Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Kristin Smart

Real Name: Kristin Denise Smart
Nicknames: Roxy
Location: San Luis Obispo, California
Date: May 25, 1996


Occupation: Student
Date of Birth: February 20, 1977
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 145 lbs.
Marital Status: Single
Characteristics: Caucasian female with blonde hair and brown eyes. Her hair is naturally brown. Her skin was tanned at the time of her disappearance.


Details: Kristin Smart was a freshman student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo University (Cal-Poly SLO) when she vanished.
At 8:30pm on Friday, May 24, 1996, Kristin and her three female friends left the Cal-Poly dorms in search of an off-campus party to attend that Memorial Day weekend. She noticed a male friend drive by in a pickup truck and then flagged him down to drive her and her friends around. She, her friends, and the driver drove around the area for a while in search of a party. However, they did not find any that they were interested in.
At around 11pm, Kristin remembered that she had heard of a birthday party at fraternity row just off campus at 135 Crandall Way; she suggested they head to it. Her friends were not interested in it, but she was, so they decided to drop her off a few blocks from the location; they then headed back to campus with the driver. One of them, Margarita Campos, mentioned that Kristin seemed disappointed that they did not want to go to the party, but then stated that she assured them that she would be fine and safe on her own there since she likely knew many students there.
At around 2am on May 25, the party ended and guests dispersed, including Kristin. She was apparently so drunk that she passed out on the neighbor's front yard. Cheryl Anderson and Tim Davis had just left the party and noticed her, so they helped her to her feet. They walked back to campus and were soon approached by a fellow student and guest, Paul Flores. He offered to help them walk Kristin back to campus and even allowed her to lean on him for support since she was still tipsy. Tim said goodnight to Cheryl, Kristin, and Paul and let them head back to the dorms together.
Eventually, they arrived near the dorms. Cheryl lived further down the block from Kristin, so she asked if Paul wanted to see Kristin safely to her dorm room. He agreed to walk her to it and said goodnight to Cheryl. However, he claimed that they parted ways that night, each going to their own dorm rooms. Many suspected foul play on behalf of him.
Kristin has been missing since the early morning hours of May 25, 1996. An extensive search of campus turned up few clues. Paul was the last person to see her and is considered a "person of interest" in this case.

Paul Flores in 1996

Suspects: Many individuals believe Paul may have been involved in Kristin's disappearance since he was the last person to see her alive. He allegedly stated that they went their separate ways on the night of her disappearance, each going to their own dorm rooms. Multiple cadaver dogs were brought in to search through campus dorms. Each one picked up the scent of a deceased human on the corner of Paul's mattress.
According to one of Kristin's friends, Paul was trying to flirt with her at the party and had even fallen on her at one point. However, he told a campus investigator that he did not interact with her until he walked her home that night. He also had a reputation on campus, called "Chester the Molester" by several other students. Several women later came forward, claiming that he had physically or sexually assaulted them. The alleged incidents occurred both before and after Kristin's disappearance.
Paul was noticed having a black eye on the days following Kristin's disappearance. He told investigators several different stories about how he received it. A bloody earring believed to have belonged to Kristin was later found on property that had belonged to his mother. However, it has since been lost.
It has also been noted that Scott Peterson, the man who murdered his pregnant wife, Laci, attended Cal-Poly around the time of Kristin's disappearance. He denies involvement in this case.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the September 20, 1996 episode, along with that of April Gregory, who vanished on the same night as Kristin. It was also profiled on America's Most Wanted during the investigation and documented on Dateline after Flores' arrest.

Paul (left) and Ruben after their 2021 arrests

Results: Unresolved. In 2002, Kristin was declared "presumed dead". In summer 2014, a cadaver dog searched the backyard next to Paul's family home and alerted to police that human remains may be buried in their backyard. Soil samples also indicated that there may have been human remains there. However, no further searches were done at that time. In September 2016, a tip led to police digging at the Cal-Poly campus. The Sheriff's Office later announced that the dig was "beneficial" but did not elaborate.
In September 2019, Chris Lambert released a seven-episode podcast, "Your Own Backyard", about this case. On January 29, 2020, the San Luis Obispo police department announced that they had seized two of Paul's trucks, looking for evidence. On February 5, search warrants were served for "specific items of evidence" at four different locations, two of which were in San Luis Obispo. It is believed that these locations are related to the Flores family. Paul was briefly detained during the search. Some "items of interest" were recovered as a result of the searches. On April 22, a search warrant was served at Paul's home and several more "items of interest" were recovered.
On February 11, 2021, Paul was arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On March 15, a search warrant was served at his father Ruben's home. Cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar were used during the search. A Volkswagen was also seized from the home. On April 13, Paul and Ruben were arrested in connection to Kristin's disappearance. Paul was charged with first-degree murder, while Reuben was charged with being an accessory. Both have pleaded not guilty. Investigators stated that they uncovered evidence directly connected to Kristin's death during their search of Ruben's property. They believe that Paul killed Kristin while attempting to rape her in his dorm room. They also believe that her remains were buried in Ruben's backyard at one point. Sadly, they have not yet been recovered.