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Neighbors react to new developments in Kristin Smart case

Police searched the backyard, looking for the remains Kristin Smart.
Posted at 7:26 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 00:13:22-04

On Monday, detectives investigating the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart searched the backyard of Ruben Flores, the father of Paul Flores.

Paul Flores is now considered by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office to be the prime suspect in Smart's disappearance back in May of 1996.

Located on White Ct. in Arroyo Grande, the home is just a short drive away from the home of Paul's mother, Susan.

While her house was not searched Monday, it has been several times in the past.

Susan's neighbors reacted to word of the new developments in the Smart case.

Debbie McKee was optimistic, saying, “I just am overwhelmed with the community outreach that Kristin Smart’s case has seen through the years. And it’s still ongoing, and people are still just working so hard, diligently, to try and bring this to a close for her, her family, and all of her friends.”

“The fact that he’s now a prime suspect is like simultaneously exciting and also like yeah, we kind of all assumed he’s been a prime suspect for a while now but it’s exciting that the police are finally naming him as that,” added Julia Luna-Leach.

“I’ve lived in the area for my whole life so I remember as a little kid it being a really big deal in the news. And I know it must be so hard for her family to just not have any answers for so long,” said Ryah Cooley.

Since Smart disappeared, Flores has been a person of interest in the case, which recently gained national notoriety because of the popular podcast "Your Own Backyard."

Julia was curious about the timing, “Some hardcore evidence going on since so long ago… that’s crazy.”

Spencer Cole, another neighbor, said, “It’s crazy. You know, I have a partner – you worry about her even walking our dogs, or me walking alone because you know there’s kids out here.”

The investigation at Ruben Flores’s home is ongoing and could take a few days to complete.