Investigators served the warrant Monday morning in Arroyo Grande at a house belonging to Ruben Flores, whose son is Paul Flores. The sheriff's department said Paul Flores is "the prime suspect in the disappearance of Kristin Smart in 1996."
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The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar (GPR) were to be used during their search of the property over the next day or two.
Officials said the search warrant remained sealed, and no further information on the investigation was immediately available.
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Last year, authorities served search warrants at several locations in California and Washington.
Smart was last seen returning to her California Polytechnic State University dormitory from an off-campus party on May 25, 1996.
Smart's family released the following statement Monday in response to the search warrant, "We are encouraged by the news of today's search of Ruben Flores' property. We appreciate the vigilance and professionalism of Sheriff Ian Parkinson and his department and our family looks forward to learning more in the hours and days ahead."