2 men arrested in 1996 cold case of college student Kristin Smart

Carla Harmon
April 15, 2021

Investigators suspect Paul Flores walked her home that night and was the last person to see her alive. "Unfortunately, the search warrants were sealed, which means I can't discuss what evidence was found".

Authorities have previously served search warrants at the homes of multiple members of the Flores family.

And Dow claimed his office has evidence that an unspecified number of victims have had "some kind of a criminal act perpetrated on them by Mr. Flores".

The search of Ruben Flores's home took place about a month after Paul Flores was arrested in Los Angeles on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Paul Flores is pictured in court in 2006 over missing woman Kristin Smart.

During Wednesday's news conference, Dow said that "we must never diminish the rights of keeping victims' rights at the forefront" and that "we owe the Smart family a debt of gratitude" for their patience and strength, saying they willed the moment of prosecution to happen over almost three decades of perseverance.

Jonathan Tippet, head of the agency's Robbery-Homicide Division, said sex crimes detectives in recent months gathered evidence against Flores in three sexual assaults that allegedly occurred over several years.

Investigators additionally believe Paul Flores has victimized other individuals, likely in Southern California.

A man named Paul Flores was taken into custody Tuesday morning in San Pedro, California, in connection with the disappearance and murder of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Paul Flores was arrested at his San Pedro home on Tuesday and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

The statute of limitations has expired on a sexual assault charge, but the allegation that was "committing or attempting to commit a rape when he killed her is the basis for filing first-degree felony charges", Dow said.

The Smart family has filed a number of civil suits against Flores in the years since the teenager's mysterious disappearance, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Ruben Flores is charged with accessory after the fact since he helped hide the body of Smart after the murder, Dow said.

Over the years, San Luis Obispo authorities called Flores a "person of interest", then a "suspect", then a "prime suspect".

Smart's family, who welcomed news of the arrest as a step toward bringing their daughter home, noted that "an indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early on set the course for many years".

Even though maybe they've been tirelessly toiling in the background all these years, it seems like investigators only start trying again to solve the 25-year-old Kristin Smart murder case every five years. The case was stayed awaiting a criminal case outcome, a family spokesman said. The case began as a missing persons case when Smart disappeared after an on-campus party on Memorial Day Weekend in 1996.

"There really is no hiding the fact that there was mistakes made early on and it made it much more hard", Parkinson said.

Parkinson likened the case to a puzzle where missing pieces are located, leading to new evidence and locations to search that then revealed other information.

Paul Flores has remained mum through the years, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that was brought against him.

Flores had nothing to say when arrested, Parkinson said. On Wednesday, Dow said "we do believe we have the location where the body was buried", but would not elaborate. Sanger declined further comment.

Flores' father, Ruben, also was arrested at his home in the city of Arroyo Grande, according to news outlets. His lawyer, Harold Mesick, didn't immediately return an email message seeking comment from The Associated Press.

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