Paul Flores, the prime suspect in the disappearance and death of Kristin Smart, has been charged with first-degree murder.
At an April 14 press conference, San Luis Obispo District Attorney (DA) Dan Dow said they would be charging Paul with murder, and charging his father Ruben Flores with accessory to the murder after the fact.
Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested on April 13 and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. Paul has no bail set and Ruben’s is set at $250,000. Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle said Ruben’s bail may be increased.
Dow said that the obtainment of physical evidence and witness statements has provided his office with enough evidence to prosecute Paul and Ruben. Electronic communication has also been obtained by the DA’s office which Dow said has been “helpful in the case.” He would not disclose the specifics of the communication.
The investigation is still ongoing and the DA and San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office are unable to release what evidence has been found that led to the arrest of Paul and Ruben. At a press conference on April 13, San Luis Obispo Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the evidence was forensic physical evidence and other physical evidence.
As Smart’s body has still not been found, this case is considered a “no body homicide.” Although she has not been discovered, the DA is still able to go forward in prosecuting the case. Dow said they believe they know where her body is located due to evidence obtained. He did not disclose where that location is and whether or not it is at one of the Flores’ properties.
Dow said that he and his team “certainly believe” that Paul’s dorm room in Santa Lucia was the crime scene.
There is also evidence that Paul attempted to rape Smart, according to Dow, yet the statute of limitations has expired and Paul can not be charged for this crime. Although he will not be charged with rape or attempted rape, the evidence that shows that this crime occurred is what allows the DA to charge Paul with first-degree felony murder.
Paul was known to frequent bars in San Pedro, where he lived before his arrest, and Dow said his office has evidence that there may be more victims of sexual assault crimes in Southern California. They are asking for anyone with information about other crimes Paul may have committed to contact the San Luis Obispo County Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-7867 or at www.slotips.org.
“If you’ve been a victim in another location, perhaps in San Pedro, we want you to come forward to law enforcement so that you can get assistance that you need, and it may help us in this particular case as well,” Dow said.
Paul has not been convicted of any violent crimes, but he has been charged with multiple accounts of driving under the influence (DUI) that has led to a felony conviction.
Dow said it is premature to say whether or not he will accept a plea deal on behalf of Paul or Ruben in exchange for information on the location of Smart’s body.
“No body homicides are obviously complicated and difficult, but they’re no less important, in fact, they’re incredibly important for the victim’s family because they want closure, as do the Smarts, in this case, so they’re complicated, they’re difficult but we don’t make a decision to file unless we believe we can prove the case,” Dow said. “And so, our team of exceptional professionals, and very experienced prosecutors and investigators are going to do everything we can to solve this case successfully.”
Paul will appear in court tomorrow at the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court for his arraignment at 8:30 a.m.