crime and punishment

California’s Paul Flores, Ruben Flores arrested almost 25 years after Kristin Smart’s disappearance

Kristin Denise Smart

Paul Flores, 44, of San Pedro, Los Angeles, California, United States was arrested by San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office detectives on April 13, 2021. His father Ruben Flores, 80, of Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo County, California was also arrested that day.

Represented by Robert Sanger, Paul was charged with murder as the prime suspect in the disappearance of Kristin Denise Smart. He was being held without bal.

Ruben is accused of being an accessory to the crime and is represented by Harold Mesick. His bail was set on $250,000.

“The disappearance of Kristin Smart has weighed heavily on the hearts of the people of Arroyo Grande all this time,” Associated Press quoted Arroyo Grande mayor Caren Ray Russom as saying. “She was never forgotten here and many, many of us have closely followed this case for decades.”

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Born to Stan Smart and Denise Smart in Augsburg, Germany, Kristin was a child when she and her family immigrated to Stockton, San Joaquin, California. In 1996, Kristin and Paul were both freshmen at the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo, California.

On May 25, 1996, Kristin attended an off-campus birthday party. At around 2:00 a.m., she was found passed out on a neighbor’s lawn.

Paul and two other Cal Poly students namely Tim Davis and Cheryl Anderson helped Kristin walk to her dormitory room safely. Davis and Anderson were the first and second to depart the group, respectively, and Paul claimed that he walked Kristin as far as his dormitory and let her to walk back to her dormitory by herself.

That was the last time Kristin was seen alive. She was declared legally dead on May 25, 2002.

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On January 29, 2020, the San Luis Obispo Police Department confirmed that two trucks Paul owned had been taken in as evidence. On April 22, 2020, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Department searched his San Pedro home and found numerous items of interest.

On February 11, 2021, the Los Angels Police Department arrested Paul in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. On March 15, 2021, a search warrant was issued to search his home and an older-model Volkswagen was towed from the home.

Kristin’s body has yet to be found. Meanwhile, Paul and Ruben are expected to appear in court on April 15, 2021.

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