Family of Kristin Smart, who vanished 23 years ago, told by ex-FBI agent to be prepared for news

The family of Kristin Smart, the California college student who vanished 23 years ago after attending a party near her school, was told by a former FBI agent to be prepared for news and to secure a family spokesperson.

Denise Smart, the woman's mother, told the Stockton Record that the FBI contacted her and told her to "be ready."

"This is really going to be something you don't expect. We want to give you the support you need," she said she was told. The family later clarified that a former agent for the bureau had reached out.

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The report said the FBI was not clear on what the development was, she was told that her family might want to "get away for a while," and she should secure a family spokesperson.

The mother admitted to the paper that since she was told about the development she has had anxiety.

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"The Smart family stands behind the Stockton Record’s January 18th story," a family spokesman said via email. "There will be no new statement or interviews until there is an update or an announcement from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department."

The family later put out a statement: "Over the past few days, our family has been overwhelmed with inquiries about the investigation. We sincerely appreciate the amazing support we've received and want to be clear that this is an ongoing investigation that is complex, fluid and continuing. The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation and they are not putting any timetable on the completion of it. We support the sheriff department's efforts and commitment. It is vitally important that they take the necessary time required. To clarify an important point about timing, there is no current timeline for any announcement. When the sheriff’s department completes the investigation, they will notify all of us when there is news to announce."

When reached for comment, the FBI told Fox News it was unaware of any development being announced imminently and directed further inquiries to the sheriff's office, which has been leading the investigation.

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Smart, who was 19 when she vanished, attended California Polytechnic State University and was last seen in the early morning of May 25, 1996, while returning to her dorm after a party near the campus. At the time, another student told authorities he left Smart near her dormitory after they and another female student walked back.

According to reports at the time, a neighbor in Smart’s dorm called university police the next morning and reported that she hadn’t returned. But other students said they thought she had gone camping, so officers didn’t declare her missing for three days.

The student who told of leaving Smart near her dorm was questioned by authorities and his home was searched but he was not arrested or charged in the case. A California law, the Kristin Smart Campus Safety Act of 1998, now requires campus police to spell out exactly when they will call in outside authorities to investigate a violent crime.

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"It's probably imminently going to break I would say within a month," the mother told the paper. "Something's going to happen."

Fox News' Stephen Sorace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.