NewsKristin Smart Case


Central Coast residents reflect on Kristin Smart case as trial begins

Kristin Smart memorial.JPG
Posted at 4:14 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 22:18:14-04

The Kristin Smart murder trial is now underway in Salinas and Central Coast residents are following along closely.

"People don't forget horrible tragedies like this," said Grover Beach resident Barbara Porscher, who frequently drives by the Kristin Smart billboard on Branch Street in Arroyo Grande.

Smart was a student at Cal Poly when she disappeared in May of 1996. A fellow student, Paul Flores, is now charged with her murder. His father, Ruben, is charged as an accessory.

"Whenever you go into the Village and you see the big sign, it takes your heart a moment to think about what her family must have gone through, and what she as an individual went through," Porscher continued.

The trial started with opening statements on Monday.

"I remember when she went missing, followed the case originally, and I was an avid listener of the [Your Own Backyard] podcast," added fellow Grover Beach resident Julie Smith.

On Monday morning, some people visited the Kristin Smart memorial at Dinosaur Caves Park in Shell Beach.

"Because we were in the area, I wanted to come check out the memorial, and then I remembered that the trial started today," said Santa Maria resident Andrea Munoz.

She says she has been familiar with the case since she was a child and began following the situation even more closely following the arrest of Paul Flores back in April of last year.

"It is the closest you can be to her, without actually being with her," Munoz said when asked why she likes visiting the memorial.

Locals also say that after more than two decades, they are looking forward to a verdict.

"I am just hoping for the best closure for the family, and that justice is served," Smith said.

"I think that now is time for it to be decided once and for all, and I think that will be better for everyone here on the Central Coast," added Arroyo Grande resident Lori Morse.

Many people also voiced their approval of the trial being moved out of San Luis Obispo County, saying they felt the case needed an impartial jury after so many years of publicity on the Central Coast.