Paul Flores arrested, charged with murder in Kristin Smart case

Apr 13, 2021

In a press briefing Tuesday, April 13, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced Paul Flores has been arrested for the murder of Kristin Smart, a former Cal Poly student who disappeared nearly 25 years ago.

Paul Flores’ father, Ruben Flores, has been arrested as an accessory to her murder.

Paul Flores, recently named the prime suspect by the sheriff’s office, was arrested in San Pedro, Calif. the morning of April 13 and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail that afternoon.

Parkinson said there is no bail set for Paul Flores, who is set to be arraigned in San Luis Obispo County on Thursday, April 15.

Ruben Flores, Paul’s father, was arrested in Arroyo Grande, Calif. simultaneously and also booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. His bail is set at $250,000.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office investigators served search warrants at Ruben Flores’ Arroyo Grande home the morning of April 13.

Parkinson could not disclose specific items of evidence recovered during the investigation because the search warrants are sealed.

He said they have not yet recovered Smart’s remains, but said he is confident the evidence they do have is enough proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Since Parkinson became sheriff in 2011, his office has served 41 search warrants in the Kristin Smart investigation. The office has conducted physical evidence searches at 15 seperate locations, recovered 193 new items of evidence and conducted 137 interviews.

Parkinson said he believes investigators are closer than they have ever been to finding Smart’s remains. He said he spoke to the Smart family twice on April 13.

“Until we return Kristin to them, this is not over and we have committed to them that we are not going to stop until Krisitin has been recovered,” Parkinson said. “No matter what the cost, no matter what the time, we are committed to that.”

During the briefing, Parkinson credited Chris Lambert, the creator of the podcast “Your Own Backyard,” with giving the case international attention and introducing witnesses who had not previously been interviewed. Beginning in 2019, the podcast has documented and investigated Smart’s disappearance.

Lambert was present at the briefing and said he is still processing the recent events.

“I knew I was going to be here for this day no matter when it happened,” Lambert said. “I’ve kind of been waiting for this day for a long, long time now. I spent a lot of the last year going, ‘Is it going to be tomorrow? Is it going to be the next day?’ [I’ve been] wondering when that phone call [would] come.”

Lambert said he is following the investigation and working to compile enough information for another episode. He said he is willing to be a part of any trial in the future.

Parkinson said the case has now been turned over to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office for review and that office will announce further proceedings.

District Attorney Dan Dow said in a statement April 13 that his office is evaluating the Kristin Smart investigation following the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores and will release more information as it becomes available.