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After Home Search, Mom Of Kristin Smart Case's Prime Suspect Says Family Has Been Harassed For Decades

Susan Flores, the mother of the lead suspect in the Kristin Smart case, has broken her silence after a quarter-century following the confiscation of her beloved Volkswagen. 

By Gina Tron
Cadaver Dogs Used In Latest Kristin Smart Search

The mother of the lead suspect in the Kristin Smart case has broken her silence, claiming that her family has been unfairly targeted and harassed for decades after police announced this week that they were searching her husband's California home.

Susan Flores, the mother of Paul Flores, spoke to California outlet KSBY News on Tuesday, marking her first-ever press interview. 

"We have no responsibility for her disappearance and what happened to that young woman, and I've said it in a court of law,” she insisted to the station.

The interview came on the heels of a search conducted at Ruben Flores’ home. He is the father of Paul and the husband of Susan, though the two have lived in separate homes for decades. 

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that a search warrant had been served at Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande, calling him the “father of Paul Flores, who remains the prime suspect in the disappearance of Kristin Smart in 1996.”

Kristin Smart Paul Flores G

Smart, a California Polytechnic State University student, vanished that year following a college party and has never been found. Paul Flores was allegedly the last person to see her, having escorted her home from the gathering that night. 

Investigators used cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar during the search, Tony Cipolla, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, told Oxygen.com this week. On Tuesday, police concluded their search — which the Smart family felt “encouraged” by, a spokesperson for the family told Oxygen.com. 

During the search, investigators seemingly confiscated a vintage Volkswagen Cabriolet, registered to both Ruben and Susan, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. It has a 2010 sticker as well as a Cal Poly decal on the rear window.

Susan Flores told KSBY that investigators had previously shown interest in that car. She also explained that the car was the catalyst that led her to break her silence.

“I am mad because they took my Volkswagen!” she said. “That is my little restoration project. I love cars. I love old things and I wanted to do a restoration on that car. They didn't need to take it. They wanted to take it.”

Authorities have previously served search warrants at Ruben’s home, Paul’s home, Susan’s home and the home of Ruben’s sister. Investigators said they found “items of interest” during those searches.

"Basically electronics, cell phones, computers,” she told KSBY about the search at her home. “That was pretty much it. In my observation they went through the house at least, photographed anything they wanted, got into my filing cabinets, got into attorney-client privilege items, they got into everything, they had a field day."

Paul Flores has never officially been charged in her disappearance and he has always maintained his innocence. Just last month, he was arrested on a weapons charge related to a search warrant executed in the Smart case. 

Susan Flores told KSBY that she feels her family has experienced “harassment over the years” as a result of the investigation.

“If it was my daughter I would want the answers...but they don't seem to get it,” she said. “They keep trying to find the answers with us and they keep failing because the answers are not here.”

She added that nothing "is going to give back us 25 years of our lives, of the changes they made for us. If they believed that our son had some sort of responsibility they didn't have to gang up on us."

Susan Flores claims that the Smart family and investigators have refused to speak to her family. John Segale, who represents the Smart family, said that they have no comment in regard to this claim. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office did not immediately return Oxygen.com’s request for comment.

Chris Lambert, who created a podcast on the case called "Your Own Backyard,” said his producers tried to contact Susan and Ruben Flores to speak. Lambert also said he reached out to Paul Flores and never got a response.

“I don't have any reason to believe that anybody in our family has any answers to where she is, or what happened to her,” Susan Flores, who said she is working on a book about the case, told KSBY. “Ultimately, that is not up for discussion. As far as I am concerned, this should have been over a long time ago. It shouldn't be happening over and over again."