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Paul Flores charged with the murder of Kristin Smart 25 years later: Sheriff
The Daily Beast / Public Domain Almost 25 years after Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart disappeared after a frat party, a California man named as the prime suspect in her disappearance was arrested and charged. of his murder. the party and was the last person to see her alive in 1996, she was arrested Tuesday in San Pedro, California, and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. Flores’ father, Rubén Flores, 80, has also been arrested and charged with complicity after the fact. Authorities served another search warrant at Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande on Tuesday. “Throughout our investigation, Paul Flores has remained a person of great concern,” San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the charges against Flores and his father. . Parkinson declined to elaborate on the new information that led to Tuesday’s arrest, but said authorities obtained new evidence after monitoring Flores’ phone and text messages. The arrests come just a month after the sheriff’s office identified Flores as “the prime suspect” in the Smart case, which has drawn national attention for decades. Parkinson confirmed that authorities have not yet recovered Smart’s body, but the search will continue. “This is not over and we have made a commitment to them that we are not going to stop until Kristin recovers … We are committed to that,” Parkinson said, adding that he has spoken with the Smart family, who was “feeling a bit of relief “. “We will find Kristin.” The sheriff added that throughout the investigation, authorities executed 41 search warrants at 16 locations and compiled 500 police reports. He said physical evidence linking Flores to the disappearance was found in at least two houses. Flores, 44, has been denied bail, but his father could be released from jail on a $ 250,000 bond. Both are expected to appear in court on Thursday. Is Kristin Smart buried in this backyard? Neighbors and a wonderful dog say yes Four women say they were sexually assaulted by the man suspected of murdering a college student The Smart family always believed they had identified Flores, a fellow college student, as Kristin’s alleged killer. The Smarts even filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Flores, claiming that he “took advantage of” and “murdered” Kristin, who was in a “drunken state” when he found her. The civil case, however, remained stalled due to the ongoing criminal investigation. “Today’s arrest news in connection with the case brings sadness but also a measure of relief and hope for resolution,” Cal Poly President Jeff Armstrong said during the news conference. .Smart was 19 years old and a freshman on the San Luis Obispo campus of California Polytechnic University when she disappeared on Memorial Day weekend in 1996. The student had attended an off-campus frat party. and then she was found passed out drunk on a neighbor’s lawn at 2:30 am, according to an FBI agent’s private investigation and the 2000 report. While some students intervened to wake Kristin, it was Flores who accompanied her to her home and became the last person to see her alive. As The Daily Beast reported, Flores, who also attended Cal Poly, later told police that Kristin was “walking very slowly” and that he hugged her around the waist to keep her warm on the cold walk back to her dorm from Muir Hall. Flores told authorities that he returned to his room in the Santa Lucía Hall after leaving her; however, a month later, dead dogs led police to Flores’ mattress, which was on the left side of his bedroom. The dogs were alerted again in the same area, even after the mattress was collected as evidence and removed from the building. Derrick Tse, Flores’s roommate at the time, told police that Flores admitted to killing Kristin. “Yes, I killed her and took her to my mother’s house and she’s still there,” Flores allegedly said, according to Tse’s statement to police. Flores had cuts on his knees and a black eye when prosecutors interviewed him. He claimed he put the glitter on during a basketball game the day after Kristin disappeared, but his friends told authorities he already had the injury when he showed up to play. In another interview, Flores admitted that he lied about the black eye, saying that he had actually hit the steering wheel of his truck while doing repairs.During the statements in the Smart family lawsuit, Flores stated fifth in all separate questions. of your name and date of birth. Meanwhile, sheriff’s deputies searched the houses of Flores’ parents in Arroyo Grande, who were separated, but apparently arrived empty-handed. A neighbor of Flores’s mother said she alerted police to strange activity she witnessed when Kristin disappeared. The neighbor said he saw Flores and another young man digging in Susan Flores’s backyard and pouring cement late at night. He claimed that the men also dragged a rolled rug that appeared to be carrying something heavy. “I’ve never seen these guys before,” the insider told The Daily Beast. “And they’re digging in this woman’s garden at this time of day, and the kind of digging they were doing more of the concrete just didn’t make sense.” A second neighbor, Lauri Quinn, said she witnessed “construction work in progress” in Susan Flores’ yard that included “newly constructed concrete planters cut into existing cement in the backyard,” the agent’s report said. 2000 FBI. Susan’s backyard was also of interest to a world-famous corpse dog named Buster, who discovered the remains of about 200 people, including WWII soldiers and others missing for decades, before dying in 2016. In the summer of 2014, Buster twice alerted Susan’s fence after moving through her neighbor’s backyard. “Trust me, there’s human decay on that ground,” said Buster’s agent, retired police officer Paul. Dostie, to The California Register, a now-defunct independent newspaper. In November 2016, The Daily Beast reported allegations of four women who say they were sexually assaulted by Paul Flores. the accusers allege that Flores and a friend drugged and raped her in 1994 when she was a sophomore in high school. A second woman, who attended Cal Poly, said Flores groped her at a Halloween dance party in 1995, and tried to rape her in the bathroom at her friend’s birthday party that same year. In response to the exclusive report from The Daily Beast, Kristin’s parents issued a statement thanking the women for coming forward: “These new allegations against Paul Flores are very concerning and deserve to be investigated thoroughly,” they said. “We are grateful to these courageous women for having the courage to speak up about their experiences and we ask anyone who may have information that they think might be helpful to contact the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office. “Any little bit of information or memory could make a difference in the recovery of our beloved Kristin.” In January 2020, Kristin’s mother told The Record, a daily in Stockton, that a retired FBI agent warned her to brace for a big break in the 23-year-old cold case. “Be ready. This is really going to be something you don’t expect. We want to give you the support you need,” the agent reportedly told Denise Smart, Kristin’s mother. But the retired attorney did not say exactly when this bomb would drop. Shortly after Denise’s claim made national headlines, the Smart family backtracked and said there was no impending announcement: “When the Sheriff’s Department completes the investigation, they will notify all of us when there is news to announce. Thank you for your understanding and our shared interest in the ongoing investigation. ” The retired officer’s notice brought hope to Kristin’s parents, who over the years have grappled with a rollercoaster of emotions and what, until now, amounted to little progress in the investigation, including a 2016 excavation by from the college sheriff’s department. It is unclear what was unearthed from that excavation. Read more at The Daily Beast. Do you have a tip? Submit to The Daily Beast here Get our best stories delivered to your inbox every day. Register now! Beast Daily Membership: Beast Inside delves into the stories that matter to you. Learn more.