Podcast helped in hunt for 1996 killer of California pupil

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Chris Lambert, musician and recording engineer, records the arraignment of Paul Flores, and his father Ruben Flores, at the San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Thursday, April 15, 2021. Lambert started a podcast to document the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, who was a college student at Cal Poly and lived in Muir Hall when she disappeared. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the San Luis Obispo County sheriff announced arrests in the 25-year-old case, crediting Lambert with helping bring in witnesses that propelled the case forward. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)


Chris Lambert wish to get again to creating music however he can’t appear to cease chasing a ghost that has haunted him for practically 25 years.

A billboard on the facet of the street on California’s Central Coast led him on a detour three years in the past from his profession as a singer-songwriter and recording engineer. He created a podcast in regards to the 1996 disappearance of faculty freshman Kristin Good and it’s taken over his life.

“I can’t step away from it for quite a lot of days,” Lambert mentioned. “I simply get sucked proper again in as a result of I wish to be resolving issues.”

KRISTIN SMART CASE: PAUL FLORES CHARGED WITH MURDER IN CALIFORNIA STUDENT’S 1996 DISAPPEARANCE

It was an unlikely flip for somebody who refers to himself as a shy, “random boy with a beard” and it has produced outcomes he by no means imagined.

On Tuesday, as San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson introduced arrests, he credited Lambert with serving to draw worldwide consideration to the case and bringing ahead a number of key witnesses.

The longtime suspect, Paul Flores, and Good had been fellow freshmen on the California Polytechnic State College campus in San Luis Obispo. Now 44, Flores was charged with homicide within the killing of the 19-year-old whereas making an attempt to rape her in his dorm room, prosecutors mentioned.

His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was charged as an adjunct after authorities mentioned he helped disguise the physique, which has by no means been positioned.

Paul Flores’ lawyer has declined to touch upon the legal cost. A lawyer for Ruben Flores mentioned his consumer is harmless.

Chris Lambert, musician and recording engineer, records the arraignment of Paul Flores, and his father Ruben Flores, at the San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Thursday, April 15, 2021. Lambert started a podcast to document the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, who was a college student at Cal Poly and lived in Muir Hall when she disappeared. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the San Luis Obispo County sheriff announced arrests in the 25-year-old case, crediting Lambert with helping bring in witnesses that propelled the case forward. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

Chris Lambert, musician and recording engineer, information the arraignment of Paul Flores, and his father Ruben Flores, on the San Luis Obispo Superior Courtroom in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Thursday, April 15, 2021. Lambert began a podcast to doc the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Good, who was a university pupil at Cal Poly and lived in Muir Corridor when she disappeared. On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the San Luis Obispo County sheriff introduced arrests within the 25-year-old case, crediting Lambert with serving to herald witnesses that propelled the case ahead. (AP Photograph/Nic Coury)

Lambert has been thrust into the highlight with the arrests. His eight-part sequence, “Your Personal Yard,” hit 7.5 million downloads Thursday and it was the No. 2 podcast on iTunes. Lambert’s cellphone has been blowing up with messages — from followers, tipsters and information reporters. He appreciates the eye however has been overwhelmed.

“It’s driving me insane,” he mentioned, but he remained centered, affected person and well mannered throughout a 45-minute interview with The Related Press on Wednesday.

All the eye isn’t resulting in any cash — Lambert takes no promoting for the podcast, counting on donations.

His is the newest in a line of true-crime podcasts to play a task in an arrest, a court docket attraction and even an exoneration.

KRISTIN SMART CASE: NO PLEAS ENTERED FOR ‘PRIME SUSPECT’ PAUL FLORES, FATHER IN FIRST COURT APPEARANCE

“Up and Vanished” led a person to admit to killing a Georgia magnificence queen, whereas “Serial” helped a convicted assassin win a brand new trial in Maryland. “Within the Darkish” unearthed new proof in a case prosecutors dropped as an alternative of looking for a seventh trial in opposition to a Mississippi man who spent a long time on dying row.

Lambert, 33, was simply eight when Good vanished a brief drive up the coast from his own residence within the small city of Orcutt, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles. It scared him that somebody had gone lacking and nobody knew what occurred.

For greater than 20 years, a billboard that includes a photograph of a grinning Good marketed a $75,000 reward. It’s positioned within the city of Arroyo Grande, the place Paul Flores grew up and his mother and father nonetheless stay.

Lambert handed it many instances and it in the end motivated him to begin investigating.

“I believed I’d give it a shot and see if I might get just a few individuals speaking,” Lambert mentioned. “All I’ve to do is recover from my shyness and begin calling these individuals out of the blue and begin asking actually private questions.”

Defendants Paul Flores, top left, and his father Ruben Flores, bottom center, appear via video conference during their arraignment, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The father and son were arrested on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, a college student at California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

Defendants Paul Flores, high left, and his father Ruben Flores, backside heart, seem by way of video convention throughout their arraignment, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in San Luis Obispo Superior Courtroom in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The daddy and son had been arrested on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in reference to the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Good, a university pupil at California Polytechnic College San Luis Obispo. (AP Photograph/Nic Coury)

He purchased some high-quality recording gear and started making calls. He positioned ignored or reluctant witnesses who hadn’t spoken with police, he mentioned.

Folks opened as much as Lambert and he inspired them to contact investigators with related data. Deputies began calling him to attach them with individuals he interviewed.

“What Chris did with the podcast was put it out nationally to usher in new data,” Parkinson mentioned with out elaborating on the brand new proof. “It did produce some data that I imagine was beneficial.”

A former colleague of Paul Flores’ mom, Susan Flores, advised him Mrs. Flores got here into work after Memorial Day weekend 1996 — when Good went lacking — saying she didn’t sleep nicely as a result of her husband had gotten a cellphone name in the midst of the night time and left in his automobile.

“The hypothesis has been all alongside that Paul known as his dad in the midst of the night time and his dad got here up and helped him do away with Kristin’s physique,” Lambert mentioned.

A tenant who lived for a 12 months at Susan Flores’ dwelling advised him she heard a watch alarm each morning at four:20 a.m. Good had labored as a lifeguard at 5 a.m. on the Cal Poly pool, so it’s doable she set her watch to get up at that early hour.

“That appears to be the second within the podcast sequence that most individuals have been simply utterly shaken,” he mentioned. “This can be the piece of proof that factors to the truth that Kristin was buried in that yard or that her belongings had been buried in that yard.”

Susan Flores, who hung up when known as by the AP, advised KSBY-TV in March in the one interview she’s granted that she might “shoot a whole lot of holes into a whole lot of (Lambert’s) lies.”

She mentioned Lambert by no means contacted her. He mentioned he despatched an middleman to her home and Susan Flores threatened to name the police. His efforts to talk with Paul Flores had been additionally fruitless, he mentioned.

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Lambert spoke with a former Australian trade pupil at Cal Poly who mentioned he noticed Flores and Good struggling close to the place Good was final seen. Lambert mentioned investigators had dismissed that account within the early years of the probe.

Lambert has developed a detailed relationship with the Good household, who issued a press release after the arrest, praising his expertise and “unselfish dedication.”

He’s grateful to have grown near the household. He appears like he’s gotten to know Kristin Good, however needs he had the prospect to satisfy her.

“For many of my life, Kristin Good has been a face on a billboard,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’ve discovered about Kristin the daughter, Kristin the massive sister, Kristin the good friend, the neighbor, the roommate. Kristin the swimmer. Kristin the dreamer. And I’ve discovered which you could miss an individual you by no means even acquired to satisfy.”





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