STOCKTON, Calif — Sheriff's officials in San Luis Obispo released on Wednesday new information in their investigation into Kristin Smart, who disappeared in May 1996 following a on-campus party at her university.
For decades, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's officials remained tight-lipped in regards to their investigation into Smart's disappearance, even keeping information from the Smart family.
But as years went on, the public interest in Smart's disappearance never waned.
On Wednesday, citing a "large number of recent public inquiries," the sheriff's office released a slew of information pertaining to the case, including the new revelation that the department has two trucks in evidence that belong to the family of Paul Flores, the last person seen with Smart before she went missing.
"Although it is generally not our practice to comment on items of evidence in active investigations, in this specific case we can confirm that the Sheriff’s Office currently holds two trucks in evidence that belonged to Flores family members in 1996," a statement from the sheriff's office read.
The sheriff's office said they've collected evidence, served multiple search warrants and have been in more than 7,500 hours of work related to the case since 2011.
Here's the new information the sheriff released Wednesday, regarding the work they've done since 2011:
- Served 18 search warrants
- Conducted physical evidence searches at nine locations
- Reexamination of every piece of physical evidence seized in the case
- Submitted 37 pieces of older evidence for modern DNA testing
- Recovered 140 new pieces of evidence
- Conducted 91 person-to-person interviews
- Wrote 364 supplemental reports
"Altogether the Sheriff’s Office has spent approximately $62,000 in investigative expenses including, but not limited to, DNA forensic testing," the sheriff's office said.
The 19-year-old Smart disappeared in 1996 after leaving an on-campus party at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo. Smart apparently left the party with Flores, who was 19 years old at the time.
The next morning, Smart's roommate reported her missing to campus police. Flores, who was seen later that day with a black eye, initially offered police officials conflicting information before invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.
Flores was never arrested or charged in Smart's disappearance.
Smart was officially declared dead in 2002, and the case was turned over to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.
Five years later, in 2007, Flores' mother's home was dug up and searched throughout for Smart's remains. Her body was not found.
In 2016, the FBI excavated a site on the edge of the college campus on a hillside about half a mile from where Smart was last seen. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office's Spokesman Tony Cipolla told The Los Angeles Times FBI officers discovered "items of interest," but did not say what they were.
Smart's mother, Denise Smart, told the Stockton Record that the FBI told her recently that she should expect new information regarding her daughter's case.
Denise told The Record that FBI said "Be ready. This is really going to be something you don't expect. We want to give you the support you need."
READ THE LATEST FROM ABC10:
- Suspect arrested for arson after two Sacramento-area churches go up in flames | Update
- Sacramentans pay an extra $129 per year for gas, study says
- Twin Rivers district schools won't shut down, some will reconfigure grade levels following board vote
FOR NEWS IN YOUR COMMUNITY, DOWNLOAD THE ABC10 APP:
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for ABC10's Daily Blend Newsletter