EDUCATION

Search for California student missing 20 years wrapping up

Authorities were nearing the end of a three-day search Friday for the body of a California student missing for more than 20 years.

The search for 19-year-old Kristin Smart will end Friday night at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, said Tony Cipolla, a spokesman for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office.

Cipolla said the search uncovered various items of interest, 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, and could take months, he said.

FBI agents and local sheriff's deputies searched three hillside locations on the campus, located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It's the last place Smart was seen alive.

A male student 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 San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office announced when digging began Tuesday.

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.