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Sheriff's deputies search Paul Flores's family home in Arroyo Grande with cadaver dogs, ground-penetrating radar

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Posted at 7:47 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 10:39:20-04

UPDATE (8:00 p.m.) - Investigators primarily focused their search on the backyard and lower deck. Crews used ground-penetrating radar to canvas the property and could be seen going underneath the house with the mechanism and with cadaver dogs.

It's unclear what evidence was found, if any, however, deputies are expected to continue the search Tuesday.

Susan Flores drove by the house with Ruben to get Ruben's mail around 5:30 p.m. Shortly before, Susan's boyfriend could be seen driving by the area as well.

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UPDATE (2:15 p.m.) - The vehicle towed from Ruben Flores' home Monday morning was a 1985 Volkswagen registered to Ruben and Susan Flores, according to the DMV.
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UPDATE (9:20 a.m.) - An older-model Volkswagen was being towed from the home of Ruben Flores after cadaver dogs searched the vehicle.

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(7:47 a.m.) - Another search warrant in connection to the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart was served Monday morning in Arroyo Grande, this time at the home of Paul Flores's father.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is searching the yard of Ruben Flores's home, located in the 700 block of White Ct. in Arroyo Grande.

Investigators are using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in their search, according to sheriff's officials.

Paul Flores is the longtime person-of-interest in Smart's disappearance. For the first time on Monday, investigators officially called him the "prime suspect."

Following news of Monday's search, the Smart family released the following statement: “We are encouraged by the news of today’s search of Ruben Flores’ property. We appreciate the vigilance and professionalism of Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his department and our family looks forward to learning more in the hours and days ahead.”

Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996, after returning to campus from a fraternity party in San Luis Obispo.

Witnesses said Flores was the last person to be seen with her.

Last month, Flores was arrested in Los Angeles County on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Sheriff's officials said that arrest came as a result of information obtained during searches of his San Pedro home in February and April of 2020, when investigators were reportedly looking for items of interest in the Smart case.

The February 2020 investigation also included searches at the two Arroyo Grande homes of Flores's parents, Ruben and Susan, and his sister's home in Washington state.

Sheriff's officials say the current search could take a couple of days to complete and traffic in the area may be impacted.

Officials say the search warrant is sealed and no other information on the "active and ongoing investigation" will be released at this time.