Campus police at Cal Poly originally thought Smart might have gone on an unannounced camping trip. As a result, she wasn’t declared missing for three days and her case wasn’t turned over to the local sheriff’s office for a month. Flores has long been considered the lead suspect in the case though no charges have ever been filed. Smart was presumed dead in 2002, but the search for her didn’t end there. In 2016, 20 years after she first disappeared, investigators followed a tip that led to excavating a hillside on the college’s campus. No new evidence was discovered from the lead.
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