UPDATED 4:34 PM PT – Wednesday, September 22, 2021
A California judge ruled there was enough evidence to move forward to trial in the case of then 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart. In a hearing on Wednesday, the judge said there was probable cause to charge 44-year-old Paul Flores for the murder of Smart and his father 80-year-old Ruben Flores for helping dispose her body.
Prosecutors presented evidence that showed Smart’s body may have been buried under a deck behind Ruben Flores’ home. She was first reported missing in May of 1996 after she was last seen walking to her Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo dorm with Paul Flores.
Although her remains were never found, Kristin was declared legally dead in 2002. Paul has been charged with her murder, while his father is charged as an accessory after the fact and accused of helping hide her body. They were both arrested in April of 2021, nearly 25 years after Smart’s disappearance.
The preliminary hearing has concluded in the cases of Paul and Ruben Flores. A judge has determined sufficient evidence was presented for the two to be tried.
“We continue to support the family of Kristin Smart as we work toward justice,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. @dandow
— SLO County Dist Atty (@SLOCounty_DA) September 22, 2021
Blood was found beneath the deck of Ruben’s home, but investigators were unable to detect any DNA. However, Judge Craig van Rooyen voiced his opinion on the case, stating he has reason to believe Smart was murdered and originally buried under Ruben’s deck.
In the meantime, both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.