Kristin Smart’s former roommate said cops didn’t take her seriously when she reported her missing
Kristin Smart’s former roommate claimed that the police did not take her seriously when she twice reported the 19-year-old missing person before the police finally filed an official report.
Crystal Teschendorf, who testified Monday in the 1996 murder trial of her fellow CalPoly student, said she was concerned about her roommate after she left to party on May 24.
Teschendorf said she and several other residents in the dorm room contacted police two days after Smart failed to return to her room, and two days later, when she failed to show up for class, KSBY reported.
“We had discussed possible scenarios why she wouldn’t have come back to the dorms,” Teschendorf said of the concerned students. “We thought it was a little unusual.”
She claimed that the police did not take her concerns seriously at first, but after the second call on the fourth day of Smart’s disappearance, the police filed a missing persons report.
Smart was pronounced dead in 2002, but her body was never found as Paul Flores, 45, and his father Ruben Flores, 81, go on trial for her murder.
Crystal Teschendorf (pictured), Kristin Smart’s former roommate, said she and other students had called the police twice about Smart’s disappearance on May 24, 1996
Teschendorf said the police did not take her concerns seriously, as they only filed a missing persons report after the students’ second round of calls, four days after Smart disappeared.
Paul Flores, now 45 (left), is charged with murder in connection with a rape or attempted rape. His father, Ruben Flores, now 81 (right), is later charged with complicity
Smart was last seen walking back to her dorm room by fellow student Paul, who is charged with murder after prosecutors alleged she raped or attempted to rape the 19-year-old.
His father Ruben is charged with complicity in the alleged murder. The pair are accused of burying Kristin under the patio of their home after Paul allegedly murdered Smart.
Testifying about her latest interaction with Smart, Teschendorf said her roommate appeared to be in a “good mood” when they broke up on Friday, May 24.
When Teschendorf returned to their room, she found that Smart’s keys and personal belongings she normally took everywhere were still in the room, untouched, and her roommate was nowhere to be found.
Teschendorf said it was strange because even though they weren’t exactly close, Smart would usually tell her if she was going to spend the night outside their dorm.
Teschendorf said she and the other girls in the dorm were uncomfortable when none of them heard from Smart when they decided to call the police for the first time on Sunday, May 26.
When cross-examined by Paul’s attorney, Robert Sanger, Teschendorf added that neither she nor Smart had consumed alcohol when they were together before her disappearance.
In addition to Teschendorf’s testimony, the court also heard from James Camp, a prosecutor for the prosecution, who gave details about the events of a party Smart and Paul attended the night she disappeared.
Also testified was Steven Flemming, a fellow CalPoly freshman who was friends with Smart.
Flemming said many girls in his dorm complained about Paul, saying he “made them nervous,” and recalled an incident where Flores was in Smart’s room sitting at her desk.
“Kristin was very uncomfortable… she didn’t want him in there,” Fleming testified.
Pictured: Kristin Smart’s room, where all her belongings were left after she went missing. A friend claimed he saw Paul Flores harassing Smart in the room
A fellow CalPoly freshman who was friends with Smart claimed that Flores (pictured in court in July) made a lot of girls in the dorm nervous.
Pictured: A sign asking for information about Smart. The YourOwnBackYardPodcast’s coverage of her case sparked a new investigation and helped bring charges against the Floreses
Smart’s family said they were heartbroken over the 19-year-old’s disappearance
Both father and son plead innocent in the case. There will be two juries to decide on two verdicts: one for Paul Flores and one for Ruben Flores. The trial is expected to last until October.
Prosecutors say Paul killed the 19-year-old during an attempted rape on May 25, 1996, in his dormitory in CalPoly.
His father is said to have helped bury the murdered student behind his home in the nearby community of Arroyo Grande and later exhumed and moved the remains.
Smart’s remains have never been found, and the mystery of how she disappeared from the scenic campus, tucked against a verdant coastal mountain range, will likely be central to the process.
Behind latticework beneath the deck of his large home on a cul-de-sac off Tally Ho Road, archaeologists working for police found a coffin-sized soil disturbance and the presence of human blood in March 2021, prosecutors said.
The blood was too degraded to take a DNA sample. Although a blood expert said it was human blood, the test used did not rule out the possibility that it was from a ferret or monkey, although court records said no remains of such an animal were found there.
Paul and Kristin were both freshmen at Cal Poly in 1996 when she disappeared. He stayed at Santa Maria Hall and she at Muir Hall which are 0.2 miles apart – a four minute walk
Paul Flores, 45, was arrested in April 2021 for the murder of Smart
In February 2020, police executed a search warrant at Paul’s San Pedro, California, home, confiscating electronic devices containing homemade videos and rape porn, prosecutors say
Attorney James Murphy Jr., who sued the father and son on behalf of Smart’s parents, scoffed at the idea that it was anything other than human blood.
“The size of the area the blood was found in would make it a prehistoric ferret that would be in Jurassic Park,” Murphy said. “When was the last time you drove down Tally Ho Road in Arroyo Grande and saw a primate?”
Murphy’s lawsuit against Ruben alleged that the father and unnamed accomplices moved the body “under the cover of darkness” four days after investigators searched his home in February 2020.
Researchers didn’t conduct their excavations below deck until more than a year later.
Paul was long considered a suspect in the murder, but prosecutors did not arrest him and his father until 2021 after the investigation was revived.
San Luis Obispo Sheriff Ian Parkinson acknowledged the missteps of detectives over the years, and he wrote a popular podcast about Smart’s disappearance called “Your Own Backyard” for helping unearth new information and inspiring witnesses to talk to investigators.