This post is an update on a previous one, find the original here.
In May 1996, California Polytechnic State University student Kristen Smart (19) attended an off-campus party with some friends. She left around 2am with two other students, Paul Flores and Sheryl Anderson. Sheryl split off from Kristen and Paul part of the way back to return to her own dorm, but not before seeking assurance from Paul that he would see Kristen home safe. Kristen was never seen again.
In 2019, Chris Lambert started a podcast discussing Kristen’s disappearance. Growing up in the area, he had always known about the mystery and felt frustrated that the case had gone cold. As a result of his interviews and podcast, the case was reopened and Paul and his father Ruben Flores were both arrested for murder and accessory to murder respectively.
UPDATE: The trial lasted three months, going over all the evidence collected by numerous law enforcement agencies and Chris Lambert, and came to a close on 18th October 2022 when a jury unanimously found Paul Flores (44) guilty of first-degree murder of Kristen Smart. This is a huge victory for the Smart family, but it is still ultimately tinged with sadness over the lost time, her father said: “Without Kristin, there is no joy or happiness in this verdict”. Paul Flores is due to be sentenced on 9th December 2022.
Ruben Flores was found not-guilty of accessory in a separate trial.
At the time of writing, Kristen’s body has never been recovered.
References: theguardian.com – slocounty.ca.gov