On Tuesday, after waiting for almost 27 years, the family and friends of missing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart finally saw Paul Flores be convicted guilty of murder. Her murderer was been sentenced to 25 years to life in jail, but the greatest mystery is still unanswered: Where is Kristin?
After Tuesday’s judgment, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson told reporters, “This case will not be ended until Kristin is brought home, and we have committed to that from the beginning.” Without pausing for a breath, we continue. In no way do we dismiss this.
Before his disappearance over Memorial Day weekend in 1996, Smart had been seen at a party. At her murder trial, witnesses stated that Smart seemed to be intoxicated and needed assistance returning to her dorm. Flores, who was also a first-year student at Cal Poly at the time, was one of the individuals who stepped in to walk her home. Smart’s other pals gradually dispersed to their various homes, leaving the two of them in the company of just Flores.
Since Flores is being uncooperative, we still don’t know what happened to Smart after she parted ways with her pals. Flores said that he had said goodbye to Smart and had last seen her heading toward her dorm. The prosecution claimed that four different cadaver dogs detected the “smell of death” on Flores’ mattress, indicating that he was likely responsible for the victim’s sexual assault and subsequent death in his dorm room.
He removed Smart’s corpse from the premises. When police executed a search warrant at the house of Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, in 2021, they must have thought they were close to discovering her. About 20 minutes from the Cal Poly campus, investigators dug out a spot beneath the back deck home 710 White Court in Arroyo Grande. There, the prosecution claims they discovered a disturbance in the soil on par with a human being, along with blood.
Prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle said in April 2021 that “damning evidence” had been uncovered during a dig underneath his deck at 710 White Court, indicating that a person had been buried there and subsequently relocated.
However, the prosecution’s specialists were unable to prove conclusively that Smart was buried there. Human blood was found, but it was too degraded for DNA testing. Ruben Flores, who is now 81 years old, was found not guilty of being an accomplice to murder after the fact on Tuesday, despite prosecution claims that he knew where Smart’s corpse was transferred to. Four days after a search warrant was issued for the White Court house in 2020, Smart’s family claims that Ruben Flores helped them relocate the corpse. Kristin Smart’s corpse, the Smarts claimed in court documents, was still in San Luis Obispo County.
For the time being, Paul Flores, who has been mainly unhelpful with law enforcement since his first interviews in 1996, is the only person who knows where Smart was buried. Flores’ sentencing is slated for December 9; however, he has the option to file an appeal, which might result in years of more legal proceedings. Flores is not likely to reveal where Smart’s body is if he believes he has a chance of being released on appeal. However, prosecutors are sometimes successful in negotiating for a lower sentence in return for information from convicted murderers.
One thing that is certain is that neither law police nor Smart’s loved ones plan to give up the hunt.
Smart’s father, Stan, stated on Tuesday, “After 26 years, with today’s split judgment, we learnt that our fight for justice for Kristin will continue.” A lot more bad things have happened on this path than good ones.