Suspect and his father arrested 25 years after California university student disappeared

Yolanda Curtis
April 14, 2021

His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was also charged with accessory to the killing, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said.

The sheriff said investigators recently discovered evidence related to Smart's death from search warrants conducted at two properties tied to the Flores family, but Parkinson declined to share what was found, citing due process and the sealed warrants.

As San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office investigators searched the Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores on Tuesday, people gathered outside to take in the spectacle - some seated in cars and others walking by and livestreaming video of the scene.

Last month, authorities searched Ruben Flores' home in Arroyo Grande.

A dramatic arrest of Paul Flores (left) has been made in the case of missing woman Kristin Smart (right).

Kristin Smart Pd
Kristin Smart and the of Ruben Flores

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Smart's remains still have not been found, Parkinson said.

"The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this awful secret for almost 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain", the family said. She was seen with Flores, who was a student at the school at the time.

Her body was never found despite an extensive search effort including K-9 units, helicopters and ground-penetrating radar.

FILE - This undated photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows Kristin Smart, the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo student who disappeared in 1996.


Parkinson did say "forensic physical evidence was located and, yes, we believe it's linked to Kristin".

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

Search warrants were served previous year on Paul Flores' home in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles and at other locations in California and Washington state. "We will be issuing a statement from the family this afternoon around 3:30 p.m". "Twenty-four years without a resolution".

"While Kristin's loving spirit will always live in our hearts, our life without her hugs, laughs and smiles is a heartache that never abates", they said.

Parkinson partly attributed the developments in the case to new information brought forth by an episodic podcast, "Your Own Backyard", by journalist Chris Lambert. His bail is set at $250,000, jail records show. Officials at the scene told KSBY they are serving another search warrant.


Since Parkinson took office in 2011, investigators conducted 137 interviews, served 41 search warrants and collected 143 items. The sound of power saws and drills whined in the background as they searched under a large deck and in the garage.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated throughout the day.

After speaking with investigators in the weeks after Smart's disappearance, Paul Flores refused to discuss the case when he was called to testify before a grand jury and again later in a deposition for a civil suit brought by Smart's family.

Los Angeles police arrested Flores in February on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm.


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