Episode 08: The 16-Hour Gap

In late September 2019, Chris Lambert, a Santa Maria native, started looking into the disappearance of Kristin Smart. Lambert, not a reporter by trade, developed a documentary that reignited renewed interest in Smart’s case by the thousands. 

Smart vanished over the Memorial Day weekend in May 1996. The 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman from Stockton attended a college party in San Luis Obispo and never made it home. 

Lambert’s podcast “Your Own Backyard” takes listeners on a personal journey through the intricate details of Smart’s disappearance and all of the events that transpired after. The podcast highlights the questions that remained when the media stopped reporting. 

In Episode 07, Lambert left the audience with a cliff hanger when he came across two vehicles that were linked to the case. Soon after, on Feb. 5, The San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department reported that two warrants were served; 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

“Due to the high-profile nature of the investigation into the disappearance and whereabouts of Kristin Smart and to avoid the dissemination of misinformation, the Sheriff’s Office is announcing this morning it has served search warrants for specific items of evidence inside four separate locations in California and Washington.

Two of those locations are in San Luis Obispo County, one location is in Los Angeles County, and one location is in Washington State.”

Then on Apr. 22, a new search warrant was served at the San Pedro home of Smart’s former classmate Paul Flores who, according to the SLO County Sheriff, “continues to be a person of interest in the disappearance of Kristin Smart.”

The last search warrant came as another page in a renewed effort to close the 24-year old case. 

Now, after seven months, Lambert has released the long-awaited follow-up. 

You can find “Your Own Backyard” here, on your favorite podcast source. To get involved and stay up to date with new information, go to kristinsmart.org or join the Facebook group “Find Kristin Smart.” 

Editor’s Note: The statute of limitations, in this case, has expired on everything except for murder; anyone who comes forward with any information will not be charged with any crime. 

Contact San Luis Obispo Sherriff’s office at (805)781-4500 or Anonymous Tip Line at (800)549-7867.