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More progress is apparently being made in the search for Kristin Smart, a California Polytechnic State University student who vanished in 1996.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s investigators released a statement Wednesday morning stating that they have “served search warrants for specific items of evidence inside four separate locations in California and Washington.”
Two of the locations are in San Luis Obispo County, another is in Los Angeles County, and the fourth location is in Washington State. A sheriff's office spokesperson told Oxygen.com they could not divulge further details.
A FBI spokesperson from the Los Angeles Field Office confirmed to Oxygen.com that they assisted the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office with the Wednesday morning search of a home in the San Pedro area, near Los Angeles. Additionally, members of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office and FBI were spotted Wednesday outside a home in Arroyo Grande, which is located in San Luis Obispo County and belongs to person of interest Paul Flores' mother, The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
Flores became a person of interest in the case after he was the last person to see Smart. Smart vanished after being escorted to her dorm by Flores following a college party. He has never officially been charged in her disappearance. Late last month,though, investigators announced in a press release they confiscated two trucks with ties to his family.
Flores had a black eye the day after Smart’s vanishing and scent dogs trained to alert at the smell of human remains led investigators to his dorm room, though no evidence was found there, a 1998 San Francisco Examiner story reported. The recent "Your Own Backyard" podcast, which focuses on the case, has researched and discussed at length the possibility of Flores being involved in Smart’s disappearance.
Flores has maintained his innocence.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department also announced last month that since 2011, they have recovered "140 new items of evidence” and served 18 search warrants. They say they have conducted 91 in-person interviews and submitted almost 40 pieces of evidence to be reexamined using newer DNA-testing methods. This new effort all began when Sheriff Ian Parkinson took office in 2011.
A spokesperson for the Smart family has declined to comment on this week’s developments. They previously said in a Jan. statement, obtained by Oxygen.com, that this is an “ongoing investigation that is complex, fluid and continuing.”
Smart was declared legally dead in 2002.
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