After 25 years of questioning and unrest, one family may have finally found a sense of closure. 44-year-old Paul Flores has been arrested and charged with the murder of Kristin Smart. His father, 80-year-old Reuben Flores, was also arrested as an accessory to murder. Just last month Paul Flores was labelled the “prime suspect” in this long unsolved case.
Though Kristin Smart disappeared in May of 1996, her body was never officially found. Rather, she was legally presumed dead in 2002. Smart’s case has gone on to inspire an essential piece of collegiate legislation and has haunted San Luis Obispo, Calif., for decades. Here’s what you need to know about this tragic story, and where you can find a documentary on the Kristin Smart case.
What’s the Kristin Smart Case?
It was supposed to just be a party. On Memorial Day weekend, Smart attended a birthday party for a friend at a fraternity house. Her friends didn’t want to attend, so they dropped off Smart alone. It was a long weekend on a college campus, specifically California Polytechnic State University, better known to locals as Cal Poly. In many ways, it was like thousands of other nights that happen across college campuses dozens of times a year.
Around 2 a.m. she was found passed out on a neighbor’s lawn. Two students who also attended the party, Cheryl Anderson and Tim Davis, helped Smart stand up and led her back to her nearby dorm. They were joined by Paul Flores, another student from the party. As the night got late, their little band dispersed. Davis was the first to leave, followed by Anderson. During Smart’s last known sighting she was with Flores, still drunk and without any money or credit cards. Flores has maintained that he had nothing to do with her disappearance.
Six years after her disappearance, Smart was legally pronounced dead. Her disappearance, and the slow response from police, led to the Kristin Smart Campus Security Act. This law required the security services to all public colleges and publicly funded educational institutions to make agreements with their local police departments about reporting cases that involved possible violence against students.
Over the years Smart’s parents have pursued this case, almost always targeting Flores. They weren’t the only ones who kept the case in mind. In 2019, musician Chris Lambert released an eight-episode podcast series about Smart’s disappearance, Your Own Backyard, which led to renewed public interest. That interest paid off. In January and April of 2020 two of Flores’ trucks and a number of personal possessions were taken as “items of interest.” Finally, on April 13 of this year, Paul Flores and his father Ruben Flores were taken into police custody in relation to Smart’s disappearance.
Is There a Kristin Smart Documentary on Netflix? Is There a Kristin Smart Documentary on Hulu?
No. Neither Netflix nor Hulu have documentaries about the Kristin Smart case.
Is There a Kristin Smart Documentary on Streaming?
There are two. Last year 48 Hours devoted an episode to the case. “The Disappearance of Kristin Smart” is the 16th episode in Season 33. Out of the two available documentaries, it’s the most timely. In the special a CBS News correspondent actually tracks down Flores almost six months before his arrest.
At the moment the only way to watch 48 Hours is on Paramount+. Plans start at $5.99 a month for a subscription with ads or $9.99 a month for an ad-free plan. But since the service comes with a one-week free trial, you can watch the episode now without paying anything.
Smart’s case was also mentioned in an Unsolved Mysteries episode. Season 9, Episode 1 covered everything from the Zodiac Killer and Andre Wilson, to Smart’s case. It’s a brief mention, but if you’re curious about how Robert Stack presented the case, it’s there.
Though Unsolved Mysteries is available on several streaming services, Season 9 can only be found on Peacock. Plans start at $5.99 a month for Peacock Premium, a version with ads that includes access to all of the service’s content, or $9.99 a month for Peacock Premium Plus, an ad-free plan. Peacock also comes with a one-week free trial.
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