Kristin Smart: Missing since 1996 – The Investigation and Lawsuit

This is part two of a 3 part series.  Use can read part one by going here: Kristin Smart missing since 1996

The following story began as a way to inform my readers of the disappearance of Kristin Smart, but this story has so much more to it, that it could not be told in one article.  I have separated it in to 3 parts.  I want to thank Denise Smart, Kristin’s mother and Dennis Mahon for talking to me.

Kristin Smart:  The Investigation
Paul Flores was questioned about Kristin’s disappearance.  He told the police that the last time he saw Kristin was when she was walking towards her dorm room. The police also asked him about the black eye that he had.  Flores first said his black eye was a result of a basketball injury, then that he just woke up with it, and lastly, he hurt it while working on a truck.

Flores’ dorm room was searched by campus police; but by the time they got there, Flores had already taken all of his belonging and left for the summer.  The room was searched again by San Luis Obispo sheriffs with a cadaver dog that picked up a scent on the edge of Flore’s mattress and the telephone on the nightstand and a trash can in the room.

Paul Flores

“At one point in time, there was a deceased human being in Flores’ dorm room,” said Lt. Steve Bolts of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department. (See video)

While searching the Flores’ residence, an earring was found in the Flores’ driveway that resembled one that Kristin wore, but a sheriff’s detective misplaced it before it could be identified. Although Flores was questioned repeatedly about Kristin, and even offered a plea bargain if he would show them where Kristin’s body was, he refused to talk to police. The Smart family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Flores in 1996, but on November 14, 1997, Flores gave a deposition where he took the 5th Amendment, and the Smart family dropped the suit. (See video)

In 1997, investigators were still searching for Kristin. They searched the backyard of a home owned by Flores’ mother, Susan Flores, which was being occupied by renters. They were particularly interested in the backyard, as they knew concrete had been poured shortly after Kristen disappeared. Authorities used ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment to see if there was anything underground. If there was something there, they would be able to see an image on a computer screen. An abnormality was found, but the backyard was never dug up.

Then in June of 2000, because of upgraded software for the GPR, Sheriff’s detectives went back to the Flores’ home and did another search of the backyard. Once again they decided to not dig up the backyard.

In 2002, Kristin was formally declared dead, although her body has never been found, nor has anyone been charged with her death.

In May 2003, Terry Black, a friend of the Smart family, received an anonymous tip on his website about an individual named Jeromy Moon who was allegedly with Paul the night of Kristin’s disappearance and the tip said that they allegedly buried Kristin’s body in Nipomo, Calif., near Nipomo Mesa. Black found out that the police already knew about Moon and had questioned him many times. Moon has never been arrested nor charged with the connection in Kristin’s disappearance.

The Lawsuit – The Flores’ family files a lawsuit against the Smart’s and Dennis Mahon

The following story began as a way to inform my readers of the disappearance of Kristin Smart, but this story has so much more to it, that it could not be told in one article. I want to thank Denise Smart, Kristin’s mother and Dennis Mahon for talking to me.

Kristin Smart: Lawsuits

In 2005, almost 10 years after the disappearance of Kristin, Flores’ mother Susan Flores and her boyfriend Mike McConville, filed a civil lawsuit against Kristin’s parents, and another friend of the Smart family, Dennis Mahon, who has spent years tracking the case and has a book and website with information.

The Flores lawsuit claims they were being harassed and caused them loss of employment and emotional distress.

Denise did go and talk to Flores about her daughter when he worked at a gas station and Mahon used to park outside the Flores’ home in Arroyo Grande and also took photos of Paul Flores during his court appearances. Was that enough for a harrassment lawsuit? It hasn’t been decided, yet.

The lawsuit was instrumental in doing one thing though, as part of the discovery process, the Flores’ would allow a private construction company to dig up their back yard.

In May 2006, Kristin’s father Stan told the Napa Valley Register, “I know he (Flores) killed our daughter. Kristin had been drinking that night. I think he took her to his dorm room and tried to rape her. She may have fought back, and he hit her in the head or choked her. He was alone in his dorm room that night. His roommate was in San Francisco. I believe he wrapped Kristin’s body in a blanket and took her out the window — his room was on the ground floor,” he said. “I think he put her body in a nearby Dumpster, and she ended up in the landfill.” A search was done at the landfill, but nothing was found.

Back Yard Dug Up: After years of waiting, the Flores’ backyard is finally dug up.

 

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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