Prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge against Paul Flores and an accessory after murder charge against his father, Ruben Flores, for helping him hide Smart's body, which has never been found, District Attorney Dan Dow said.
The longtime suspect in the 25-year-old disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of murder, and his father was booked in jail as an accessory to the crime. Ruben Flores' bail is set at $250,000, and he remained in custody as of Wednesday morning.
However, the sheriff said authorities have not yet found Smart's remains. He reportedly "pulled his arms into his T-shirt, scrunched over at the waist in his chair and lifted his feet off the floor, as if moving toward a fetal position" and said, "If you are so smart, then tell me where the body is".
During the search of Paul Flores's San Pedro home on Tuesday, sheriff's officials could be seen taking pictures and walking out with brown bags.
During Wednesday's news conference, Dow said that "we must never diminish the rights of keeping victims' rights at the forefront" and that "we owe the Smart family a debt of gratitude" for their patience and strength, saying they willed the moment of prosecution to happen over almost three decades of perseverance.
Paul Flores was arrested at his San Pedro home on Tuesday and booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
Dow added that they "do have evidence in this case that leads us to conclude that there very well may be additional victims in the southern California area".
"These prior sexual acts include. incidents described in the investigative reports and audio/video provided to defense, and other alleged incidents of abuse, which will be provided as they are obtained by the prosecution", the document said.
Paul Flores is being held without bond. He acknowledged Wednesday that no-body homicide cases are complicated and hard.
"The news today of the arrests in connection with the case bring sadness but also a measure of relief and hope for resolution", Armstrong said.
"The disappearance of Kristin Smart has weighed heavily on the hearts of the people of Arroyo Grande all this time", Mayor Caren Ray Russom said. While her body has never been found, she was declared legally dead on May 25, 2002.
Dow charge Paul Flores with first-degree murder during the commission of attempted rape.
"If it were to lead to other suspects", he said, "we will follow that evidence when it becomes available".
In the meantime, the SLO County District Attorney's Office is spearheading the investigation.
"There really is no hiding the fact that there was mistakes made early on and it made it much more hard", Parkinson said.
He said the department was able to interview multiple new witnesses in 2019, in part due to information featured in the "Your Own Backyard" podcast and that the department found physical evidence from at least two homes.
The Sheriff's Office also secured a court order for surveillance of Paul Flores' electronic communications, including cell phone and text message records, Parkinson said.
On March 15 and 16, the Sheriff's Office searched the home of Ruben Flores, confiscating a Volkswagen Cabriolet from the driveway and using cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar under a porch and in a back yard. He would not disclose what evidence was found nor which two homes the evidence was found at. In February 2020, his parents' and sister's homes were searched on the same day detectives searched Paul's home in San Pedro.