25 years ago, during Memorial Day weekend in 1996, 19-year-old Kristin Smart disappeared from California Polytechnic State University. While her remains were never found it has long been a theory that then 20-year-old, now 45, Paul Flores killed Kristin during an attempted rape on May 25 1996 in his dorm room at California Polytechnic. This prosecutor theory has long been the accepted idea as Flores was the last person to see Kristin when he walked her home from a party where she had become intoxicated. Just this week, on Tuesday, a jury unanimously convicted Flores of first-degree murder.
Flores’ father, now 81-year-old Ruben Flores, was accused of helping his son bury Kristin behind his home in a nearby community. Though the jury did not find him guilty of being an accessory to the murder after the fact. While Ruben Flores has continuously maintained that his son did not kill Kristin, Flores’ defense attorney even attempted to pin the crime on someone else.
Though Flores was largely thought to be the main suspect by officials and the public. When Flores was first interviewed about Kristin’s disappearance he had a black eye. And while he made up an excuse for it, that was not confirmed, he later changed his reasoning for the eye.
As investigators worked to put a case against Flores together they found a soil disturbance in the yard behind his father’s house, that was roughly the size of a casket. They were also able to find the presence of human blood in the soil, though it had degraded too much to test by 2021, 24 years after the crime was committed.
Paul Flores and his father Ruben, were not arrested until 2021 in connection to the case. It also was not until now, as of Tuesday, that there was any closure in Kristin’s case. While her remains have not yet been found, at least her family will finally have the person who ended Kristin’s life behind bars paying for what they did to her.
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