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Lead investigator: evidence of human remains found under deck of Flores home

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The lead investigator into the disappearance of Kristin Smart said human blood, fibers and staining was found beneath a deck at the home of Ruben Flores.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's investigator Clint Cole said the evidence, which was discovered during a previous search of the property, is indicative of human remains.

The fibers were the subject of testimony given Tuesday by an expert criminalist.

Cole also said witnesses had reported suspicious activity during odd hours at the property, which included Paul's mother, Susan Flores, and her boyfriend, Mike McConville. A trailer was also parked nearby the home, witnesses said.

The bombshell testimony was given only minutes before court took a break for lunch.

When court resumed again after lunch, Cole testified that investigators found a suspicious stain in a cargo/utility trailer. Using a detective agent called 'Blue Star,' investigators found a stain that resembled a human body on its side, Cole said.

The lead investigator also described Ruben Flores as overly protective of his property. Cole said Ruben would spend a lot of time in his yard and would take photos of cars that drove by.

Cole concluded that he believes Smart's body was on the property. "I think that is where Kristin went that morning," he said, indicating he believed she was taken there after she was killed on the night of May 25, 1996.

Detective Cole faced aggressive cross-examination by Paul Flores' attorney Robert Sanger for the better part of Wednesday morning.

Sanger accused Cole of inappropriate behavior with a witness, Jennifer Hudson, who claimed in earlier testimony that Paul Flores told her personally in 1996 that he had buried Kristin Smart under a skateboard ramp in Huasna.

Sanger questioned Cole about late night conversations he may have had with Hudson while he was drinking. Also asking him about alleged deleted personal text messages he had with Hudson.

The defense attorney also accused the case's lead investigator of sharing sensitive information about the case with Hudson. Sanger also accused law enforcement of leaking information to podcaster Chris Lambert. The information included the sheriff's office having possession of a Nissan truck that belonged to the Flores family in 1996.

The supposed leaks occurred during a 30-day wiretap of the Flores family in January 2020.

Exchanges between Sanger and Cole have been testy at times, with Cole defending his actions, denying allegations of inappropriate behavior. Cole said he may have possibly have deleted text messages from Hudson, but those were of a personal nature, and not related to the case. Sanger also alleged Lambert was trying to influence Hudson‘s testimony in the case.

Later in the afternoon, the contractor that built Ruben Flores' home testified.

He was asked if any bodies were discovered while surveying the property or any significant injuries happened during construction of the home that would predate Smart's disappearance.

He testified no.

During cross examination, Sanger accused the builder of having a personal feud with Susan Flores, noting she had filed a complaint about him to the state contractors board.

Paul Flores is accused of killing Cal Poly student Kristin Smart, who disappeared 25 years ago after an off campus party. His father, Ruben Flores, is accused of helping his son to conceal her body. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The preliminary hearing resumes Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

This is is the fifth week of the Flores preliminary hearing which is being held in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. The hearing is being held to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Digital communication is limited during this preliminary hearing. We will continue to bring you updates on air and online throughout the process.


Playlist: The Disappearance of Kristin Smart

Article Topic Follows: San Luis Obispo County
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Dave Alley

Dave Alley is a reporter and anchor at News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Dave, click here.

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