A San Pedro man who was the last person to see Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student Kristin Smart before she vanished in 1996 was interviewed for about two hours Wednesday as authorities served a series of search warrants in their investigation of the woman’s disappearance.
Search warrants were served at locations in San Pedro, San Luis Obispo County and Washington state, but authorities declined to provide specifics about the nature of the searches.
“Due to the high-profile nature of the investigation into the disappearance and whereabouts of Kristin Smart and to avoid the dissemination of misinformation, the sheriff’s office is announcing this morning it has served search warrants for specific items of evidence inside four separate locations in California and Washington,” Tony Cipolla of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“Two of those locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one location is in Los Angeles County and one location is in Washington state,” Cipolla said.
According to media reports, authorities served a warrant at a home in the 900 block of Upland Avenue in San Pedro around 7 a.m. A man identified by a neighbor as Paul Flores was interviewed for about two hours before he was released and scurried back into the home, ignoring questioned shouted by reporters.
“The search warrants are limited in scope, and sealed by the court,” Cipolla said. “As a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details about them. This is an active and on-going investigation. The sheriff’s office will not be commenting any further and no additional information will be released at this time, nor do we anticipate any additional news releases regarding this investigation.”
According to the Sacramento Bee, authorities recently confirmed that new evidence tied to Smart’s disappearance had been discovered, including two trucks that belonged to members of Flores’ family in 1996.
Flores, who was also a Cal Poly student at the time, was the last person to see the 19-year-old Smart when she went missing from San Luis Obispo on Memorial Day weekend 24 years ago, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Since 2011, the sheriff’s office has served 18 search warrants, conducted physical evidence searches at nine locations, submitted 37 evidence items from the early days of the case for modern DNA testing, recovered 140 new items of evidence, conducted 91 in-person interviews and written 364 supplemental reports, the Sacramento Bee reported.
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