The case of the missing American student Kristin Smart, which many Californians followed for almost 27 years, has at least been clarified legally. A court in Salinas sentenced a former fellow student of the 19-Year-old now to 25 years in prison to life. The jury had considered it proven that Paul Flores killed the student in May 1996 during a rape attempt after a party.
Witnesses had observed Flores with the drunken Smart on the campus of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, about 300 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles. The body of the student has not been found to this day. The missing person case had long attracted attention in California, as Smart's parents had searched for her with a photo of the student on billboards. Flores had already been questioned by the police in the days after her disappearance. However, no charges were brought.
Four years ago, the California prosecutor's office resumed the investigation when podcaster Chris Lambert found further evidence of Flores' guilt during research. In the three-month murder trial, two women had also testified that they had been raped or sexually abused by the 46-year-old.