The cold case murder of Matt Flores - Silicon Valley, California - March 24, 1994

On March 24, 1994, at around 08:25 am, a disturbing report came in at the emergency center, when a panicked woman claimed she had been sitting in her car in a parking lot when she suddenly heard a gunshot, which prompted her to investigate the car park. She then made a shocking discovery when she found a dead man's body propped up against his own car. It happened to be her new colleague, 26 year old veteran Matt Flores.

Four or five officers responded to the call, and paramedics and firefighters also responded immediately. However, there was nothing they could do on site. He had been shot in the back of his head. The young man was immediately pronounced dead.

About Matt Flores
Matthew Donald “Matt” Flores was born on may 17, 1967 in Fall River, Bristol County, Massachusetts, and raised in Rhode Island. He got married in 1990, with Denise LePage. It was the love of his life, who became the mother of his child when daughter Danielle was born in 1993.

Before starting a family with Denise, Matt had been in the military and was a second lieutenant there. He served with honors in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. After permanently returning home from military service and having started a family, Matt embarked on a new career with a computer company in Silicon Valley, California called Applied Materials Inc.. Matt and his family therefore moved to Santa Clara, California, near his new job, in Oakmead Village Drive, Santa Clara. The intention was that he would train there for a few months, and then he would come and work at the office in Dallas.

The shooting
On March 24, 1994, Matt would undergo his ninth day of training for his new job. He pulled into the parking lot around 8:12am that morning in his rental car, a white Chevy Corsica. A colleague was parked a few spaces away with her car. Suddenly she heard a gunshot and instinctively went to investigate the parking lot. She then found Matt's body at the side of his car, he had been instantly killed. 

About a minute after the murder, Gary Robertson, Matt's employer, heard a commotion outside, and saw his female employee standing by Matt's car in a panic. He rushed there, and saw that his new employee Matt had been murdered. At 8:24am, he called Denise Flores, Matt's wife, to inform her about her husband's death. A minute later, the police were called.

Matt Flores and his daughter

Police Investigation
Police detectives on the scene immediately determined that Matt had been shot at close range in the back of the head, and that he probably didn't even see the killer coming. It looked hopeful for a moment, because at least twenty people were present in the parking lot at the time of the murder. Surely someone must have seen something? But amazingly, no one saw the murder happen, nor could anyone identify the perpetrator. Luckily it was a secure car park. The videos would probably provide more clarity. But that was not the case either. Matt turned out to have parked his car exactly in a blind spot of the cameras. Still, the surveillance cameras could help in the investigation.

Suspicious car
After studying the security video well, investigators noticed a two-door sports model Ford Explorer. The car came to the parking lot about twenty minutes before the murder, and parked in one of the parking boxes. A few seconds later, a white Ford Probe appeared in the same lane Matt would later take. The Explorer followed the Probe, which could resemble Matt's white Chevy Corsica.

About four minutes before the murder, the same Explorer reappears as he exits the parking lot, and a minute later, the vehicle reappears as he re-enters the parking lot. This time he drives in the direction of where the shooting was going to take place. Two minutes before the shooting, two cars enter the area. Matt's female colleague's car, who later called the police, and Matt Flores's. The murder took place just out of view of the camera. Twenty seconds later, the Ford Explorer pulled out of the parking lot.

The search for the Explorer
The police went looking for the Ford Explorer. It would be a sports model from the year 1991 - 1994. The car had a characteristic black border on the lower panels. Because of the grainy quality of the video, police couldn't read the license plate nor see the suspect. And although relatively few of them should be on the road, authorities were never able to trace the vehicle.

Wrong person killed?
The detective team soon started to suspect that the murder might have been a mistake on the part of the perpetrator. Perhaps he was targeting the car he initially followed, the white Ford Probe. He could have confused this car with Matt's white Corsica.. Maybe he killed the wrong person. 

The scenario that the perpetrator had killed the wrong person seemed obvious. Matt was of impeccable character. He had served his country, become a husband and father, and embarked on a promising new career in Silicon Valley. He had no enemies at all, was not on drugs, was not gambling, was not in any dangerous circles. As investigators talked with his family, friends and co-workers, it turned out Matt was very much liked by everyone he knew.

Large efforts by police
During the investigation, detectives questioned a total of nearly 1,000 people in four different states. California, Texas, Georgia and Rhode Island. The investigation would become one of the largest investigations into a murder by the Santa Clara Police Department. 

Over the years, there have been several theories about the murder. The killer may have been someone from his new job. But the scenario that the army was behind the murder was also taken seriously by some. