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Arroyo Grande residents pay tribute to Kristin Smart

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Posted at 10:43 PM, Oct 18, 2022

Community members in Arroyo Grande are showing solidarity with the family of Kristin Smart.

Dozens gathered at Heritage Square Park to send a simple and clear message: that they stand with and support the family of Kristin Smart.

People in Arroyo Grande gathered on Tuesday to celebrate after Paul Flores was found guilty of murdering Smart more than 26 years after her disappearance.

"Once it came across the screen that he was guilty— I was at Rooster Creek, we all cheered. I feel like that chapter of this is closed,” said Krista Bandy, co-founder of the newly formed Arroyo Grande Village Association.

“I was just absolutely, tears of joy that finally--after almost 26 years--that we have justice for Kristin Smart,” said Joy Danley, a personal trainer at Kennedy Fitness Club who is involved in the #JusticeforKristin campaign.

The mystery surrounding the Kristin Smart case has been talked about across town for as long as many people can remember.

“It’s mind-blowing that it took this long. Driving by it every single day when we were younger and finally having that result, it’s crazy,” said Grover Beach resident Mindy Calmenson.

Five Cities residents gathered at Heritage Square Park in Arroyo Grande to send a strong message that they stand with smart's family.

“We have prayed for this day. We have been with you side by side. We’re not there with you, but we’re there in spirit with you. I hope that they can go to sleep tonight knowing that justice has been served to some degree,” said Bandy.

“The purple all over is just in memory of Kristen and is that little reminder to think of Kristen in your day, “said Janelle Stava, owner of Village Balloon Co.

Messages to the smart family were written on a banner at Heritage Square Park.

They include:

“Arroyo Grande has never forgotten. Our hearts are with you as #JusticeforKristin is served.”

“Waiting for this day but it still doesn’t feel like enough. Praying for peace, healing and more answers.”

“I don’t feel justice was fully served. For the smart family and everyone that has been following, where is she? I feel like that is a huge factor in this case still,” added Bandy.

“Justice has been served for Paul and we’ve taken him off the streets. He will never be able to harm anyone else again and I’m so grateful that no one gave up,” said Danley.

The show of support will continue this weekend with a fundraiser for the smart family at Kennedy Club Fitness in Arroyo Grande.

“Organizers who have close contact with the family say that the show of support has helped them get through the last 26 years.

“They said it means more than anything, it was the wings that lifted them up to give them the strength--to know that our community was standing behind them with love, prayers, and total support, that meant everything to them,” said Danley.

More than 80 items will be auctioned off at Saturday’s fundraiser which lasts from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.