Paul Flores Sentenced To 25 Years To Life For Murder Of Kristin Smart
19-year-old Kristin Smart disappeared from California Polytechnic State University in May 1996. Her remains have never been found.
On March 10, 2023, Paul Flores was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the 1996 disappearance and death of his classmate Kristin Smart.
Smart was 19 years old and finishing her freshman year at California Polytechnic State University when she went missing. She was last seen leaving an off-campus party with Paul around 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996.
Although she was never found, she was declared legally dead in 2002, according to the Associated Press.
For years, Paul denied having any involvement in Smart’s disappearance but a popular podcast helped investigators arrest the prime suspect and his father, Ruben Flores, who was thought to have helped his son cover up the crime. The father and son were arrested in April 2021.
During Paul’s trial in October 2022, San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle told jurors that Paul took Smart back to his dorm room, where he raped her before killing her, PEOPLE reported.
According to Dan Dow, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney, “the last place where Kristin was seen was close to the dorms and near Mr. Flores’s dorm” and authorities “certainly believe that Mr. Flores’s dorm room was a crime scene.”
The prosecution argued that Ruben helped his son bury Smart under a new deck at his home in Arroyo Grande. Ruben was found not guilty of accessory after the fact in October.
Investigators have searched tirelessly for Smart’s body since her disappearance, including in the backyard of Ruben’s home. In March 2021, investigators searched the property around the home using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar. During the search, archaeologists working for police found a soil disturbance about the size of a casket and the presence of human blood underneath a deck, prosecutors said. Investigators were unable to extract a DNA sample from the blood, AP reported.
For more on this case, stream True Crime With Aphrodite Jones: "Girl, Gone" on discovery+.