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Father of Paul Flores, accused in Kristin Smart killing, is released on $50,000 bail

Court proceedings are held via videoconference in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Ruben Flores appears via video conference during his arraignment in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
(Nic Coury / Associated Press)

The father of the man police say killed Kristin Smart and hid her body was released from a San Luis Obispo County jail after posting bail Wednesday evening, authorities said.

Bail for Ruben Flores, 80, was reduced from $250,000 to $50,000 after San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen determined the higher amount was unreasonable. Flores has pleaded not guilty to accessory after the fact, accused of helping his son, Paul Flores, dispose of Smart’s body following her 1996 disappearance.

In requesting the lower bail, Ruben Flores’ attorney, Harold Mesick, said the Arroyo Grande man had an array of potentially life-threatening ailments and that the usual bail for such an offense is $20,000. As part of his bail conditions, Flores agreed to surrender his passport.

RELATED: Timeline in Kristin Smart disappearance

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Despite numerous investigations, searches and legal procedures, it took 24 years for an arrest to be made in the disappearance of Kristin Smart.

Flores and his son were arrested last week, nearly 25 years after Smart went missing while walking back to her dorm at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after a college party. Paul Flores remains in jail on a murder charge. Prosecutors say he killed Smart in his dorm room as he sexually assaulted the 19-year-old student.

Investigators think Smart’s body was recently moved from beneath the deck of Ruben Flores’ home.

San Luis Obispo County prosecutors said detectives are “in possession of biological evidence that makes them believe the victim was buried underneath [Ruben Flores’] deck at one time.” Few other details have been provided.

Allegations about the relocation of Smart’s remains were first reported by the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Smart, a freshman at Cal Poly SLO, was last seen around 2 a.m. on May 25, 1996, leaving an off-campus party.

Two students told police they last saw her walking with Flores, also a freshman at the university. Flores has maintained through the years that he walked Smart to within a short distance of her dormitory and returned to his room. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance or any knowledge of her whereabouts. Smart’s body has never been found.

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A judge on Monday ordered Paul Flores to remain in a San Luis Obispo County jail on a murder charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Authorities in Los Angeles County say Paul Flores, who lived for years in San Pedro, was the subject of assault investigations locally.

San Luis Obispo prosecutors said last week they were investigating whether Flores sexually assaulted women in the San Pedro area, where he has lived for the last 15 years.

And the Los Angeles Police Department disclosed that detectives had gathered evidence implicating Flores in two alleged sexual assaults. Redondo Beach police in 2013 presented a rape case against Flores to L.A. County prosecutors, who declined to file charges for lack of evidence.


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