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Person of interest in 1996 disappearance of college student Kristin Smart arrested on weapons charge

The Disappearance of Kristin Smart
The Disappearance of Kristin Smart 41:30

A man who has long been described as a person of interest in the 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart, was arrested Thursday on a weapons charge. CBS Los Angeles reports Paul Flores was taken into custody Wednesday by Los Angeles Police Department officers in Rancho Palos Verdes.

The arrest came "as a result of information obtained during our search warrants last year at the home of Paul Flores as part of the Kristin Smart investigation," according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

LAPD said he was taken into custody in the area of Summerland and Western avenues on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Flores bonded out late Thursday night after being booked into the Los Angeles County Jail on $35,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Last year, Flores' home in the San Pedro district near Los Angeles harbor was among four locations in California and Washington state where search warrants were previously served . In February 2020, investigators also searched two vintage vehicles in San Pedro and took several electronic devices out of Flores' green, one-story home. 

CBS Los Angeles captured aerial images of the 2020 raid.  CBS Los Angeles

Smart, 19, of Stockton, California, vanished while returning to a dorm at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, after a party. She was seen with Flores, who also was a student, but he has never been arrested or charged in the case.  

The unsolved case is the subject of a podcast, "Your Own Backyard," that has drawn millions of listeners and focused renewed attention on this decades-old case.  

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