SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — Remains were found during a three-day excavation looking for Kristin Smart, missing for more than 20 years, but it may take months before officials know if they're human, authorities said Friday.
FBI agents and local sheriff's deputies searched three hillside locations on the campus of Cal Poly, said Tony Cipolla, a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department.
Cipolla said various items of interest turned up in all three spots, including remains that will need to be tested to determine if they're animal or human.
The testing will be done by forensic anthropologists at the FBI's headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, he said.
The campus is the last place 19-year-old Smart was seen alive.
Arroyo Grande High School graduate Paul Flores said he dropped Smart off near her dormitory on May 25, 1996, after an off-campus party. He is considered a person of interest but has never been arrested or charged.
A lead developed by investigators over the past two years "strongly suggested" that Smart's remains might be buried on the hillside near a large concrete letter "P'' that is the school's landmark, the Sheriff's Department announced when digging began last Tuesday.
The three locations were then targeted with the use of dogs trained to detect old human remains.
The area was searched at the time of Smart's disappearance, along with most of the rest of the campus.