Filing claims Flores removed the remains of Kristin Smart from its location

SAN LUIS OBISPO — On Apr. 22, James Murphy, the Smart family’s attorney, filed an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ruben Flores.

Murphy is the civil attorney for Stan and Denise Smart, who is suing Ruben Flores for emotional damages related to the disappearance of their daughter, Kristin Smart, a Cal Poly student who went missing in 1997.

Ruben Flores (80) is the father of Paul Flores (44), who is currently in jail and charged for the murder of Kristin Smart. 

Ruben Flores is charged with accessory after the fact to murder; it is alleged that he helped to conceal Smart’s body after the murder was committed. 

On Monday, Apr. 19, both defendants appeared in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court by video from the San Luis Obispo County Jail after a continuum from the Friday before. 

San Luis Obispo Court hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores for the murder of Kristin Smart. Zoom screen photo

The hearing started with Robert Sanger, legal counsel for Paul Flores entering a plea of not guilty for the murder of Kristin Smart. 

Ruben Flores’s attorney Harold Mesick also entered a plea of not guilty for the accessory after the fact to the murder of Kristin Smart. 

When discussing bail, the Honorable Judge Craig Van Rooyen ruled to continue no bail for Paul Flores due to the possible life sentence in the case, which he stated that he has not remained crime-free since the alleged offense to date.

As for Ruben Flores, the highest sentencing for a charge of accessory to murder after the fact in California is three years, a sentence Ruben Flores could serve just going through the evidence. Judge Van Rooyen agreed to review his financials, and then they would meet back on Wednesday to determine the bail amount for Ruben Flores.  

During the bail hearing for Ruben Flores on Wednesday, Apr. 21, Judge Van Rooyen lowered Ruben’s bail from $250,000 to $50,000.

That same night, less than 12 hours prior to the lawsuit being filed, Ruben Flores was released on bail from San Luis Obispo County jail by his wife, Susan Flores.

The lawsuit reads:

“On Feb. 5, 2020, representatives of the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant upon Defendant Ruben Flores. The warrant authorized a search of the premises at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande.

On or about Feb. 9, 2020, Defendant Ruben Flores removed the remains of Kristin Smart from its location, which, on information and belief, were located at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande. 

Two additional individuals, who will later be named as defendants in this action, participated with Defendant Ruben Flores in the removal of the remains of Kristin Smart from the location at 710 White Court, Arroyo Grande.

Defendant Ruben Flores, on or about Feb. 9, 2020, acted in complicity and in concert with the Doe defendants in removing the remains of Kristin Smart from the burial location inside of the lattice enclosure below the deck of Defendant Ruben Flores’ White Court residence.”

In the complaint, Murphy alleges “Ruben Flores and Doe defendants 1 and 2 worked through the night, under the cover of darkness, to remove the remains of Kristin Smart to avoid having those remains at 710 White Ct. in the event of an additional search of the property.”

According to KSBY, Murphey said in an interview that witnesses saw Ruben Flores, Susan Flores, and her boyfriend, Mike McConville (named as defendants one and two in the complaint), working underneath Ruben’s house in Arroyo Grande during the night of Feb. 9, 2020. 

Murphy said there is “compelling evidence” that Kristin’s remains were removed from Ruben’s property and scattered in the Huasna area.

The complaint explains that Kristin Smart’s remains have been moved at least three times since she disappeared from Cal Poly campus 25 years ago. 

The complaint reads, “Defendant Ruben Flores had previously transported the body of Kristin Smart from the Cal Poly dorm room of Paul Flores to the initial burial site at the home of defendant Ruben Flores.”

Murphy filed a lawsuit against both Ruben and Paul Flores in 1997, but the suit was dropped when Ruben Flores filed for bankruptcy. 

To read the most up-to-date details of the case and preliminary court hearings, visit