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 vacation, new adventures and was always the planner!
Summers were Kristin's favorite and she was always drawn to something new. She spent the summer of her sophomore year in high school just outside London with family friends going to school. The next summer she wanted to become fluent in Spanish and was an exchange student in Venezuela, 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 initial law enforcement agencies. Fortunately, we now have active, engaged, and committed law enforcement agencies working for Kristin. It is a demanding, frustrating and tireless task trying to reconstruct evidence from 21 plus years ago while investigating ongoing new leads. Another layer of pain and frustration is a civil lawsuit brought against our family by the suspect's mother and her boyfriend for THEIR emotional distress. The layer of burden and frustration is often beyond comprehension and too often overwhelming
Twenty-one years is a long, long time to pray, battle, fight, and cajole agencies to do whatever is necessary to bring our girl home and remove her from the control of the perpetrator and his family. We live for the day when we can lay her to rest in the presence of our family and all who loved and fought for her. We have been praying for her return for longer than we were able to hold her in our arms. We have not given up, but find it important to find an inner peace, a positive focus, that helps us remember Kristin for the love, smiles, and joy she brought to our family. Our hope is that her life, even though silenced, will continue to have meaning and purpose by helping other young women realize their ambitions.
The Justice for Kristin Smart Scholarship nonprofit organization will help young women with interests similar to Kristin's achieve their goals. Thank you in advance for your support, it ensures that us that her dreams live on.