The family of Kristin Smart released a statement Tuesday after the verdicts were read in her murder trial.
Smart was a student at Cal Poly in 1996 when she disappeared after attending an off-campus party.
On Tuesday, the man who was last seen with her, Paul Flores, was found guilty of her murder. His father, Ruben Flores, was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact.
At a press conference later in the afternoon, Stan Smart, Kristin's father, read the following statement:
"Without Kristin, there is no joy or victory with this verdict, we all know it did not have to be this way. We will never be able to hear Kristin's engaging laughter or revel in her embrace. Her hopes and dreams will never be realized; no form of justice can bring these back. After 26 years, with today's split verdicts, we learned that our quest for justice for Kristin will continue. We appreciate and we are beyond grateful for the diligence of both juries and our faith in the justice system has been renewed by knowing the man who took Kristin's life will no longer be free to abuse another family or victim.
"This has been an agonizingly long journey with more downs than ups, but we feel fortunate to have relied on the professional talents and commitment of Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle, District Attorney Dan Dow, Beth Raub, our victim witness advocate, and paralegal Becky Cripe, and the stellar team at the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office. We would also like to acknowledge Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Detective Clint Cole, District Attorney Investigator JT Camp, and the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office for their tireless commitment to making Kristin a priority. The steadfast efforts of this team and so many others ultimately made this day possible.
"Finally, we are also thankful for the selfless contributions of Chris Lambert. His "Your Own Backyard" podcast brought not only new information but much needed light and attention in our darkest hours by sharing Kristin's voice and story.
"Our family is comforted and strengthened by the knowledge that Kristin continues to be held in the hearts and memories of many. We will never be able to personally thank everyone, but please know our gratitude and love goes out to each of you who have been with us on this long, overwhelming, and emotional journey. We are forever stronger together.
"Most importantly, to our Kristin: Almost three decades ago, our lives were irreparably changed on the night you disappeared. We hope this verdict helps deliver not just answers, but also a peace and sense of closure that have eluded us for 26 years. Know that your spirit lives on in each and every one of us, every day. Not a single day goes by where you aren't missed, remembered, loved, and celebrated."
Denise Smart, Kristin's mother, added, "I would like to briefly add my appreciation to everyone that my husband spoke about and to each person who has been the wind beneath our wings to get us through to this day."