning.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said search warrants were sealed and so he could not disclose what evidence led to the arrests, but he said Smart's remains were not found.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced a press conference that is scheduled take place at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET. Physical evidence was gathered in subsequent searches of the homes of Flores family members, including evidence found in March at Ruben Flores's home that was linked to Smart, according to the sheriff.

After Smart was reporting missing, Paul Flores told investigators that he left a campus party with her shortly before 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996, but parted company about a block from her dorm.

Defence attorney Robert Sanger confirmed Paul was arrested in the Kristin Smart case, though no details were immediately available on the charges he faces.

"Until we return Kristin to (her family) this is not over", Parkinson said.

For years, Paul Flores has been considered by authorities to be a person of interest in Smart's disappearance.

Also arrested was Flores's father, Ruben Flores, now 80 years old, as an accessory.

Smart was legally presumed dead in 2002, and the case has continued to confound investigators.

Kristin Smart, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student who disappeared in 1996. They did not say if any evidence was found.

Kristin Smart Pd
Kristin Smart and the of Ruben Flores

"It's my hope that we're able to take the first step toward justice for the Smart family", Parkinson stated.

Search warrants were served previous year on Paul Flores' home in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles and at other locations in California and Washington state.

"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", they said.

Sheriff Parkinson said his bail had been set at $250,000.

Parkinson partly attributed the developments in the case to new information brought forth by an episodic podcast, "Your Own Backyard", by journalist Chris Lambert.

Parkinson said over 40 search warrants had been executed at 16 locations over the years and so much evidence had been compiled that it would fill three terabytes on a computer hard drive. The sound of power saws and drills whined in the background as they searched under a large deck and in the garage.

Standing on the campus near where Smart was last seen alive with Flores, Parkinson acknowledged missteps by law enforcement hampered the investigation.

He invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that Smart's family brought against him in civil court.

Also on April 13, detectives arrested Paul Flores' father Ruben Flores on an accessory to murder charge. She spoke with the KSBY news station a day after investigators came to her home with another search warrant and carried off her beloved Volkswagen.

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