Podcast helped police arrest suspect in decades old missing persons case
The eight-part series Your Own Backyard led police to new evidence.
An American true-crime podcast has assisted officials in the investigation of a missing person's case.
Kristin Smart went missing after an off-campus party in California in 1996. She was 19 years old.
25 years later, however, police have arrested two suspects in the case - Paul Flores and his father Ruben. Officers are crediting Your Own Backyard, a true-crime podcast, for the case's recent developments.
At a press conference in California earlier this week, County Sheriff Ian Parkinson explained how Chris Lambert's podcast brought new information to their attention:
"In 2019, we interviewed several witnesses that had not been previously interviewed and some of that information came to light through the podcast that many of you are familiar with."
With these new witnesses, officers were able to secure a search warrant for Flores' phone, which in turn gave them new evidence in the case.
Flores, who was arrested earlier this week had previously been questioned in the case, but was never charged. According to reports, he was the last person to see Smart alive after volunteering to walk her home from the party.
In 2005, Smart's parents filed a wrongful death civil suit against Flores. When he was deposed, he invoked his right to remain silent. The case was subsequently dropped.
Flores' father Ruben was also arrested. He faces accessory to murder charges.
Speaking on the role Your Own Backyard played in recent developments, the show's creator Chris Lambert told the San Luis Tribune:
"The podcast was one part of the whole formula. Even with what I found, I can't go arrest somebody. I need the [authorities] to do their job.
"I was willing to do what I could to assist in that. You can get varying levels of agreement about whether what I did directly led to an arrest. My personal opinion was that I was one piece of the formula."