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Paul Flores Allegedly Killed Kristin Smart in His Dorm Room

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow speaks about the case
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2021 2:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tuesday brought big arrests in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart. Wednesday brought the prosecution's theory of the crime. San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow alleged Paul Flores, a fellow student who was the last person seen with Smart and has been the main suspect all these years, killed Smart as he raped or tried to rape her in his dorm room at the California Polytechnic State University campus in San Luis Obispo, where the two were both freshmen. "We certainly believe Mr. Flores’ room was a crime scene," said Dow. Flores' father Ruben, who was also arrested, is accused of helping him hide Smart's body. More:

  • Dow was largely mum on the evidence that spurred the arrests other than saying "significant information has come in over the past two years, and in the past month."
  • In terms of the "past month," the AP cites San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson as saying the arrests followed a search of Ruben Flores' Arroyo Grande home in March that involved ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. New evidence was uncovered. The house is about 15 miles from the university.

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  • Dow said they believe they know where Smart was buried, reports the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
  • Smart, 19, was last seen May 25, 1996, heading back to her dorm after an off-campus party. She was inebriated and Flores reportedly suggested that he walk her home.
  • Dow said it's possible Flores sexually assaulted other women and noted that Flores has regularly gone to bars near his home in the Los Angeles area of San Pedro. Dow requested that anyone with knowledge of any other "assaults or other acts" Flores committed report them to 805-549-7867.
  • The Los Angeles Times reports that prosecutors plan to make their case in part by sharing evidence of "prior sexual acts" and "other alleged incidents of abuse" involving Flores.
  • Paul Flores is to be charged with first-degree murder; Ruben Flores will be charged with accessory after murder. Both are due to be arraigned Thursday morning.
  • People has some of the Smart family's Tuesday statement on the development: "It is impossible to put into words what this day means for our family; we pray it is the first step to bringing our daughter home. ... The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain. We now put our faith in the justice system."
  • The AP has more background on the case: It was three days before Smart was reported missing, with a roommate saying police didn't want to take a missing persons report at first because it was Memorial Day weekend and it was possible she had just left the campus. The Smart family in its statement referenced how "an indifference and lack of resolve we experienced early on set the course for many years."
  • The Smart family in 1996 sued Paul Flores and the university $40 million. A rep for the family reports the case has been stayed awaiting a criminal case outcome.
(Read more Kristin Smart stories.)

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