Exclusive: Neighbors point to Flores’ yard as likely location of Kristin Smart’s body

April 26, 2021

The second layer of bricks partially finished in Paul Flores’ back yard

Editor’s Note: CalCoastNews reporters conducted multiple interviews with neighbors of Paul Flores over the past year. Several sources asked that their names not be disclosed in articles.

By KAREN VELIE and JOSH FRIEDMAN

Kristin Smart case investigators did not find her body below the deck of a house in Arroyo Grande owned by murder suspect Paul Flores’ father. They did find evidence that a body had once been buried there. Now, neighbors in the San Pedro neighborhood where Paul Flores lived for more than a decade, say he buried something in his back yard about a year ago.

SLO County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle declared in documents used in a bail reduction hearing for Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores that investigators had found evidence that a body had been buried under the father’s deck.

“The excavation below his deck . . . showed damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved,” Peuvrelle said in a written statement filed in court, The Washington Post reported April 21.

The documents, a part of a county probation report, were inadvertently placed online and accessed, Nikki Rodriguez, spokesperson for the San Luis Obispo Superior Court, told CNN. The documents were published by the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Kristin Smart

Neighbors, who asked not to be identified in this story, were suspicious when Paul Flores, who had left his back yard overgrown with weeds for years, began removing the brush in 2019.

Paul Flores dug a large hole in a rear corner of his back yard after that, his neighbors said.

Some weeks later, and shortly before midnight, one of the neighbors saw Paul Flores take something wrapped in a black blanket from the trunk of his car. The neighbor watched as he carried the object to his back yard and put it in the hole. He covered the hole with plywood.

The next day, the neighbor asked Paul Flores what he had put in the hole. He said it was his dead dog, the neighbor recalled. But the neighbors say they did not believe he had any dogs then.

After that, Paul Flores built a roughly 10-by-15-foot wood frame around the hole and placed rebar, metal reinforcing bars, inside.

He rented a concrete truck and filled the frame. Once the concrete set, Paul Flores laid red bricks over the concrete. CalCoastNews reported on and published pictures of bags of cement on Paul Flores’ front porch about a year ago.

Bags of concrete stacked on Paul Flores’ front porch a year ago

He was working to add a second layer of bricks when he was arrested on April 13, 2021.

“It was weird to me,” a neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said. “You don’t put bricks over bricks.”

Shortly after Paul Flores buried the object in his back yard, he acquired two mixed pit bulls, a female named Lucy, and her pup. The pup died about a month or two ago. Flores then brought home another dog, a pit bull, which neighbors describe as vicious.

After deputies arrested Paul Flores, his dogs remained in the back yard. Neighbors threw food over the back fence and tried to get animal control to pick up the dogs. Several days ago, the dogs broke out and a neighbor took the animals to his home.

Deputies left the dogs in the backyard because a relative of Flores was supposed to take care of the property following the arrest, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office said.

A deputy escorting Paul Flores from his San Pedro home

Since Paul Flores’ arrest, people have been in and out of his home, doors have been left open and it appears the property is vacant, neighbors said. Neighbors also said it appeared there was a squatter in the house for several days.

On Wednesday afternoon, the home was targeted in what the Los Angeles Police Department, which has jurisdiction in San Pedro, classified as an attempted burglary.

Paul Flores remains incarcerated in San Luis Obispo County Jail where he is being held without bail. Ruben Flores was released on bail Thursday morning.

Prosecutors also claimed in the bail documents that Paul Flores was believed to be a serial rapist.

“Dozens of women have recounted Paul Flores’ sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document his twenty-five years as a serial rapist,” Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle wrote in the report, CNN reported.

Investigators have said that Paul Flores killed Smart during an attempted sexual assault and his father helped hide the body. Paul Flores and Smart were both students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, at the time of her disappearance.

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IDBOUND

This case is like a B movie …if its true a body was buried in Arroyo Grande then moved to San Pedro …It could have been a dog …Could be Flores family just doing it to give neighbors and LE something to chase and dig up …If this case is decided in court based on evidence both Flores’s will be found innocent …Where will the trial be moved to ? Almost every other adult has heard and read about this case


glorioskey

Except there is evidence that there were human remains under deck. So if they buried her in their backyard once and it worked for years,well….


paragon

I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. Flores would have to be the dumbest criminal in the world to rebury the body in his own backyard in full view of his neighbors after all the heat that has been on him in the last few years through renewed public interest, search warrants, etc. More likely it’s part of his continued misdirection ploy to keep attention away from where the body really is. The earlier example of the Flores family misdirection circus would be all the concrete they poured at Susan Flores house to cause suspicion of the body being there when the body was apparently buried under Ruben Flores’ deck the entire time, but for some reason, the police never bothered to think of that possibility until a couple years ago?!


horse_soldier

The fact that we’re not hearing about this from other sources speaks volumes.

Let’s hope Matt Fountain at The Trib isn’t hoping to win a yet another dishonest and undeserved award for this story by once again falsely claiming it’s his work.


glorioskey

I assume this has all been reported to police? WHY ARE POLICE NOT DIGGING IT UP!” Or at least closing it off? Why is no one else talking about this? I.e. newspapers or blogs?

