Paul Flores ‘confessed’ to Kristin Smart murder & ‘behaved strangely’ in interrogation – but charge still took 25 years

PAUL Flores once "confessed" to the 1996 murder of California college student Kristin Smart, it has been revealed.

Speaking to campus police after Smart had vanished, Flores told cops that he had lied to them about how he got his black eye.

Flores initially told cops that he had got his bruising from a basketball game but authorities grew suspicious when one of his friends said that he had already shown up to the game with the bruise.

According to The Tribune of San Luis Obispo Flores later admitted in a taped interview with police that it was a lie and that he had got the bruise from fixing his truck.

He then abruptly ended the interview and refused to answer any more questions.

Flores, who last month was named the "prime suspect" in the disappearance of 19-year-old Kristin Smart, was arrested in San Pedro, California, on Tuesday.

The 44-year-old – a former classmate of Smart's – was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail just after midday on Wednesday on a single charge of murder. No bail has been set.

His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was also arrested and booked on suspicion of accessory to murder. He is being held on $250,000 bond.

The arrests come less than a month after cadaver dogs were seen searching Ruben Flores' home in Arroyo Grande on March 15.

Three cars were previously reported to have been seized from the property during last month's search, in addition to private files and a computer.

It's unclear what evidence was recovered in those searches, with Sheriff Ian Parkinson declining to offer specifics during a Tuesday press conference, citing an ongoing investigation.

Parkinson did, however, say that 193 items of physical and forensic evidence relating to Kristin were found at least two homes linked to the Flores family.

Paul Flores, 44, was a fellow student at Cal Poly at the time of Smart's disappearance and is believed to have been the last person to see her alive.

Smart had attended an off-campus frat party on Memorial Day weekend and was later found passed out drunk on a neighbor's lawn at 2:30am.

Several students stepped in to wake Smart up, though it was Flores who volunteered to walk her home.

He told police shortly after she disappeared that she was "walking real slow" and that he had hugged her waist to keep her warm as he escorted her back to her Muir Hall dorm.

This is a developing story…

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