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Judge declines to add rape charges to complaint in Kristin Smart disappearance

By Kyle Barnett
Judge declines to add rape charges to complaint in Kristin Smart disappearance
Judge Craig Van Rooyen declined prosecutors' request to add the new charges to the complaint, but scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Aug. 2. Photo courtesy Find Kristin Smart/Facebook

July 15 (UPI) -- A California judge has declined prosecutors' request to add two rape charges against the man suspected in the disappearance and death of college student Kristin Smart 25 years ago.

The San Luis Obispo County district attorney's office sought to add charges to the complaint for Paul Flores, the chief suspect in Smart's disappearance. The charges are from unrelated rape cases from in Los Angeles County years after Smart vanished.

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"Paul Flores has raped so many women, it's hard to keep track," San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Judge Craig Van Rooyen on Wednesday declined prosecutors' request to add the new charges to the complaint, but scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Aug. 2.

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Flores, 44, is being held for murder in Smart's 1996 disappearance on the campus of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He was arrested last year.

Prosecutors had argued that they had homemade videos of Flores having sex with intoxicated women and found prescription drugs that could be used for date rape. They had long suspected Flores of Smart's disappearance, but for years were unable to provide enough evidence for an indictment.

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Then 19, Flores was the last person seen with Smart. He'd taken her back to her room after she'd become intoxicated at a party.

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In 2016, police began digging for new evidence and search warrants were issued in four locations in California and Washington last year.

Prosecutors said new evidence, including eyewitness statements, led them to arrest and charge Flores with the murder. He was also under suspicion for a Redondo Beach, Calif., rape.

Prosecutors declined to file charges in that case despite a positive DNA match.

RELATED 'Items of interest' found in Cal Poly 20-year cold case search for student

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