Geez! Anyone got a cadaver dog available. Could probably get on property since squatters, burglars whatever else are.


diamond

This case has been spectacularly botched from day one. When we watched Paul Flores detained a year ago, my daughter and I were on The phone with each other, shocked to see stacks of cement in front of Paul’s home. Not only were the Keystone cops not minding the store, they gave the Flores family the keys to the store. Disturbing to find out Paul committed more sexual assaults/rapes while still “under investigation“. Question? Is it true that Ruben Flores was a reserve deputy? So far this case has been solved by Chris Lambert and concerned citizens who embarrassed Parkinson into doing his job. As usual, Parkinson & Dow only show up for the photo shoots. Thank you Mr. Lambert.


FoxtrotYankee

Wouldn’t be a bad idea for more outside journalists/podcasters/authors/etc to start being integrated into cold case investigations. Author Michelle McNamara recently played a key role in helping solve the Golden State Killer case. Billy Jensen helped with the Helene Pruszynski case. Payne Lindsey helped with the Tara Grinstead case. Lambert with Kristin Smart. etc. etc.


derasmus

Diamond , regarding Flores’ past law enforcement background, I too have heard this but have not seen or heard any evidence of that. CCN, can you shed any light? Anyone?


Buchon

Dial it back a bit with regards to Parkinson and Dow. The bungling began back on May 26, 1996 at the hands of the California State Police situated on the Cal Poly Campus.


Since that time, plenty of LE agencies and individuals have contributed to the “bungling.” There have also been some indefatigable grinders who have never quit searching for the truth. Like it or not, Parkinson and Dow belong in the latter group.


kettle

“Dial it back a bit with regards to Parkinson and Dow”


No, Dan Dow and Parkinson, both PUBLIC OFFICALS only do what is good for Dow and Parkinson. Both have a election/primary next year at that time they will be going on about this arrest and so on, trial wont happen for a year or more. Lets see the evidence, if it’s there and gets a conviction good.


The bungling continues nonstop, don’t be fooled by the smoke, both want to be elected to a higher office.


paragon

Sure, the bungling was at the criminally negligent level from the Cal Poly PD, but if you don’t think the “bungling” has continued with Parkinson, then explain how his deputies served a search warrant on Ruben Flores on Feb 5, 2020, but somehow FAILED to keep him under any sort of surveillance to the point where Ruben and 2 others were able to dig up and move Kristen’s body 4 days after the warrant was served without being detected! Seriously?!? You serve a warrant on a guy with the theory the body is buried at his house, but don’t watch for him to try to move it? If you find this hard to believe, just read the details of the court filing posted on the yourownbackyardpodcast instagram from April 22.


what the

Buchon, the California State Police was absorbed by the CHP July 12, 1995.


Buchon

Thank you. I wonder if the Poly cops ultimately report to the university’s president, or to the local CHP branch office?


Boldguy

I hope they nail Paul for the murder of Kristin!!!

Some of this conjecture is over the top. Why would he move the body from his fathers house to his own? If he killed her in or around the dorm rooms, why would he take her to his dads house to bury her? I hope that Parkinson and Dow have a handle on this and are not bowing to public pressure to just do something. Flores has been under investigation for 25 years, under neighborhood watch 24/7, rightfully so, but he knew it too!!!


October

Although I do believe they might have taken Kristin’s body to the fathers house initially, I agree that it is unlikely they moved the body to Paul’s house. I’m thinking it might be another victim.


glorioskey

It’s the last place anyone would look?‍♀️


Scarlet

Now THAT’S reporting. The big question: did detectives interview these neighbors and, if not, why not.


grumpy

The question immediately arises,why didn’t they investigate Paul’s back yard when they arrested him? Leaving it unattended leaves it open to question as to who had/has access to it.


ml1999

It smells. My understanding of laying brick is to lay gravel, sand, and then brick. I guess some might do cement & brick. NEVER heard of cement, and then 2 layers of brick.


Buchon

A cement/slurry underlayment over a suitable base for brick is not uncommon.


glorioskey

2 layers of brick? After backyard neglected for years, then digs a hole and gets a black bag or something out of trunk of car at midnight and put it in the hole, then builds this involved foundation on top of it by himself? Very fishy indeed!


paragon

Add “leaves cement on his front porch where everyone can see it” and “makes a big show of putting something from your trunk into said hole in a manner where your neighbors can see it” and it is a pretty obvious smokescreen to distract the police from the real coverup happening elsewhere.


Buchon

Actually read what I posted! (“A cement/slurry underlayment over a suitable base for brick is not uncommon.”)


I didn’t suggest the “2 layers of brick” was normative. Don’t attempt to speak for me. That’s nothing more than lying.


I was responding to: “…My understanding of laying brick is to lay gravel, sand, and then brick…”


A cement/sand slurry is a common underlayment for bricks, whether you and “ml1999” realize it or not.