'Dateline: Justice for Kristin Smart', a San Luis Obispo graduate degree, chronicles the bizarre incident and shows how authorities managed to bring the perpetrator to justice almost 27 years after Kristin disappeared.
Paul Flores, who is he?
Paul Flores was a student at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, at the time of the disappearance of Kristin Smart. There was nothing out of the ordinary that might have suggested that Paul was capable of violence. Thus, most considered him to be a typical first-year student, and the spotlight only reappeared on him after Kristin went missing.
Kristin went to an off-campus frat party on May 25, 1998. Unfortunately, the friend Kristin was with decided to return to her dorm early, leaving the 19-year-old to walk back alone. Hence, the students decided to follow Cheryl back to her dorm, and Paul promised to take her home the next morning.
Kristen, a 19-year-old student, was reported missing days after she went missing due to an unplanned vacation. According to sources, the authorities still used cadaver dogs, round-penetrating radar devices, and horseback riders to track her down.
Law enforcement officials considered Paul to be the last person to see Kristin alive. However, they also looked into convicted murderer Scott Peterson around the time he disappeared. However, authorities turned their attention to Paul and conducted several searches of his dorm room and other properties, although it was never cataloged as evidence.
Paul Flores: Where is he now?
Kristin Smart was declared legally dead on May 25, 2002, and her parents sued Paul in 2005 for wrongful death, although the case had seen little progress beyond that time, as Chris Lambert discussed the subject in his 2019 podcast. In April 2020, authorities searched Paul's San Pedro, California, home, which contained many photographs showing the suspect allegedly abusing other young women.
Paul Flores was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in February 2021, which gave authorities ample opportunity to examine Kristin's grave in that location for quite some time. In the days followed, the police collected more evidence through interrogations and forensic examination, which led to the arrest of Paul and Ruben Flores in April 2021.
Although prosecutors alleged that Paul had raped or attempted to rape Kristin, the statute of limitations prevented authorities from charging him with the same. Both Paul and Ruben pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, but Paul was later sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on March 10, 2023.