Kristin Smart case: Police conclude search of home tied to prime suspect in her disappearance

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California sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday concluded their search of the home of Ruben Flores, the father of the man who authorities say is the prime suspect in the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, a day after serving a search warrant at the home. 

“The Sheriff’s Office has concluded its warrant service at the home of Ruben Flores in Arroyo Grande,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “As with any active investigation, we will not be commenting on what, if any, evidence has been discovered. No further information will be released at this time.” 

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said Monday it was serving a search warrant at Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande – a California coastal town about 80 miles north of Santa Barbara.

The sheriff’s office said it had been authorized to use cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar during the course of the search – a process that could take one to two days to complete.  

Investigators left the property overnight, but returned again on Tuesday with roughly two dozen deputies and people in civilian clothes.

Photos taken Tuesday morning by local media show a blue tent set up on the deck of the home. Investigators could be seen with shovels, removing orange buckets from the area.

FILE: This undated photo released by the FBI shows Kristin Smart, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student who disappeared in 1996. 
(FBI via AP)

“We are continuing to use ground-penetrating radar to identify any areas of interest on the property,” sheriff’s office spokesman Tony Cipolla told the San Luis Obispo Tribune Tuesday. “It’s likely we will be out here most of the day.”

Video footage shot by KSBY News showed the parents of Paul Flores – the prime suspect in Kristin Smart’s case – separately driving by the search area.

Fox News has reached out to Smart’s family seeking comment.

The family issued a public statement on Monday saying that they “are encouraged by the news of today’s search of Ruben Flores’ property.”

The Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores. 
(San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office)

“We appreciate the vigilance and professionalism of Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his department and our family looks forward to learning more in the hours and days ahead,” the statement read.

The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kristin Smart was a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo when she vanished while walking home from a party in 1996. Paul Flores, who was also a student at the time, was seen with her, but he has never been arrested or charged.

Flores was arrested Feb. 11 on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. He posted his $35,000 bail and was released from custody later that evening.

Flores is due back in court on June 10. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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