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Family celebrates Kristin Smart's life, legacy on 25th anniversary of her disappearance

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Posted at 5:17 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 20:17:25-04

Tuesday, May 25 marks 25 years since the disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

The 19-year-old freshman was last seen walking back to the dorms after an off-campus fraternity party.

While her body has never been found, a fellow student, Paul Flores, is now charged with her murder.

The arrest came just about a month before the somber anniversary of Kristin's disappearance.

To mark the occasion and celebrate their daughter's life, the Smart family visited San Luis Obispo County over the weekend.

On Sunday, family and friends gathered at Margo Dodd Park in Shell Beach. A paddle-out was organized by a high school friend of Kristin's, and those in attendance shared stories and sang songs.

Family members at the gathering said they were grateful for the support from the community.

The Smart family also released the following statement, thanking law enforcement and others for their support over the past 25 years:

It has been 25 years today since our daughter, Kristin, disappeared and to mark the occasion, members of our family traveled to San Luis Obispo this past weekend to celebrate Kristin's life. As part of our visit, we took time to thank our special friends in the SLO area who have carried Kristin in their hearts including those in law enforcement who never gave up and continue today with steeled determination and effort to bring her home.

While we were not able to meet with all the Warriors for Kristin during our short stay, we wanted them to know that their determination over the years has been so valuable in sustaining Kristin's memory. We did have the opportunity to thank Sheriff Ian Parkinson for his relentless commitment and leadership, and we saluted all those in the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department and the FBI for their efforts on this case. We will always be so grateful to Kristin's earliest supporters, Jim and Garin Murphy, Dennis Mahon and Tana Coats, each of whom refused to give up. They, along with hundreds of early supporters, worked tirelessly to fight for justice for Kristin including helping search and providing gifts of their time and donations. Finally, we especially wanted to thank Chris Lambert for his outstanding podcast, Your Own Backyard. His interest and his unique ability to tell this story have been responsible for generating unimagined new attention to Kristin. Thank you to everyone who have helped us with our quest for justice. Your support will be forever remembered and appreciated by our family.

A "Walk for Kristin Smart" is planned for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. It is set to begin at Foothill Blvd. and Crandall Way in San Luis Obispo and end at Cal Poly at the corner of Grand Ave. and Perimeter Rd.