Kristin Smart's Body Was Allegedly Once Buried in Suspect's Father's Backyard, Authorities Say

 Paul Flores, 44 charged in the 1996 murder of 19-year-old California college student Kristin Smart
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office

The detective added that recent searches at the home revealed “damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved," the Tribune reported.

The body of Kristin Smart, the California college student who was missing for nearly 25 years, was once buried in the murder suspect's father’s backyard and “recently moved,”  authorities said in a court document, according to a published report.

A Sheriff’s Office detective said in a county probation report obtained by the Tribune of San Luis Obispo that investigators “are in possession of biological evidence that makes them believe the victim was buried underneath (Ruben Flores’) deck at one time.”

Last week, Paul Flores, 44, was charged with first-degree murder, which the prosecutor said occurred while he was attempting to rape Kristin Smart in his dorm room after an off-campus party, CBS reported. His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was charged as an accessory after the murder for allegedly helping his son cover up the crime — including possibly moving Smart’s body, according to Fox News. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Paul Flores was ordered held without bail Monday. The judge indicated that he would set a reasonable bail amount Wednesday for Ruben Flores who reportedly has health problems and is currently in the San Luis Obispo jail on $250,000 bail,  CBS News reported.

Flores was the last person seen with 19-year-old Smart, who disappeared on May 25, 1996. Both were first-year students at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Witnesses said Smart was intoxicated, and Flores had said he would walk her home after an off-campus party, CBS reported.

Smart’s body has never been found. Both men deny any involvement in her disappearance, according to multiple reports.

Officials said they believe they know where Smart’s body was buried but have not yet located it or disclosed the location, CBS reported. 

San Luis Obispo District Attorney Dan Dow said during a press conference that they have the proof they need to move forward, according to Los Angeles KCRA3- TV reported.

On Monday, the court document was filed before bail arguments in San Luis Obispo Superior Court when the father and son were arraigned. It was first reported by The Tribune, and a reporter posted snippets of documents on Twitter, KCRA3 reported.

Last week's arrests of the father and son came after investigators discovered evidence connected directly to Smart's death last month during a search at Ruben Flores' Arroyo, California, home that included radar and cadaver dogs, authorities said.

Ruben Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick dismissed the evidence. "The evidence is so minimal as to shock the conscience,” he said, Fox News reported. 

"The excavation below his deck ... showed damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved," prosecutor Christopher Peuvrelle said.

Peuvrelle, who said Ruben Flores has helped cover up the crime for nearly a quarter-century, would continue to do so if freed, CBS reported.

"Due to the evidence gleaned from the excavation, it is reasonable to believe Ruben Flores currently knows the location of Kristin Smart's remains," Peuvrelle said. "Should he be allowed bail, it is a virtual certainty that he would use his freedom to continue his attempts to help Paul Flores thwart prosecution in this case and continue to hide her remains."

Court records filed Monday appear to shed more light on the prosecution’s case, according to the Tribune. For the first time, prosecutors revealed in the court documents that “dozens of women have recounted Paul Flores’ sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document his 25 years as a serial rapist.”

Nikki Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the court, said the documents were not supposed to be public. The judge in the case has issued a gag order preventing lawyers, investigators, witnesses and others from speaking about the case or releasing documents, CBS reported. 

The Tribune said it got the public documents from the courthouse in the city 160 miles northwest of Los Angeles, according to CBS.

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