Ruben Flores, a California man accused of helping his son conceal the death of Cal Poly student, Kristin Smart, has been released from jail following a bond reduction.
ABC 7 reports that Flores, 80, was released from jail after San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Craig Van Rooyen’s decision to reduce his bail to $50,000. Flores was previously given a $250,000 bail after he was arrested for accessory after the fact of murder.
During a court hearing last week, Van Rooyen said he decided to reduce bail because there was a chance that Flores would serve three years in jail while awaiting trial, which is the max time that someone convicted of an accessory after the fact charge would be given.
Van Rooyen also cited the elderly Flores’ failing health and medical issues as another reason for bail reduction.
“Setting bail in something more than he can afford is a detention under the law,” Van Rooyen said when Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle pushed to have Ruben’s bail remain at $250,000.
Flores was ordered to remain in San Luis Obispo County and surrender his passport. He’s also required to wear an electric monitor.
Flores’ son, Paul Ruben, remains in jail without bail on murder charges.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Paul Flores is the prime suspect in the disappearance and presumed death of 19-year-old Smart.
Smart disappeared on May 24, 1996, after attending an off-campus party near Cal Poly. She called her parents that night at around 8:00 p.m. and left a voicemail. It was the last time they heard from her.
Fellow student Paul Flores told authorities that he accompanied Smart back to the Muir Hall dorm after the party, where she lived. He claimed he then left and walked to his own dorm room at Santa Lucia Hall.
Flores had a black eye while speaking to investigators at the time. He explained it happened after playing basketball, but authorities were skeptical of his story. Flores later claimed he got the black eye while working on a truck. Eventually, he stopped talking to the investigators and obtained an attorney.
When authorities brought cadaver dogs to the campus, the dogs reportedly made their way to room #128 at the Santa Lucia Dorm, where Flores lived. Two dogs showed interest in a mattress on the left-hand side of the room, according to court documents, which was Flores’ side of the room.
According to CARDA dog handler, Adela Morris, there “a strong possibility that a deceased body had been in that room.”
The Daily Beast reported in 2016 that the authorities once had the chance to arrest Flores on rape charges prior to Smart’s disappearance. Additional women reportedly came forward afterward and said Flores also sexually assaulted them.
One of the women said she contacted the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Office and reported the incident, but Flores has never been convicted of any of the alleged assaults.
Officials announced last week that they are investigating several instances of alleged sexual assault against numerous women, which reportedly happened at the hands of Paul Flores.
“Dozens of women have recounted Paul Flores’ sexual assaults and predatory behavior that document his 25 years as a serial rapist,” court documents read.
In March of this year and again in April, authorities spent hours searching Ruben Flores’ home. They used cadaver dogs and ground-penetrating radar while digging in areas outside of the residence. Investigators also removed an old Volkswagen from the property.
Investigators then alleged that Smart’s body was once buried under the elder Flores’ deck, but her remains were recently moved.
According to court documents, authorities “are in possession of biological evidence that makes them believe the victim was buried underneath (Ruben Flores’) deck at one time.”
“[There is] damning evidence that a body had been buried in that location and then recently moved.”
Both father and son have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Kristin Smart/Handout; Paul and Ruben Flores/Police Handout]