Sheriff Parkinson meets with parents of Kristin Smart

February 3, 2011

Kristin Smart

Stan and Denise Smart, parents of missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, continued their nearly-15-year search for the truth by meeting Thursday morning with Ian Parkinson, the new San Luis Obispo County Sheriff.

Kristin Smart was just completing her freshman year at Cal Poly when she disappeared after last being seen in the company of fellow student Paul Flores following an off-campus party in San Luis Obispo during Memorial Day weekend of 1996.

The Smarts drove down from Stockton to meet with Parkinson. A  film crew from the Lifetime television series “Vanished”  was also in San Luis Obispo this week to interview the Smarts and law enforcement officials. Parkinson was interviewed for the TV show, flanked by three members of the sheriff’s department.

Denise Smart later said that she was impressed by Parkinson’s knowledge of the case and obvious concern for the family. “He listened to what we had to say and reminded us that he and his wife also have teenage children.”

Kristin Smart’s body has never been found. Cal Poly police initially had the case for the first 30 days before the Sheriff’s department stepped in. Specially-trained dogs later found Smart’s scent in Flores’ dormitory room, but the student was never charged. He later dropped out of Cal Poly and is believed to be living in southern California.

His parents, who still live in Arroyo Grande, have filed a civil suit against the Smarts, claiming harassment.

Denise Smart remains hopeful that the truth about her daughter will finally be uncovered. “Somebody knows what happened that night,” she said. “They’re older now, more mature, and they remember what happened. Sooner or later, someone will come forward. That is our hope.”

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I did not vote for Ian Parkinson for Sheriff and really don’t expect too much from him in the way of “change” at the Sheriff’s Department; that said, in my book, he has a couple of opportunities to show that he is going to be thorough in changing how the Sheriff’s Department is perceived, this case being one of them. I hope he will follow through on the Kristen Smart case and really look under all the rocks that may not have been looked under yet, combs through all of the files on this case with some fresh eyes and is not hesitant at all about re-interviewing Paul Flores. There is a lot about this case that has never added up and really deep review may uncover something new, hopefully. On an unrelated note, the other means for Sheriff Parkinson to show his department is going to be different than under Pat Hedges is to establish and announce a new policy on medical marijuana for San Luis Obispo county by the Sheriff’s Department that if they are involved in investigating a MM provider or distributor for possible infractions of the law, they don’t go in busting down doors and holding those being investigated at gunpoint; a couple of detectives knocking on the door of someone suspected of violating the laws of MM and simply interviewing them should certainly uncover if there is any wrong doing. Sheriff Parkinson, good luck with reexamining the Kristen Smart case, I honestly hope you can give the Smart family some closure as well as deliver some justice to whoever was responsible for Kristen disappearing.

Cal Poly choose to treat this case from the beginning as a missing student who might have left on their own accord and show back up at any time. The Cal Poly police worked directly under President Warren Baker who has never taken the responsibility for the screw up on the investigation of this case. Not only did they not treat this case seriously from the beginning, they allowed Paul Flores’s dorm room to be cleaned after he moved out at the end of the semester, thus destroying any evidence that might have been found. The Cal Poly Police Department acted completely under the direction of President Baker who was more afraid of bad publicity for the campus than concerned about the missing student. At least, that’s my take on the situation.

I’m only convinced of two things:

1. She is dead.

2. She is buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in SLO County.

I don’t believe the Sheriff or the Smart’s attorney will find new clues to locate her body.

I feel awful for the parents, they will never have even partial closure until her body is found.

Am I correct that the Flores family “allowed” their back yard to be dug up? It sounds like they believe their son is innocent and that they (the parents) have tried to help as much as possible. They’re also trying to go on with their lives and no matter how much empathy they might of had, there comes a time when enough is enough and any one of us who has a child who we believe is innocent might eventually decide to put a stop to what we feel is destroying our family and our lives. Don’t be so hard on Paul’s parents, how long could you take it?

I think it’s wonderful that Ian Parkinson is working with the Smart family. The fact that this case is going to be resurrected on Nt’l TV could possibly interest someone like the infamous could case detectives. You never know. One thing for certain is that somebody knows something.

Just out of curiosity, did the crew from Vanished contact SLOSD or did Ian contact them?

Yes, I don’t blame the parents for Paul’s actions. They did have their backyard dug up but of course that only shows Paul was smart enough not to hide a body in an obvious location.

I remember speculation that Paul Flores’s father was thought to be complicit in helping his son. The part of the backyard that was searched was a pad of concrete that the senior Flores poured right after Ms. Smart went missing.. The thought was that since he was a former law enforcement officer he understood that if he poured that concrete pad the police would waste precious time searching there. Essentially a head fake. Ofcourse this was all speculation so who knows if thats what happened

There was talk about a neighbor reporting that the Flores family was pouring the slab in the middle of the night. Anyone know if that is rumor or fact?

