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After Kristin Smart Vanished, Prime Suspect Moved to L.A. Where Sexual Assault Claims Followed.



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Fourteen years ago, police in Redondo Beach were called to a hospital where a woman had come after waking up in a stranger’s bed, naked and with no memory of what had happened. She believed she had been raped.

An examination confirmed she’d had sex with a man. Police uploaded his DNA profile to a law enforcement database and, a few years later, it matched to a name: Paul Ruben Flores. That DNA hit sounded alarms 200 miles north in San Luis Obispo, where Flores was the prime suspect in the enduring mystery over the disappearance of Cal Poly SLO freshman Kristin Smart in 1996.

Flores was not charged in the Redondo Beach case. But when he was charged earlier this month with Smart’s murder, officials said the years that Flores spent in Southern California had bolstered their long-held suspicions and helped them build a case against him.

The alleged rape in Redondo Beach, which has not previously been reported, was one of multiple cases in which Flores was suspected of sexually assaulting women. He is also a suspect in two more recent alleged sexual assaults being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, authorities say.

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