LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The San Pedro man charged with murdering 19-year-old college student Kristin Smart in San Luis Obispo back in 1996 could potentially face unrelated sexual assault charges in the Los Angeles area.
LAPD officials confirmed to the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that 44-year-old Paul Flores is under investigation in two sexual assault cases which occurred in the past several years.
The LAPD’s findings have been turned over to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal charges, according to the Times.
The DA also reviewed a rape allegation against Flores out Redondo Beach in 2013, but did not have enough evidence to charge him, the DA told the Times.
On Tuesday, Flores was arrested at his San Pedro home on murder charges in the May 25, 1996, disappearance of Kristin Smart, a then freshman at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Flores was her classmate.
Smart’s body has never been found.
Flores was the last person seen with Smart before she disappeared while on her way home from an off-campus party. He has been the prime suspect in the case for decades.
His father, 80-year-old Ruben Flores, was arrested as well Tuesday at his San Luis Obispo County home on allegations that helped his son hide Smart’s body after the slaying.
Paul and Ruben Flores made their first appearances in a San Luis Obispo County Superior courtroom Thursday. They appeared by video, but did not enter pleas. Their arraignments were scheduled for Monday afternoon.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow told reporters Wednesday that prosecutors believe that Flores killed Smart during an attempted rape in his dorm room. The criminal complaint alleges that Smart was killed while Flores was “engaged in the commission of, or attempting to commit, the crime of rape.”
“We certainly believe that Mr. Flores’ dorm room was the crime scene,” Down said, noting that the young woman was last seen alive “close to the dorms.”
Dow told reporters Wednesday that investigators “do have evidence in this case that leads us to conclude that there very well may be additional victims in the Southern California area.”
Dow noted that the younger Flores was “known to frequent bars in the San Pedro area starting in 2005.
He was arrested in February on an unrelated weapons charge. He was released on bail at the time.
In mid-March, authorities served a search warrant at the San Luis Obispo County home of his father, Ruben, using cadaver dogs and ground penetrating radar. On Tuesday, a green forensic tent could be seen in the yard of Ruben’s home, where San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said physical evidence believed to be linked to Smart’s disappearance was located. Parkinson said evidence was also found at Paul’s home.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)