You may notice a new billboard in San Miguel asking residents for information leading to an arrest in a 41-year-old cold case.
The families of five-year-old Teresa Flores and four-year-old Martha Mezo unveiled a billboard on Mission St. near the fire department on the 41st year since the two girls were kidnapped and murdered.
According to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, Teresa and Martha were kidnapped May 17, 1980, as they were walking to Martha's house on Mission St. in San Miguel.
The girls were missing for nearly two weeks before private contractors spotted their bodies in the Salinas Riverbed just north of town.
Christina Flores, Teresa’s sister, is pleading with the community for help.
“If you think you may know the slightest bit of anything, if you could please let the [San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office] know, we are interested in any information whatsoever,” Flores said. “It's just not moving fast enough for me, I mean, nothing is going to be fast enough and I understand that, but it's been 41 years and my patience is running a little thin."
The Mezo-Flores case went cold for decades until Detective Clint Cole re-opened it in 2019.
“We're still working through the pieces. There's nothing that I can comment on right now that's earth-shattering, but it's definitely highly active, being worked on all the time,” Detective Cole said. “I think we have made significant progress from where it was to now. Not as much, though, as we hope to someday."
Detective Cole is also the lead on the Kristin Smart case but said progress on other cases, like this one, is still happening.
Most recently, investigators have been testing DNA samples and re-interviewing witnesses which was delayed during the pandemic.
“We have eliminated some people through DNA results but there are still a lot of people that are considered persons of interest in the case that we are still looking at,” Detective Cole said.
The victims' families are raising money for a $25,000 reward for any clues.
“There was never a reward offered in the case as far as I know and I'm hoping that is an incentive for someone to come forward and give us some information,” Flores said.
Flores also hopes to fundraise $10,000 for a bigger billboard along Highway 101.
Detective Cole believes there are still people in the community with vital information.
“[Tips] can confirm what we know and in some instances, it can actually point us in a direction that we need to go so it's extremely critical,” Detective Cole said. “I know there are people, I have spoken to people who still live in this town who were here when this incident happened.”
The San Miguel Fire Department and Chamber of Commerce helped the families pay for the billboard.
A GoFundMe has also been set up to raise money for a larger reward.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office at (805) 788-2157.