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Man found guilty of killing California student Kristin Smart who went missing in 1996

The law has caught up with a man a quarter of a century later. Paul Flores, who was the last to be seen with California student Kristin Smart before she disappeared while walking back to her dorm room from a college party, was convicted of her murder. The body of 19- year-old Smart was never found. The case haunted the community for decades, with billboards and a true-crime podcast appealing for evidence. After a long wait, long-standing suspect Paul Flores was arrested last year.

Flores, now 45, was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury at Monterey County Superior Court on Tuesday following a three month trial. He faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced."Our criminal and victim justice system has now finally delivered justice for Kristin," Dan Dow, San Luis Obispo district attorney, said after the verdicts were read. "The impact that Kristin Smart's disappearance and the... investigation has had on the Smart family, on our community, spanning a quarter century, has been profound. Today, justice delayed is not justice denied," he told a press conference.In a separate case, Paul's father, Ruben Flores, was found not guilty of charges of being an accessory to murder and hiding her remains. Smart's father Stan said, "Without Kristin, there's no joy or happiness in this verdict.

After 26 years, with today's split verdicts, we learned that our quest for justice for Kristin will continue."Both Smart and Flores were students at California Polytechnic State University when she went missing in May 1996. Flores was the last person seen with Smart, accompanying her on the 10-minute walk back to her dormitory from a party that night. Paul and his father weren't arrested in the matter until 2021. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters at a news conference that the investigation won’t end until Smart’s remains are found. “This case will not be over until Kristin is returned home, and we have committed to that from the beginning,” he said. “We don’t take a breath. We do not put this aside.”