EducationStudent at California Polytechnic State University, Parents Stan and Denise Smart
Kristin Denise Smart (born February 20, 1977, legally presumed dead 2002) is a missing person. She went missing at 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996 while attending California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and has not been heard from since.
The night Kristin disappeared, she had attended a birthday party of a fellow student, which fell on Memorial Day weekend. At approximately 2 a.m., she was found passed out on the lawn of the next door house by two students, Cheryl Anderson and Tim Davis, who were leaving the party. They decided to assist her home and walked her part of the way until another student who was at the party, Paul Flores, joined their group. Paul's dormitory was closer to Kristin's, whereas Cheryl and Tim lived off campus in the opposite direction, so Paul offered to walk her the remainder of the way, allowing them to more conveniently go their separate ways. Paul walked Kristin as far as his dormitory, Santa Lucia Hall, and claims he left her to walk the rest of the way to her dormitory, Muir Hall, by herself (even though Muir Hall is closer in distance than Santa Lucia, and even then the dorms are approximately 50 yards apart). This was the last known sighting of her. She did not have any money or credit cards at the time she went missing.
Theories about Kristin's disappearance
The campus police originally suspected that Kristin had gone on an unannounced vacation, as was common among students over the holidays. It was because of this that the campus police were slow at reporting her as a missing person to local law enforcement.
Paul Flores, the person Kristin was last seen with, came under suspicion and investigation by police after her disappearance. Kristin's parents also suspect his involvement. He was originally questioned by the police at length, but since 1997 has pleaded the fifth amendment. Shortly after Kristin's disappearance, Flores' dorm room was searched by dogs specially trained to detect human remains, and the dogs independently paid particular attention to his mattress and waste bucket, although no physical evidence was recovered. Flores' house was searched twice but no evidence was recovered either. Although Flores remains a suspect, there is no conclusive evidence that he was involved in Smart's disappearance.
During the high profile Laci Peterson murder investigation, it came to investigators' attention that Peterson's husband Scott Peterson-- since convicted for the murder of Laci-- went to California Polytechnic State University at the same time Kristin went there. There was a brief initial inquiry into whether Peterson had any involvement. Peterson was on a list of individuals whom investigators felt warranted closer investigation at the time; however, after some investigation, nothing suggested that Kristin and Scott ever came into contact, and he was ruled out as a suspect. Peterson has publicly denied any involvement in the case.
Kristin's disappearance remains essentially an unsolved case however, and no firmly proven explanation for her disappearance exists.
Kristin's legacy/case and leads today
Kristin's disappearance resulted in the Kristin Smart Campus Security Act being passed by the California State Legislature and signed into effect by then Governor of California Pete Wilson. The law required all colleges and educational institutions campus security to report all cases where there is a possibility that violence may have been used against a student of the institution to the local police force including all missing person's cases.
Kristin Smart was declared legally dead in May 2002, 6 years after her disappearance.
Kristin's parents, Denise and Stan Smart, took a civil case of wrongful death against Paul Flores in 2005, but dropped it after Flores pleaded the fifth amendment.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office still reviews her case monthly. The FBI have her on file as a high priority missing person investigation, with a reward of $75,000 for information leading to finding her or resolving her case.
A local businessman who is a friend of the Smart family, Terry Black, has recently offered a $100,000 reward for Kristin's body in this case.
In 2005, Paul Flores's mother Susan Flores and her boyfriend Mike McConville filed a lawsuit claiming loss of employment, harassment and emotional distress against Kristin Smart's parents and a family friend who operates a website tracking Flores.
Within days of Kristen's disappearance, Susan Flores had concrete poured in the back yard of her home located at 529 East Branch Street, Arroyo Grande, Ca.
In June 2000, a search warrant was executed and Ground Penetrating Radar was used. The radar showed some indications under the concrete but the concrete was not dug up.
In 2007, 11 years after the disappearance of Kirstin Smart, Susan Flores' backyard was dug up but showed up inconclusive.