The preliminary hearing of Paul and Ruben Flores has been digging into its expert witnesses. They are focusing on the ones who participated in the excavation at the Flores house at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande on March 15 and 16 of 2021.
Liddell is a forensic specialist who helped dig the hole and discover the staining in the soil, thought to be from human decomposition. She dug about three feet down under Ruben’s deck when the stain appeared. The abnormality in question had a dark exterior with an irregular border, something archeologist Cindy Arrington would later describe as a “bathtub ring.”
Other findings included potential blood evidence using a technique called Blue Star. Liddell sprayed the chemicals inside Mike McConville, Susan Flores’ boyfriend’s, trailer and then made sure no light would enter it before the camera would start taking pictures.
There she found a large blue glowing splatter like patter right inside of the door to the trailer. Blue Star glows blue when enhancing potential blood evidence, this pattern glowing one and a half by two to three feet. Other substances that can create a slight glow include vegetables, paints and household cleaners such as chlorine bleach.
Philip Hanes is one of the archeologists who operated the ground penetrating radar machine at 710 White Court. With two degrees and 15 years of experience, he specialized in remote sensing technology to gain an understanding of what is underground in order to guide excavations.
This type of technology was objected to by Robert Sanger, Paul’s lawyer, for being “novel” and not accepted in the scientific community. Judge van Rooyen overruled this motion based on the technology being used mainly for screening before excavation.
Hanes went through the operation on March 15 and 16, by starting with making 11 grids around the property to use ground penetrating radar on. Grid one had the main findings of the stain and “significant soil disturbance,” according to Hanes. The soil anomaly was four by six feet.
Hanes considered the anomaly to be “big enough for a potential burial.”
He is not the only archeologist with that opinion.
Cindy Arrington has been an archaeologist since the 1980s, having a masters degree in archaeology with an emphasis on human remains.
During the March 15 and 16 investigations, Arrington helped clear brush, make grids and excavate the site underneath the deck. Once her and Hanes found the soil disturbance, the digging began.
Soil from the stained dirt was placed on a tarp once it was removed. The abnormality was thought to be fluid that had seeped into the soil.
“That stain looks like a decomposition stain or a cadaver soaked stain,” said Arrington.
Yet the stain should have had a concentrated pool at the bottom where the fluid stopped leaking into the soil. Arrington said that this stain did not have this because whatever was leaking into the soil under the deck was removed.
The hearing will continue Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m., where it is expected that the motion to quash including Chris Lambert’s subpoena will be addressed.