ARROYO GRANDE (CBS13/AP) — San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced Tuesday that Paul Flores, who had been for years considered the “prime suspect” in the disappearance of Kristin Smart, has been arrested for murder.
Paul’s father Ruben Flores has also been arrested and is facing charges of accessory to murder.READ MORE: 'He Gives Me Everything To Be': Therapy Dog For Woman In Wheelchair Now Needs Wheelchair Of His Own
Paul was arrested in the San Pedro area on Tuesday, while Ruben was also arrested simultaneously this morning. Paul is ineligible for bail.
In a statement released after the sheriff’s office announced Paul and Ruben’s arrest, the Smart family thanked Sheriff Parkinson and his office for continuing to pursue the case.
“It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home. While Kristin’s loving spirit will always live in our hearts, our life without her hugs, laughs and smiles is a heartache that never abates,” the family wrote.
Smart’s family also thanked Christopher Lambert and the “Your Own Backyard Podcast” for helping rekindle interest in Kristin’s case.
“Chris, along with four incredible angels (C, J, J, and J), balanced Kristin on their shoulders while lightening our burden and held our hearts and hopes with fierce resolve and commitment. There simply are ‘no words’!” Smart’s family wrote.
Sheriff Parkinson noted that his office has continuously fielded questions about what their searches have found. While the warrants remain sealed, Parkinson noted that they have still not yet located Kristin’s remains.
“We have not recovered Kristin,” Sheriff Parkinson said at Tuesday’s press conference.READ MORE: Quake Near Truckee: Why Some Got Shake Alerts And Others Didn't
The sheriff said he spoke with Kristin’s family and added that his office won’t stop looking for her.
Paul Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Kristin Smart before she vanished in 1996, was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area. She was on her way back to a dorm at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo after a party. She was last seen with fellow student Paul Flores.
His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was arrested as an accessory at his Arroyo Grande home, where sheriff’s investigators conducted another search.
Smart’s mother did not return a phone message left for comment but a family spokesman said they would issue a statement later in the day.
Back in March, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office announced that they had served a search warrant at the home of Ruben Flores.
March’s search involved the use of cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar, the sheriff’s office said.
Search warrants were also served to Paul Flores’ home in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles last year, as well as several other locations in California and Washington state. A dig was also done back in 2016 at the Cal Poly campus.MORE NEWS: Sacramento Police Officer Justin Shepard Arrested For Alleged Domestic Violence Incident
Detectives have released few details so far on whether the searches yielded any results.