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Kristin Smart's family attorney alleges Ruben Flores moved her remains after searches in 2020

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 12:20:28-04

The civil attorney for Kristin Smart's family is suing Ruben Flores for emotional damages in connection to the Cal Poly student's 1996 disappearance.

Flores is the father of Paul Flores, who has been charged with Kristin's murder. Ruben is charged as an accessory, accused of helping Paul hide Kristin's body.

On Thursday, James Murphy, the Smart family's attorney, filed an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ruben Flores less than 24 hours after being released on bail.

KSBY reported that a judge agreed to lower Flores’s bail from $250,000 to $50,000 on Wednesday.

A bail report obtained by The Tribune reportedly shows the prosecution’s reasoning for wanting Ruben to stay behind bars.

The report shows Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle, who is prosecuting the case, provided a written statement that alleges Kristin was at one time buried in the Flores’s yard.

“The release of Ruben Flores would constitute an imminent risk to public safety,” the report reads. “Ruben Flores has repeatedly lied over the course of 24 years and has been uncooperative with law enforcement with the specific intent of aiding Paul Flores escape prosecution. The excavation below his deck at 710 White Court showed damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved.”

In the lawsuit, 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."

In an interview, Murphy told KSBY that witnesses saw Ruben Flores, Susan Flores, and her boyfriend, Mike McConville (named Doe defendants 1 and 2 in the lawsuit) working under Ruben's house during the night on or around February 9, 2020. That's just a few days after investigators served a search warrant at Ruben's Arroyo Grande home.

From there, Murphy said there is "compelling evidence" that Kristin's remains were removed from Ruben's property and scattered in the Huasna area.

"Defendant Ruben Flores and Doe defendants 1 and 2, through their actions in removing the remains of Kristin Smart from its location, and moving same to an undisclosed location or locations, committed acts of such viciousness, depravity, and cruelty as to, by their very definition, cause severe emotional distress to Plaintiffs, the natural mother, and father of Kristin Smart," Murphy said in the lawsuit.

In 1997, Murphy filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Paul Flores on behalf of the Smart family.

Over the years, judges have allowed the lawsuit to move forward.

That lawsuit resulted in the 1997 deposition in which Paul pleads the Fifth Amendment to all questions except for his name. It also led to the 2007 dig of Susan Flores’s East Branch Street home. That search yielded no new evidence in the criminal investigation.

Paul Flores deposition 1997

Murphy told KSBY News he also filed a lawsuit against both Ruben and Susan Flores in 1997, but it was dropped when the Flores family filed for bankruptcy.

Now, Murphy believes there is enough evidence to show Ruben, who has pleaded not guilty, was an accessory to the murder of Kristin Smart and is suing Ruben on behalf of the Smart family for emotional damages.

The original Kristin Smart billboard sits on the lawn of Murphy's law office, which is located in the Village of Arroyo Grande.

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Balloons were placed around a billboard for Kristin Smart in the Village of Arroyo Grande following the arrests of Paul and Ruben Flores on April 13, 2021.

KSBY reached out to Ruben Flores's attorney for comment and has not yet heard back.

Megan Healy and Staff at KSBY first reported this story.