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Smart family files civil suit against Ruben Flores, alleging he moved Kristin Smart’s body in Feb. 2020

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. – The attorney representing the family of Kristin Smart filed a civil suit against Ruben Flores, the father of murder suspect Paul Flores, alleging that he moved Smart's body from his property as recently as February 2020.

The suit was filed Thursday on behalf of Smart's parents, Stan and Denise Smart.

"For the damage he's done to this (Smart) family," said Murphy. "I did so by filing a lawsuit for intentional infliction for emotional distress."

The lawsuit lists Ruben Flores, not Paul Flores, as a defendant.

"He's being sued for everything that he owns," said Murphy.

The lawsuit aims to collect unspecified financial damages alleging Flores was guilty of malice, fraud and oppression.

At the center of the suit is an explosive allegation that Ruben Flores removed the remains of Kristin Smart from his Arroyo Grande home on or around Feb. 9, 2020. Flores' property was searched by investigators on Feb. 5, 2020.

"Four days after the Sheriff's were there searching the property, and that spooked Ruben Flores I believe, and as a result of it he made a decision to move the body," said Murphy. "It's my belief based on the evidence together on the best of my ability, and based upon my sources and information, that her body was buried there on May 25th of 1996, and removed from the premises on February 9th of 2020."

The suit also alleges two other people who have yet to be named as defendants helped remove the remains.

James R. Murphy Jr., who is representing the Smart family and filed the lawsuit on their behalf, alleges Susan Flores, Ruben's ex-wife and mother of Paul Flores, was one of the people who helped to remove the remains. Murphy says the other person involved in the removal is Susan Flores' boyfriend.

"I have named two Doe defendants, and those two Doe defendants are the two people that I believe helped Ruben Flores move the remains of Kristin Smart," said Murphy. "Susan Flores and Mike McConville, Susan Flores' longtime live-in boyfriend."

The lawsuit alleges that the three "worked through the night, under the cover of darkness, to remove the remains of Kristin Smart to avoid having those remains at 710 White Court in the event of an additional search of the property."

"We have evidence that they, the two of them, showed up at Ruben's house and worked throughout the night in an area under the deck all night long," said Murphy. "It's documented with evidence I can't disclose right now, but I've actually seen it."

The suit then alleges that Smart's remains were taken to another location in San Luis Obispo County "for later disbursement."

James R. Murphy filed a civil suit against Ruben Flores on behalf of his clients, the family of Kristin Smart

The Smart family is seeking general damages in an amount to be determined at trial as well as further punitive damages in accordance with California law.

"Not knowing where your baby girl is," said Murphy. "Learning that they threw her into a hole like a piece of garbage. That they buried her, and then to cover their butts, they went and dug her up again, and then moved her again, and then probably took the remains and threw her like litter on the side of the road somewhere, that is such despicable conduct."

Murphy expressed disgust and bewilderment regarding the allegations Smart's body was buried under the deck at Ruben Flores' home for more than two decades.

"I am shocked, as I think everyone else is, by the depravity of that conduct," said Murphy. "How do you get up every morning, get yourself a glass of orange juice, step outside of your deck, drink a cup of coffee, watch the sun come up, knowing there is a decomposing body of an 18, 19 year old girl, rotting in the ground below you? Who could do that? It's inconceivable."

Murphy has represented the Smart family since early on in the case. In 1996, he first filed a civil suit against Paul Flores, which he said is currently "on pause."

He said that over the many years he has represented the Smart family, he has been committed to "bring Paul and Ruben to justice."

"I've worked at that goal in varying degrees of intensity for over 24 years, almost 25," said Murphy. "Now that I've have enough information, I'm going to pile it on. I want Paul and Ruben to know what I told both of them through People Magazine, what I've told through media interviews for 25 years, we are coming for you, and we're not going to stop until we get you."

He added with the evidence and information he has seen and gathered, "the walls are closing in" on the Flores family, and "the house of cards has collapsed."

"They thought they got away with it," said Murphy. "For 20 some years, Ruben, Paul and Susan thought they got away with whatever they got away, in Paul's case, murder, in Ruben's case, accessory to murder, and in Susan's case, accessory to some other heinous acts, but they're not getting away with it. They've now been caught. The walls are closing in."

Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested earlier this month as part of the decades-long investigation into the disappearance of Kristin Smart. Paul Flores is accused of killing Smart during an attempted rape at his dorm at Cal Poly in 1996. He is believed to be the last person to see Smart alive.

Ruben Flores has been charged as an accessory to the murder, accused of helping his son to conceal Smart's body. A document released this week alleged that Smart's body was once buried in the backyard of Ruben Flores' home.

Ruben Flores was released from police custody late Wednesday night after a judge agreed to reduce his bail amount.

The two appeared in court on Monday and both pleaded not guilty to their charges.

NewsChannel reached out to Harold Mesick, Ruben Flores' defense attorney in his criminal case for reaction to the civil lawsuit.

Mesick said he hadn't seen the suit and could not provide a comment.


Playlist: The Disappearance of Kristin Smart

San Luis Obispo County
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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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