Even the strongest defender of law enforcement has to admit that this was not their finest hour. Why Cal Poly campus police, for example, a group with no real felony crime investigation experience, had the case for the first month is beyond me. Then the Sheriff’s department took over and Ed Williams decides to have a young, inexperienced officer lead the investigation. I’ve never believed that Flores intentionally meant to kill Kristin Smart. It was likely an accident and she is partially to blame for excessive drinking that night, yes. However, Paul Flores walked away and went on with his miserable life, but at least he has one. I can understand why Poly doesn’t want to remember Kristin Smart–bad publicity.

So thank you to Sheriff Parkinson for meeting with the parents. here’s hoping you follow through.

Saying that Kristin is ‘partially’ to blame leaves a bad taste. Who ever murdered her cough cough PF cough is to blame.

Such great parents, I feel so bad for them. My first instinct is to be disgusted with his parents for suing the Smarts. But then I understand that parents never want to think that their kids are capable of such a horrible thing. They probably really think he’s innocent.

Kristin Smart was drunk that night from all accounts. Drunk. That doesn’t justify what happened to her, but I doubt that Flores would have had that much power over her if she had been more sober. That’s my only point. You drink to excess and far too often there are consequences. So watch what you drink and always have a buddy.

Kristin’s story should be yelled far and wide to every Poly WOW group. Instead, they don’t even mention it, pretend it doesn’t happen. Shame on Cal Poly.

She is partially to blame for drinking excessive that night???? That never gave him or anyone else the right to assault and murder her, and you believe he did not intentionally mean to kill her??

A lot of assumption in your statement.

He is a cunning murderer and has been able to escape justice so far, her dad is a better man than I am,

as my justice would have taken place years ago and we would know where her body was hidden.

I have asked the moderator to delete my post. After 2nd thoughts, I don’t want to be mistaken for encouraging the family of Kristen Smart to to take the law into their own hands.

I admire your sentiment Bob, but If the Smart family wanted vigilante justice, they could’ve gone that route 15 yrs ago.

Bob gets a star on my list.

kellygirl says Kristin was partially to blame for excessive drinking–that’s true. kellygirl isn’t implying that Kristin deserved to be murdered or at least I don’t read that from her post.

Don’t forget the other high-profile murder/missing persons cases that involved college girls who had been heavily drinking: Rachel Newhouse from Cal Poly. She had been partying downtown & was walking home alone, very late along the RR tracks when attacked… Natalee Holloway had been bar-hopping w/friends in Aruba when she disappeared… There are many, many other examples.

Did these girls deserve to die? Of course not!! But College girls are still teenagers and some think they’re invincible. “Aw Mom…that would never happen to me!!” Some girls put themselves into dangerous situations involving alcohol and hormonely-charged, drunken boys and tragedies can occur.

As for Paul Flores–I have no doubt whatsoever that he was involved in Kristin’s death.

Mr Hobson was part of the initial investigation . and somehow did not complete his work. , anyone who can add to the background story here please do.

my memories are dim.

???? Confused with your link. What are you saying. Are you saying for Flores to take a poly? Just asking.

Flores was scheduled to take a polygraph early on in the investigation. He continuously avoided it and when he was picked up and taken down to the station he just outright refused to take one. After reading the story, there really is no evidence against him but there isn’t any other suspect either. What convinces me that he had something to do with it is that she disappeared without a trace within 75 feet of him and no one else in the proximity. That and his behavior following her disappearance is damning. I can understand him retaining an attorney but since a polygraph can’t be used against a person in a court of law, one would think that he would have asked for one so that he could be excluded. His behavior has guilt written all over it and I am not one to generally judge by behavior, such as thinking that someone doesn’t act upset enough, or acts too upset or shouldn’t have laughed at a joke or should cry at a funeral etc. I always find those observations to be hogwash but Paul’s behavior rings of having “something to hide”. CalPoly police did a very poor job and the initial report is anything but worthy of being considered investigative. Shame on them.

My memory tells me that Paul Flores refused to talk to the police about the events surrounding Kristin’s disappearance. If that was reported accurately I wonder why he wasn’t compelled to talk, as well as why he was’t dyin’ to help. Fishy stuff, and seems a bit outrageous that his folks are punishing these already grieving parents. I hope Parkinson will get to the bottom of all this.

Dog you wonder why he wasnt dyin to help?? Don’t you remember that O.J. Simpson said he wouldn’t rest till he found his wifes killers. Then for the ensuing years up until his arrest in Vegas a couple years ago, that he spent all that time looking for her killers on the back nine of golf courses? Well rumer has it that Paul Flores was O.J.’s caddy and was out their with O.J. so they could look for the respective killers in each others cases. ;-)

Paul’s parents and family have been put through the ringer. The Smart family got involved with some amateur super sleuth book writer who came out from NC and got involved. He has literally stalked Paul’s family and passed out fliers everywhere that he lives which has often been with his sister or parents. He covers all the neighborhoods with fryers about the case mentioning Paul as the only suspect and even his family. This guy has been arrested, sued and had RO’s placed against him. He has a web site up and has done more harm than good for this case in my opinion. In the mean time the family has actually lost jobs as a result of this guy and you say that Paul’s family are mean? What did they do to deserve this besides believe in their son which is to be expected, at least it was the last time that I looked?