On Tuesday, the sun was shining, waves were crashing and whales breaching at what some call "Kristin's Point" in Shell Beach. A small memorial there pays tribute to Kristin Smart, the Cal Poly student who disappeared from campus more than 26 years ago.
She was a freshman at the university when she went missing in 1996 after attending an off-campus party.
On Tuesday, the last person to be seen with her, Paul Flores, was found guilty of her murder. His father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact.
Community members gathered at Kristin's Point to celebrate the guilty verdict.
"Shocked but thrilled. I think we wanted to dance and cry at the same time," said Shelly Malcolm, a family friend.
"It was overwhelming to me that justice has finally been served after 26 years of heartache. I can't even explain how grateful I am," said family friend Tarren Collins.
"I'm so relieved and so grateful that there's finally justice for her after all this time and her family," added Gina Morey, Grover Beach resident.
Community members say the verdict signifies justice and the end of an emotional journey that's gone on for far too long.
"I think of her family and I just praise those jurors for taking their time and doing the right thing," Morey said.
"Just amazing. Just very grateful. Finally, the truth is setting people free and we're here at Kristin's Point and it couldn't be a better place," Malcolm said.