Items of interest found in Kristin Smart case
September 9, 2016
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s officials are saying items of interest have been uncovered at a Cal Poly hillside where investigators are digging for Kristin Smart’s remains. But, officials are not disclosing what items were found. [KSBY]
The items of interest were discovered in an area deemed “site 1,” which is closest of the three digging locations to the dorm where Smart was living at the time of her disappearance. Sheriff’s detective commander Aaron Nix said it is too premature to say whether the items of interest are really intriguing or whether they just require a closer look.
When investigators find items of interest, they will use brushes and trowels to gather them, much like workers do during an archeological dig, sheriff’s officials said. Items discovered that may call for a second look will be sent to the FBI’s forensic anthropologist in Quantico, Virginia or to a local state laboratory.
Smart, a native of Stockton, was nearing the end of her freshman year at Cal Poly when she vanished on May 25, 1996 after attending an off-campus party. The 19-year-old was last seen in the company of fellow student Paul Flores who claims he escorted Smart to her dorm, which was relatively empty due to Memorial Day weekend.
The sheriff’s office recently learned that Smart’s remains may be buried on a Cal Poly hillside. The FBI then brought in cadaver dogs which alerted detectives to several locations below the Cal Poly “P” landmark.
This week, authorities set up a command post that is being manned by 25 FBI agents and 15 members of the sheriff’s office, as well as California Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators.
Preparation work for the dig began on Tuesday, and digging started on Wednesday. Sheriff’s officials confirmed Thursday morning that they had found the items of interest.
Sheriff Ian Parkinson has said a lead strongly suggested Smart’s remains may be buried on the hillside. But, Parkinson also said there are other areas of interest in the case.
Flores, who dropped out of Cal Poly after Smart’s disappearance, was the initial focus of a police investigation. He is believed to now be living in Southern California. Flores remains a person of interest, according to the sheriff’s office.
Smart’s parents, Denise and Stan Smart of Stockton, filed a civil wrongful death case against Flores in 2005, but they dropped the case after Flores pleaded the Fifth Amendment in court. Flores has been arrested for DUI three times since 1997 and was sentenced to 240 days in jail for violating his probation after the last DUI.
The excavation of the Cal Poly hillside is expected to conclude Friday.