The man charged with murdering Kristin Smart nearly 25 years ago was accused of sexually assault in three separate cases, including one in which his DNA matched a rape kit sample, in the years after the California college student vanished.
Paul Flores, now 44, has never been arrested or charged in relation to the three separate alleged sexual assaults that authorities say occurred between 2007 and 2017 in Los Angeles.
Flores, who has long been a suspect in Smart’s 1996 disappearance but was only arrested on April 13, has pleaded not guilty to killing her during an attempted rape in his California Polytechnic State University dorm room.
His father Ruben Flores, 80, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of accessory after the murder for hiding Smart’s body.
It has since emerged that Flores has been investigated for three alleged sexual assaults in the years after he is accused of killing Smart, including two in Los Angeles and one in Redondo Beach, according to court documents and police memos obtained by the LA Times.
Paul Flores, now 44, has long been a suspect in Kristin Smart’s 1996 disappearance but was only arrested on April 13. He has pleaded not guilty to killing her during an attempted rape in his California Polytechnic State University dorm room
In the Redondo Beach case, police were called to a hospital in January 2007 after a woman underwent a rape kit examination because she believed she had been assaulted.
The woman told police she had been drinking at a bar with friends earlier that night but later woke up naked in a man’s bed with no memory of what had happened.
The woman, who told police she believed she may have been drugged, said she left the man’s home still feeling intoxicated.
Kristin Smart was last seen on May 25, 1996, with Paul Flores while returning to her dorm at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo after an off-campus party
The rape kit determined she had sex but there were no ‘obvious indication of force or assaultive behavior’.
It also did not show any traces of a date rape drug.
A DNA sample collected as part of the examination was entered into a police database and four years later matched with Flores.
Redondo Beach Police launched a rape investigation and interviewed Flores, who told them he had no ‘particular recollection’ of the woman.
‘He stated it was possible he had sex with her since he has had sex with many girls,’ a police memo related to the case showed.
The alleged victim was unable to identify Flores from a police line up.
Prosecutors ultimately decided they couldn’t prove Flores raped the woman and did not bring charges against him.
‘The DNA hit only proves that there was some type of sexual contact but not what the nature of that contact was,’ Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Christi Frey wrote in a memo at the time.
Los Angeles Police say Flores is suspected of sexually assaulting two women between 2013 and 2017.
The details of those alleged assaults are not known and prosecutors have not decided whether to file charges against Flores.
Ruben Flores, 80, (right) has pleaded not guilty to a charge of accessory after the murder for hiding Kristin Smart’s body after his son Paul Flores (left) allegedly killed her in 1996 during an attempted rape in his California Polytechnic State University dorm room
Smart’s family have since filed a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court claiming her body was buried in Ruben’s yard but he moved it ‘under the cover of darkness’. They searched the home again last week following the arrests and could be seen dismantling the deck that leads underneath the house
Separate from the sex assault allegations, Flores has at least five convictions for drunk driving in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
He also has a conviction for being drunk in public.
Flores was arrested back in 1998 in Huntington Beach for assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm but was not prosecuted due to lack of evidence.
In one of his probation reports that was unintentionally made public from a prior conviction, he was once described by a deputy district attorney as a ‘serial rapist’ based on allegations from dozens of women.
The report did not include specifics on those alleged assaults or if they had all been reported and investigated by police.
Flores, who has long been a suspect in Smart’s 1996 disappearance (pictured in a mugshot related to her investigation), was a former classmate and the last known person to see Smart the night she vanished. He has never been charged over her disappearance
When Flores was arrested this month in Smart’s murder, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow revealed for the first time that investigators believed he killed the young woman during an attempted rape.
Dow said prosecutors intended to use Flores’ history of alleged sex attacks in the murder case.
He specifically mentioned two cases in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors may use the alleged assaults to try and prove Flores has a history of predatory behavior if his murder case goes to trial.
Much of the details surrounding Smart’s case has been closely guarded by authorities throughout the investigation.
There is currently a gag order in the criminal case against Flores and his father, which prevents lawyers, investigators, witnesses and others from speaking about the case or releasing any court documents.
According to a court filing that was inadvertently made public and obtained by The Tribune of San Luis Obispo earlier this month, investigators had found ‘biological evidence’ that Smart’s body had been buried at Ruben Flores’ home but had recently been moved.
Investigators searched Ruben’s property in February 2020 and then again last month using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs.
They searched the home again following the arrests and could be seen dismantling the deck that leads underneath the house. Authorities have not disclosed what was found during that search.
Smart’s remains still haven’t been found but authorities had recently disclosed they believe they know where she was buried.
She was officially declared dead back in 2002.
Smart was officially declared dead in 2002 but her body has never been found
Smart’s family last week filed a lawsuit against Ruben Flores following the allegations he buried her body in his backyard but he moved it ‘under the cover of darkness’ to another location a few days after investigators searched his property in February 2020.
The lawsuit says Smart’s remains were moved to ensure they ‘would not be found should another search warrant be executed’.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Ruben for intentionally causing emotional distress by helping his son cover up the crime.
‘Had Kristin’s remains not been hidden, re-hidden and then moved yet again, it is reasonably likely (her parents) could have been reunited with the remains of their daughter and would have been permitted the opportunity to conduct a burial service at which their daughter could be laid to rest in a place of honor and dignity, as opposed to the present circumstances where their daughter´s body was discarded like human garbage,’ the lawsuit said.
The Smart family’s attorney James Murphy Jr. did not say how he learned about the the body being moved.
Ruben was released on Wednesday on $50,000 bail. His son remains in custody without bail.
The arrests last week followed significant developments in the case in recent years as new witnesses came forward, investigators monitored Paul’s cellphone and text messages, and searches were conducted at separate homes where Flores, his father, mother and sister live.
Smart’s family last week filed a lawsuit against Ruben Flores following the allegations he buried her body in his backyard but he moved it ‘under the cover of darkness’ to another location a few days after investigators searched his property in February 2020
The case dates back to May 25, 1996 when Smart was last seen returning to her dorm at the Cal Poly University campus at about 2am after an off-campus party.
A then-19-year-old Flores, who was a fellow freshman at the school, had offered to walk her home from the party.
Smart was not reported missing to the Cal Poly Police Department until three days after she was last seen.
Her dorm mate at the time said police were initially reluctant to take a missing persons report because it was Memorial Day weekend and she might have left the campus.
As the last person to see Smart alive, Flores was under suspicion from the start.
During the investigation, four different search dogs trained to pick up the smell of human remains led police to Flores’ dorm room. No evidence was ever found in Flores’ room.
Various search efforts have been carried out over the years, including the excavation of three different hillside locations near the campus in 2016.
Investigators served over 40 search warrants at 16 locations over the years, collected nearly 200 new items of evidence and used modern DNA techniques to test more than three dozen older pieces of evidence.
Flores has remained silent over the decades-long investigation.
He has previously invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that was brought against him in relation to the investigation.
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