SLO County sheriff details the Kristin Smart murder investigation

April 13, 2021

Paul Flores


San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced his detectives found evidence related to the murder of Kristin Smart at the homes of both Paul Flores and his father Rubin Flores, during a press conference on Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, San Luis Obispo County deputies arrested 43 year-old Paul Flores, the last person to see Smart alive, for her murder. Deputies also arrested his father Rubin Flores, 80, on accessory to murder charges.

During his press conference, Parkinson said that Chris Lambert’s “Your Own Backyard” podcast helped bring witnesses forward and was positive to the investigation.

Investigators are currently digging under Rubin Flores’ home in another attempt to find the teen’s body.

Deputies searching for Kristin Smart’s remains. Photo by Richard Bastian

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.

Kristin Smart

Time line:

In 1996, Smart was a 19-year-old freshman at Cal Poly.

Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996, near the intersection of Perimeter Road and Grand Avenue. She was headed to her dorm room after leaving an off-campus party. Paul Flores, a 19-year-old freshman walked home from the party with her.

On May 28, 1996, the Smart family reported the teen missing. At that time, Cal Poly Police handled the initial investigation into her disappearance with the assistance of investigators from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

On June 26, 1996, almost a month later, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office assumed the lead investigative role in the case, and it has remained an active investigation ever since.

Shortly after Ian Parkinson was sworn in as sheriff on Jan. 3, 2011, he revealed plans to find Smart and hold the person responsible for her disappearance accountable.

In late 2016, investigators discovered additional evidence which confirmed Paul Flores was a suspect in the disappearance of Smart.

Rubin Flores

In 2019, detectives interviewed a new witness in the case. With the discovery of new evidence and a new witness, detectives secured a court order authorizing the interception and monitoring of Paul Flores’ cell phone and text message communications.

In Feb. 2020, detectives served search warrants at the home of Paul Flores, as well as his sister, mother, and father. Physical evidence recovered during those searches led to the service of an additional search warrant at Paul Flores’ residence in April of 2020.

In March of 2021, detectives served a search warrant at the Arroyo Grande home of Ruben Flores, the father of Paul Flores. Additional evidence related to the murder of Smart was discovered during the search.

Since Parkinson took office in 2011, investigators conducted 137 interviews, served 41 search warrants and collected 143 items.

Photo by Richard Bastian

On April 13, detectives arrested Paul Flores for the murder of Smart.He is being held without bail in the San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Also on April 13, detectives arrested Paul Flores’ father Ruben Flores on an accessory to murder charge. He is being held on $250,000 bail.


So very sad… Back then the investigators knew, the dogs knew, and of course technology wasn’t close to what it is now. The ‘fish’ post said something doesn’t smell right (like I said the dogs knew something didn’t smell right) & the gloves didn’t fit. After so much time theres no axe to grind except…they’ve always known and obviously new info came to light. Stay tuned….

By the way didnt really believe the whole OJ glove circus thing did you?


Prayers go out to the Smart family. But this doesn’t smell right to me you arrest two individuals based on?????? no body no weapon …. remember OJ the glove didn’t fit.

I hope this doesn’t back fire and cost the ratepayers…..Wonder who will represent father and son????


Its possible that a very frustrated law enforcement agency is doing this to apply pressure on Paul or his father in an attempt to break one of them….if they had new compelling evidence they would have presented it….and they haven’t….they are risking one huge harassment suit if they have nothing besides the scent of a dead mouse…


They were surveilling the Flores’ cell phone communications:

With the discovery of new evidence and a new witness, detectives secured a court order authorizing the interception and monitoring of Paul Flores’ cell phone and text message communications.

Odds are they secured this warrant, then started digging in the dad’s backyard. Then got to watch the two Flores’ buffoons completely implicate themselves over text/phone just by poking around in the backyard.


Obviously Ian Parkinson is planning another run for sheriff as evidenced by his self-aggrandizing press conference. He spent half of his presentation touting himself as the greatest sheriff ever. Watch the presentation and count the number of times he uses the personal pronoun “I”.


Great news. I’m relieved for the Smart family. Such a terrible and horrific thing to live and deal with all of these years. I hope it brings a sense of closure for them.


Pretty shameful not to mention the podcast that brought about the renewed interest in the case.

Chris Lambert’s “Your Own Backyard” is responsible for putting together the pieces and finally getting The SLO County Sheriff to do something.

But for Mr. Lambert’s research and discovery, Parkinson would still be staring at a wall with a silly grin.

SLO County and City and CPSLO Officers bungled the case in nearly every way possible. Parkinson said “I” a lot which is curious since he has had very little to do with the recent developments.

Let’s give credit where credit is due and remember in November that Parkinson is taking credit for other’s work, again.


I’m no one’s fan boi, but compared to just about all the other law enforcement agencies out there, I have come to respect the SLO Sheriff’s Office and Parkinson.

I’ll certainly be voting for him. Again.


We get it. You don’t like the Sheriff. Bottom line is, the scumbag Flores and his dad are in custody for the murder of this young lady. That’s GREAT NEWS!

It appears your so much smarter than all of the agencies you mentioned. So what would of you done? Always easy to be an armchair quarterback when your not in the game, and be critical of others doing their job. Pretty shameful if you ask me in this situation.


I may be incorrect on this, and I’ll go back and listen again, but I believe they referenced Lambert’s work on this

Any thoughts out there from those who listened to the press conference?


They did mention the podcast. Both Parkinson and the Cal Poly guy, in the opening press conference.


Just who is Reuben Flores? Some have suggested his law enforcement ties helped to obstruct investigation at the beginning.


Yeah, I keep hearing a reference to his law enforcement background. Can anyone verify this?


I think he’s getting a “law enforcement background” as we speak ;)

Cthulhu Colander

This is garbage. I suspect Paul Flores, but SLO detectives botched the investigation from the start. Kristin is in the landfill. Investigators will find nothing.


Earlier plea agreements that Paul’s attorney had drawn up had the prerequisite that Paul would lead police to her body. It’s unlikely that his attorney would have included that guarantee that if he disposed of her body in a way that could not be found. This is why police are hopeful they will find her with or without his help.


If you suspect Paul Flores, why is it “garbage” that he was arrested? Shouldn’t you be pleased that he is behind bars?