The family of Kristin Smart released a statement Tuesday following the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores in connection with the disappearance of Kristin back in May 1996.
“For over twenty-four years, we have waited for this bittersweet day. It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home. While Kristin’s loving spirit will always live in our hearts, our life without her hugs, laughs and smiles is a heartache that never abates. The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain. We now put our faith in the justice system and move forward, comforted in the knowledge that Kristin has been held in the hearts of so many and that she has not been forgotten.
We honor Kristin today and those who worked with unparalled tenacity and dedication to bring us to this day. Without Kristin in our life, there will never be justice, but we will pray for peace. Unfortunately, the indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early on set the course for many years.
However, when Sheriff Parkinson took office in 2011, he made a promise that Kristin’s disappearance would be one of his top priorities. We are here today because he has remained true to his word. We have kept the faith; never given up; and fully placed our trust and support with him and his team.
The task he and his team accepted was unprecedented in volume and scope, yet they met every setback and challenge with resolve and an unequaled commitment to Kristin and our family.
Our gratitude to Sheriff Parkinson and his department for their professionalism, compassion, and perseverance is without measure. We are forever grateful for Detective Clint Cole who joined ‘Team Kristin’ in 2017 and brought new oxygen to Team Kristin and kept our hopes alive. We would not be here today without his professionalism, perseverance, and dedication. His heart and commitment are without equal.
We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the exceptional skills, indefatigable work and unselfish dedication of Christopher Lambert who produced Your Own Backyard Podcast. Chris, along with four incredible angels (C, J, J, and J), balanced Kristin on their shoulders while lightening our burden and held our hearts and hopes with fierce resolve and commitment. There simply are ‘no words’!
We also wish to extend our deepest gratitude for all those on the SLOSO team, including Commander Nate Paul, Detective Cole, and their incredible and dedicated support staff. To each law enforcement agency that assisted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department with their extraordinary efforts, our gratitude is immeasurable. Each gave 110% to ensure that this day would come.
We are pleased that Kristin’s case has now moved to the district attorney’s office, where we know we will be in good hands, and look forward to the day when there will be ‘justice’ for Kristin.
To HEAL, we must REMEMBER not only Kristin but also every heart that carried Kristin and our family in theirs! Kristin’s story is ultimately one of unwavering commitment, resilience and immense gratitude.
The Smart family attorney also released a statement, saying:
“James R. Murphy, Jr., A Law Corporation is encouraged by and grateful to the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department who have exerted a heroic effort to bring Paul Flores and Ruben Flores to justice. We believe that now is the time for the San Luis Obispo District Attorney to criminally prosecute everyone and anyone who was involved in Kristin’s disappearance. We hope that the decades long investigation undertaken by the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorneys’ Office, the Smart family, and our law firm can finally conclude with all participants in this heinous crime being brought to justice. We are steadfast in our commitment to hold each and every individual civilly liable for their criminal conduct. We are eternally grateful to Ian Parkinson for his courage and leadership; we would not be celebrating the arrest of these two criminals had it not been for his remarkable efforts and commitment to Kristin and the Smart family. While bringing Paul Flores and Ruben Flores to justice is the ultimate goal, nothing can alleviate the pain and suffering the Smart family has suffered and will continue to endure for the rest of their lives.”
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement:
“The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office is evaluating the Kristin Smart investigation following the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores. We are carefully reviewing the evidence and will provide more information as it becomes available”
An announcement on charges could come as soon as Wednesday with Paul expected in court on Thursday.
Ruben, 80, and Paul, 44, both remained in custody as of Tuesday evening, according to jail logs.
Ruben is being held on suspicion of accessory to murder with bail set at $250,000. Paul is being held without bail on suspicion of murder.