Flores killed SLO County coed while sexual assaulting her, DA alleges

April 14, 2021

Photo by Richard Bastian


Paul Flores murdered Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, who has been missing since 1996, while raping or attempting to rape her, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow alleges.

At a press conference Wednesday, Dow announced his office filed a first-degree murder charge against Paul Flores, 44, and accessory after-the-fact to murder charge against 80-year-old Ruben Flores, the father of Paul Flores.

Ruben Flores helped to conceal Smart’s body after his son committed the murder, Dow said.

During the press conference, Dow said investigators think they know a location where Smart’s body may be. He did not specify the location.

Also, Dow said it is believed that Paul Flores’ dorm room was a crime scene, though he did not specify what is thought to have occurred there.

Investigators additionally believe Paul Flores has victimized other individuals, likely in Southern California. Paul Flores may have sexually assaulted victims in his community of San Pedro or elsewhere in the Los Angeles area.

“Paul Flores was known to frequent bars in the San Pedro area,” Dow said.

Dow is asking anyone with information about criminal conduct committed by Paul Flores to contact San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers. He acknowledged Wednesday that no-body homicide cases are complicated and difficult.

“The story of Kristin Smart has touched us all,” Dow said. “Her story has filled us all with determination.”

Smart, a native of Stockton, was nearing the end of her freshman year at Cal Poly when she vanished on May 25, 1996, after attending an off-campus party. She was last seen near the intersection of Perimeter Road and Grand Avenue. Smart was headed to her dorm room, and Paul Flores, then a 19-year-old freshman walked home from the party with her.

On Tuesday morning, after years of investigators amassing evidence and conducting interviews and searches, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Paul Flores at his San Pedro home and Ruben Flores at his Arroyo Grande home. Detectives have been digging under Rubin Flores’ home in another attempt to find Smart’s body.

Later Tuesday, Parkinson said his detectives found evidence related to Smart’s murder at the homes of both Paul and Ruben Flores.

Paul and Ruben Flores are due in court at 8:30 a.m. Thursday for an arraignment hearing.

Paul Flores is being held in the SLO County Jail without bail. Ruben Flores’ bail is set at $250,000, though the district attorney’s office has indicated it will likely seek that a judge raise the amount.

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With recognition to process, I find it distasteful to hear lawyers prematurely claiming to file suite for emotional damages. Personally, I want to see a fair trial, pray that there were no errors in process and then move forward with the legal judgment. “Everyone” has suffered, the Smart family certainly is entitled to this resolve, some form of peace without the shadow of peripheral interests. Just sayin.