Paul Flores, Person of Interest in 1996 Kristin Smart Cold Case, Arrested on Weapons Charges, Police Say

Kristin Smart disappeared from her college campus at California Polytechnic State University  in 1996

A person of interest in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart has been arrested on weapons charges after investigators were led to his home.

A man described as a person of interest in the unsolved 1996 disappearance of 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart has been arrested on weapons charges after investigators were led to his home, according to reports. Paul Flores, 43, was taken into custody Wednesday and charged by the Los Angeles Police Department, CBS Los Angeles reported. He was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of firearms. 

Police say Flores was the last person to see Smart when he offered to walk her back to her dorm after a fraternity party at California Polytechnic on the night she disappeared. 

At the time, Flores was questioned but never arrested or charged. Smart's family sued Flores in civil court and he has denied all allegations against him, including being involved in Smart’s disappearance.

Years later, in 2002, Smart was declared "presumed dead", but her body has never been found, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Flores has a previous felony conviction for driving under the influence, KSBY in San Luis Obispo reported. Authorities conducted a search warrant on his home in February and April 2020 but never disclosed what they were looking for or if any evidence was found. However, investigators told the outlet that the arrest was a result of the information they received from those searches.

Flores posted $35,000 bail Thursday evening, according to the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department.