Last week police arrested Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores in connection with the 1996 disappearance of college student Kristin Smart. San Luis Obispo County district attorney Dan Dow claimed Smart had been abducted by Paul Flores (who had volunteered to walk her home from a party that night) and then killed during an attempted rape. The arrest of Paul’s father Ruben Flores came after investigators had been involved in digging at his property. The suspicion was that Ruben had helped his son hide Smart’s body but a gag order has prevented both sides in the case from discussing the evidence. All that was known for certain was that Smart’s body had not been found.
Yesterday the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on some of the new evidence which prompted the arrests.
A Sheriff’s Office detective said in a county probation report obtained by The Tribune that investigators “are in possession of biological evidence that makes them believe the victim was buried underneath (Ruben Flores’) deck at one time.”
The detective added that recent searches at the home revealed “damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved.”…
Sheriff’s Det. Clint Cole, lead investigator in the case, is quoted in the report saying that “biological evidence” was found at Paul’s father’s home and that “both the defendant and his father are involved and it is a family crime.”
A defense attorney for Flores claimed there was an innocent explanation for why the soil had been disturbed under Ruben Flores’ deck, i.e. it had been moved when the house was built. But prosecutors suggested the defense was skipping over the most damning evidence that had been uncovered. Because of the gag order, they didn’t say what that was but presumably it’s the “biological” part of the new evidence. We’ll have to wait a bit longer to see what that is.
The other big news in the story helps explain why the district attorney accused Paul Flores of attempted rape. If Paul Flores is the only person alive who knows what happened, how could the DA reach this conclusion? The answer is that they’ve spoken to a lot of other women who’ve encountered Paul Flores over the years:
Also for the first time, prosecutors revealed in the court documents that “dozens of women have recounted Paul Flores’ sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document his 25 years as a serial rapist.”
In arguing that Flores shouldn’t be allowed out on bail, Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle told the court, “If he were released from custody the court would be putting a serial rapist back on the streets and leave him free to victimize additional women.”
The judge denied Paul Flores bail. Peuvrelle also wanted to deny bail to Ruben Flores but the judge agreed to release him on bail, in part because he is 80-years-old and not healthy.
There doesn’t seem to be much hope that either Flores will crack and reveal the location of the body at this point, at least not prior to the trial. They have kept this secret for 25 years and now Ruben Flores is old enough that an offer of a reduced sentence is meaningless to him. Anything other than probation is probably a life sentence for him. As for Paul Flores, he’s probably facing life if convicted so he won’t talk either. All that to say, the prosecutors are just going to have to prove their case and get convictions. Imminent prison sentences may finally loosen some tongues.
This local news report shows the house where the body was allegedly buried.