SLO County deputies arrest suspects in Kristin Smart case, search for body

April 13, 2021

Kristin Smart


San Luis Obispo County Sheriff deputies arrested Paul Flores, the primary suspect in the disappearance of Kristin Smart,  and his father, Ruben Flores, at separate locations Tuesday morning. Investigators are currently digging under Rubin Flores’ home in another apparent attempt to find the missing teen’s body.

Paul Flores was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area, where he resides. Authorities arrested Ruben Flores after San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at his Arroyo Grande home.

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. The 19-year-old was last seen in the company of then-fellow student Paul Flores, who claims he escorted Smart to her dorm, which was relatively empty over the Memorial Day weekend.

Paul Flores has long been the lone suspect in Smart’s disappearance.

In Feb. 2020, sheriff’s deputies served warrants at four locations, including at Paul Flores’s San Pedro home and the Arroyo Grande home of his mother. The same day, investigators also served warrants at an undisclosed location in SLO County and at a location in Washington State.

Authorities served another search warrant at Paul Flores’ home in April 2020.

Then in Feb. 2021, Los Angeles police officers arrested Paul Flores in Rancho Palos Verdes on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Officers booked Flores into the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center. He was soon released from custody.

Last month, deputies conducted a two-day search for Smart’s remains at the home of Ruben Flores. They used cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar to search Ruben Flores’ property. Deputies also dug in several places in search of remains.

During the search, a cadaver dog showed interest in a 1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet, which is currently registered to Ruben and Susan Flores. Deputies towed the car from Rubin Flores’ home.

At the time of Smart’s disappearance, the vehicle belonged to Paul Flores’ sister, Ermelinda Flores, who lived near Cal Poly. After Smart’s disappearance, the car was transferred into their parents’ names.

The SLO County Sheriff’s Office will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the case.


I could not imagine being his mother. I feel for her. BUT if she suspected anything she should have turned in her son. Same for the rest of his family. IF they knew he was out there murdering, raping etc. hurting anyone, they should have done the right thing and turn him in. Would you? IF you knew your family member was out raping girls? Would you do the right thing?

Cthulhu Colander

The father and son were both in on it? Doesn’t sound plausible. Kristin Smart was dropped in the dumpster and she is in the landfill.


Do a little research before sharing your “sage” advice.




Hope this brings an end to all these years wondering where she was. Kirsten deserves better and her family deserves to bring her home.


If Dan Dow prosecutes the case then the Flores’ have nothing to worry about.


Here’s hoping that the truth about what that dirtbag and his dad did comes out and Kristin gets the justice she deserves. We would have had this moments years ago if Cal Poly PD hadn’t screwed this up.


Brief explanation of how they screwed it up?


Cal Poly PD, led by incompetent detective Mike Kennedy, refused to investigate her disappearance initially, suggesting that she probably just left town despite her having no car nor leaving any other signs she left town. They continued to bungle the case for a month, not properly interviewing Paul Flores or other witnesses and never searching his room. It was only by pure luck that Paul was arrested for a different crime and the arresting agency (not Cal Poly PD) documented him having a black eye – a fact that Cal Poly PD apparently never noticed. His room was finally searched when the sheriff took over the case and at that point Paul had moved off campus and Cal Poly had deep cleaned his room, destroying any available evidence. Paul was not an experienced hardened criminal, if they investigated early and subjected him to a proper interrogation, they likely could have broken him and gotten him to confess, assisted by any circumstantial evidence they could have gathered.


Pretty sad how Cal Poly’s upper admin interfered with the PD’s work and made this investigation go away. It’s an ugly secret that made the Smart family unnecessarily agonize for nearly 25 years!


Not to be a cynic but the Republican DA faces a BLM challenge from an increasing Berkeley-esque electorate. He needs to swing for the fence to get reelected. All the news reports conveniently ignore Cal Poly’s obstruction in their “timelines”. To his credit, the Sheriff both credited Matthew Lambert’s podcast series and admitted mistakes (2 weeks B4 any investigation, dorm room cleaned, ignoring roommate’s pleas the day after she disappeared, won’t seek warrant for bank records because she’s a 19 y.o. legal adult and dismissing her parent’s pleas, spreading rumors about her personal life and Spring quarter grades…). Cal Poly’s only interest was in a coverup. I find Parkinson’s involvement of Cal Poly and their clown of a president in this news conference as distasteful and pandering to Cal Poly’s interests. Apparently one witness may be an Australian exchange student who returned home after finals and was unaware of the case. However, Paul (and Ruben) can still say “if you’re so smart, where’s the body?” Susan Flores continues with her book project chronicling her family’s victimization.


I forgot, there’s more. Cal Poly agreed that Kristen’s case would be incorporated as an educational tool into the freshmen Week of Welcome orientation. I have worked with Cal Poly interns for years and always ask if they were told anything about Kristen Smart during WOW. Nothing ever mentioned to any of them. Almost all knew nothing about it, thanks to Poly.


You ALWAYS ask your interns about it? Wow, you must be a real hoot to work for.

“Hey interns, so back when you did WOW, did they tell you all about the girl that was violently raped and murdered in the dorms?? No? Well let me educate you…”


So how does Cal Poly’s lack of accountability and my water cooler conversation violate any decent standard? Is this Susan posting? Most knew about it, no thanks to Poly, and now all do thanks to Chris Lambert. Someone actually had to fund a newspaper sent to all SLO addresses to tell the truth. This educated many current residents.


Please, let the guilty be found, and her memory finally be at peace.


Amen, brother!