The family of Kristin Smart are suing the mother of the prime suspect in the California college student’s killing and the woman’s boyfriend, accusing them of moving the victim’s body after a police search.
Paul Flores, 44, was arrested in April and charged with murder for allegedly killing Smart in May 1996 during a rape attempt. His father, Ruben Flores, 80, has pleaded not guilty to a count of accessory after the murder for allegedly hiding the victim’s body.
Following the father and son’s arrests, an attorney representing Smart’s parents filed an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ruben, claiming that he moved Smart’s body ‘under the cove of darkness’ from his property to another location a few days after investigators executed a search warrant in February 2020.
On May 7, Stan and Denise Smart’s lawyer amended the complaint, additionally naming Paul’s mother, Susan Flores, and her current boyfriend, Mike McConville, as defendants.
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Susan Flores (right), the mother of Paul Flores, the prime suspect in the killing of Kristin Smart, and her boyfriend, Mike McConville (left), have been accused in a civil lawsuit of helping Paul’s father move the California college student’s body last year
Paul Flores, 44 (left), was arrested in April and charged with murder in connection with Smart’s killing in May 1996. Her body was never found
The lawsuit alleges that Susan, her boyfriend and Paul’s father, Ruben, worked under the cover of darkness on February 9, 2020, to remove Smart’s body from this lattice enclosure under his deck in Arroyo Grande, California
The revised lawsuit alleges that Susan and McConville helped Ruben remove Smart’s body from under the lattice enclosure below his deck.
James Murphy, the attorney, told KSBY that witnesses saw Ruben, Susan and her boyfriend working under Ruben’s home in Arroyo Grande after hours on or around February 9, 2020, which was four days after the police raid. Smart’s body has not been found to this day.
The Smarts’ civil lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for intentionally causing emotional distress over the last 25 years.
Paul Flores pleaded not guilty to murder. His father, Ruben Flores, 80, pleaded not guilty to accessory after the murder
‘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.
Paul Flores was the last person seen with Smart on the day of her disappearance in May 1996, at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where they were both freshmen.
Prosecutors said he killed Smart while trying to rape her in his dorm room after he had agreed to walk her home from a party, where she had gotten intoxicated.
Paul and his father were both arrested last month after investigators said they found ‘biological evidence’ indicating Smart had been buried under Ruben Flores’ deck behind his home in Arroyo Grande and was recently moved, according to a court document.
On February 5, 2020, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officers executed a search warrant at Ruben Flores’ home in connection with Smart’s case. According to the lawsuit, four days later, the victim’s body was relocated
Investigators were back at the Arroyo Grande property on March 16, 2021, when they deployed ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs to conduct the search
Police searched Ruben Flores’ home again in April following the arrests
Investigators had returned to Ruben’s home in March to use ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs to search the property. They searched the home again in April 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.
Defense lawyers have criticized evidence against the father and son as flimsy and based on hearsay and speculation.
The younger Flores, who has long been a suspect in Smart’s 1996 disappearance, was a former classmate and the last known person to see Smart the night she vanished
Paul remains in jail, while Ruben is out on $50,000 bail. Both suspects are scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on Monday.
Smart’s parents sued Paul in civil court back in 1996. A judge has put that case on indefinite hold because the investigation into her death has been ongoing since she vanished.
Smart’s has long been a mystery on the Central Coast. A billboard featuring her photo and offering a $75,000 reward for finding her has served as a constant reminder of her disappearance in the town of Arroyo Grande.
Smart was last seen returning to her dorm at the Cal Poly University campus at about 2am on May 25, 1996, 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.
Prosecutors said Paul killed Smart in his dorm room during an attempted rape. Smart was officially declared dead in 2002
The Smart family’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Ruben, Susan and her boyfriend for intentionally causing emotional distress by helping Paul cover up the crime
Smart was officially declared dead in 2002.
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.