INVESTIGATORS in the Kristin Smart cold case used cadaver dogs and radar to search a home on Monday nearly 25 years after the student disappeared.
Detectives served a search warrant at the Arroyo Grande house of Ruben Flores, who is he father of “prime suspect” Paul Flores, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.
A judge allowed the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office to use dogs and ground-penetrating radar to execute the search linked to Smart, who vanished on May 25, 1996, on her way home from a party outside of her campus.
“This process could potentially take one to two days to complete,” sheriff’s office spokesman Tony Cipolla told the newspaper.
The search warrant was sealed and “as a result, we are precluded by law from disclosing any further details regarding it,” Cipolla said.
He added that the investigation is “active and ongoing” and that the sheriff’s office would not be commenting further or releasing additional information for the time being.
Smart’s family members said they were “encouraged” by the new search.
“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 family said in a statement.
When Smart vanished, law enforcement officials used horses, radar and helicopters to search for her.
Smart’s body was never recovered but she was declared deceased in 2002.
Federal investigators in 2016 dug on a hill near the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus searching for Smart’s remains and also looked at the yard of a home.
Paul Flores, also a student at the time, was the last person spotted with Smart and has denied any wrongdoing in her case.
He was seen walking on a path to the dormitories the night that Smart vanished and was questioned about her whereabouts.
Paul Flores was arrested in February on suspicion of being a felon possessing a firearm, after San Louis Obispo and Los Angeles county sheriff’s deputies searched his home in April.
Authorities in February also searched a house on the 900 block of West Upland Avenue and three more places in California and Washington state.
The searches are part of an effort to obtain DNA and other evidence that could lead to information on Smart’s mysterious disappearance, several sources told the Times.
Smart’s family sued Paul Flores and he in turn invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination in a civil deposition and before a grand jury.
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