Investigators believe that Kristin Smart’s body was recently moved from beneath the deck at the Arroyo Grande home of the father of Paul Flores, who is accused of her murder, according to court records.
San Luis Obispo County prosecutors said detectives are “in possession of biological evidence that makes them believe the victim was buried underneath [Ruben Flores’] deck at one time.” Few other details were provided.
Smart, a freshman at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was last seen around 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996, leaving an off-campus party.
Two students told police they last saw her walking with Flores, also a freshman at the university. Flores has maintained through the years that he walked Smart to within a short distance of her dormitory and returned to his room. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance or any knowledge of her whereabouts. Smart’s body has never been found.
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A judge on Monday ordered that Flores remain in a San Luis Obispo County jail as he awaits trial on charges he killed Smart during an attempted rape in 1996. The judge agreed that Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, who is charged as an accessory to Smart’s killing, should be granted bail.
The allegations about moving the body were first reported by the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Defense attorneys said there could be natural explanations for the soil disturbance. They have also raised questions about the strength of the case against their clients, saying they have not seen much new evidence.
San Luis Obispo prosecutors said last week they were investigating whether Flores sexually assaulted women in the San Pedro area, where he has lived for the last 15 years. And the Los Angeles Police Department disclosed that detectives had gathered evidence implicating Flores in two alleged sexual assaults. Redondo Beach police in 2013 presented a rape case against Flores to Los Angeles County prosecutors, who declined to file charges for lack of evidence.