Almost 25 years after Cal Poly rookie Kristin Smart went missing following a frat party, a California man who has been named as the prime suspect in her disappearance has been arrested and charged with her murder.
Paul Flores, who walked to the party’s smart home and was the last person to see her alive in 1996, was taken into custody Tuesday in San Pedro, Calif., And booked into the San County Jail. Luis Obispo.
Flores’ father Ruben Flores, 80, was also arrested and charged with complicity after the fact. Authorities served another search warrant on Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande on Tuesday.
“Throughout our investigation, Paul Flores has remained a person of great interest,” San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said at a press conference Tuesday announcing the charges against Flores and his father.
Parkinson declined to give details of the new information that led to Tuesday’s arrest, but said authorities obtained new evidence after monitoring Flores’ phone and texts. The arrests come just a month after the sheriff’s office identified Flores as “the prime suspect” in Smart’s case, which has garnered national attention for decades.
Parkinson has confirmed that authorities have yet to recover Smart’s body – but the search will continue.
“It’s not over and we made a commitment to them not to stop until Kristin is well … We make a commitment,” Parkinson said, adding that he had spoken to the Smart family, who “felt a bit of relief. “We’ll find Kristin.”
The sheriff added that throughout the investigation, authorities executed 41 search warrants in 16 locations and compiled 500 police reports. He said physical evidence had been found linking Flores to the disappearance in at least two homes.
Flores, 44, was refused bail, but her father could be released from prison on $ 250,000 bail. The two are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
The Smart family have always believed that they identified Flores, a fellow college student, as Kristin’s alleged murderer. The Smarts even filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Flores, alleging he had “attacked” and “murdered” Kristin, who was in a “drunken state” when he found her. The civil case, however, has stalled due to the ongoing criminal investigation.
“Today’s news of arrests related to this case brings sadness but also a measure of relief and hope for resolution,” Cal Poly chairman Jeff Armstrong said at the press conference.
Smart was 19 and a freshman at California Polytechnic State University’s San Luis Obispo campus when she disappeared over Memorial Day weekend in 1996. The student had attended an off-campus fraternity party and was later found drunk on a neighbor’s lawn at 2:30 p.m. suis, according to an FBI agent’s private investigation and 2000 report.
While a few students intervened to wake Kristin up, it was Flores who walked her home – and became the last person to see her alive. As reported by The Daily Beast, Flores, who also dated Cal Poly, later told the cops that Kristin “walks very slowly” and that he squeezes her waist to keep her warm on the cold walk up. ‘at his Muir Hall dormitory. Flores told authorities he returned to her room at Santa Lucia Hall after dropping her off.
Yet a month later, dead dogs led the police to Flores’ mattress, which was on the left side of her dormitory. The dogs alerted again in the same area, even after the mattress was collected as evidence and removed from the building.
Derrick Tse, Flores’ roommate at the time, told police Flores admitted to killing Kristin. “Yes, I killed her and took her to my mother’s house and she’s still there,” Flores reportedly said, according to Tse’s statement to the cops.
Flores had cuts to his knees and a black eye when prosecutors questioned him. He claimed he had the minnow at a basketball game the day after Kristin went missing, but his friends told authorities he was already injured when he showed up to play. In another interview, Flores admitted to lying about the Black Eye, claiming that he actually hit his eye on the steering wheel of his truck while doing repairs.
During depositions in the Smart family trial, Flores pleaded fifth on all issues apart from his name and date of birth.
Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies searched the homes of Flores’ parents in Arroyo Grande, separated but apparently empty-handed.
A neighbor of Flores’ mother said he alerted police to strange activity he witnessed at the time of Kristin’s disappearance. The neighbor said he watched Flores and another young man dig in Susan Flores’ backyard and pour concrete late that night. He claimed the men also carried a rolled up rug that appeared to be carrying something heavy.
“I’ve never seen these guys before,” the tipster told The Daily Beast. “And they’re digging in this woman’s backyard at this time of day, and the kind of digging they were doing plus concrete just didn’t make sense.”
A second neighbor, Lauri Quinn, said she witnessed “construction work in progress” in Susan Flores’ yard, which included “newly constructed concrete planters cut into the existing cement in the yard,” according to the report. 2000 from the FBI agent.
Susan’s backyard was also of interest to a world-famous corpse dog named Buster, who discovered the remains of some 200 people, including World War II soldiers and others who have been missing for decades, before dying in 2016.
In the summer of 2014, Buster alerted twice to Susan’s fence after walking through her neighbor’s yard. “Believe me, there is human decomposition (decomposition) in this soil,” said Buster manager, retired police officer Paul Dostie. The Californian register, an independent newspaper now defunct.
In November 2016, The Daily Beast reported on the accusations of four women who say Paul Flores sexually assaulted them. One of the accusers alleges that Flores and a friend drugged and raped her in 1994 when she was in her second year in high school. A second woman, who attended Cal Poly, said Flores groped her at a Halloween dance party in 1995 and attempted to rape her in the bathroom at the party. her friend’s birthday the same year.
In response to The Daily Beast’s exclusive report, Kristin’s parents released a statement thanking the women for coming forward.
“These new allegations against Paul Flores are very disturbing and deserve a thorough investigation,” they said. “We are grateful to these brave women for having had the courage to speak out about their experiences and we ask anyone who may have any information they believe may be of use to contact the San Luis County Sheriff’s Office. Obispo.
“Any information or memory could make the difference in the recovery of our beloved Kristin.”
In January 2020, Kristin’s mother said The record, a Stockton daily, that a retired FBI agent warned her to prepare for a big break in the cold 23-year affair. “Getting ready. This will really be something you don’t expect. We want to give you the support you need,” the agent reportedly told Denise Smart, Kristin’s mother. But the retired lawyer didn’t didn’t say exactly when that bomb would drop.
Shortly after Denise’s statement made national headlines, the Smart family backed down, saying there was no imminent announcement: “When the sheriff’s department finishes the investigation , they will let us all know when there is news to report. Thank you for your understanding and for the interest we share in the ongoing investigation. ”
The retired agent’s advice brought hope to Kristin’s parents, who over the years have faced a roller coaster of emotions and what – until now – were few and far between. developments in the investigation, including a 2016 search by the university’s sheriff’s department. It is not known what was discovered during this search.
#Paul #Flores #charged #murder #Kristin #Smart #years #authorities