Who was Kristin?
Kristin was our first child, she was born in Augsburg, Germany where we were teaching the children of military personnel. She came into this world with an adventurous spirit that never left her. She believed in her dreams and always seemed to know the right steps needed to reach them. Her smile lit up the room and her hugs were contagious. The love for her family, especially her brother and sister, was without equal. Brother-sister squabbles never lasted long as she would always come up with a fun new action plan that got everyone on the same page. Although she could appear shy in new situations, she had an inner confidence that never held her back from any ambition she had. She loved family vacations and was always in on the planning!
Summers were Kristin's favorite and she was always drawn to new adventures. She spent the summer of her sophomore year in high school just outside London with family friends going to school, the next summer she was an exchange student in Venezuela, and the summer before her senior year, she was basking in the sun and perfecting her bike riding skills in the Honors Program at UCSB. Her last summer on this earth was what she called her dream job, she was a lifeguard and camp counselor at Camp Mokuleia in Hawaii. She set lofty goals and always seemed to find a way to achieve them! She was not one to give up and her passion for adventure, music, and the ocean left an indelible mark on everyone in our family.
Kristin's life, dreams, and future were stolen on May 25, 1996 when she was abducted by another student (suspect Paul Rueben Flores) on the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo campus around 2 a.m. Campus Police failed to act appropriately and did not contact local law enforcement agencies in a timely manner. The Kristin Smart Campus Safety Act (1998) now requires ALL college campus police to contact and connect with local law enforcement agencies for any case of violence against a student. Paul Flores (the only suspect and last person to be seen with Kristin, continues to be uncooperative and is hiding behind the 5th Amendment.
There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe the pain of our loss and the heartache we face every day that we live without Kristin and without answers. Kristin deserved so much more than she received from law enforcement agencies that were initially involved in her case. Fortunately, we now have active, engaged, and committed law enforcement, but reconstructing evidence from 20 years ago and investigating new leads on an ongoing basis is a demanding, frustrating and tireless task. Another layer of pain and frustration is the fact that the suspect's mother and boyfriend filed a lawsuit against us for THEIR emotional distress. The layer of burden is often overwhelming, truly beyond comprehension.
Twenty one years is a long, long time to pray, battle, fight, and cajole agencies into doing whatever is necessary to bring our girl home to us. We have been praying and hoping for her return for longer than we were able to hold her in our arms. We have not given up, but find that it is important to find an inner peace that allows us a positive focus, to remember our daughter, her dreams, and her ambitions. So that her life, even in death, has a meaning and a purpose. To move forward we must honor and validate her life in the most postive way possible.
We have established the Justice for Kristin nonprofit organization to provide a scholarship opportunity for women interested in pursuing their ambitions. We thank you in advance for your understanding and donation, by honoring Kristin you are reminding our family that her life continues to have meaning and her dreams can live on.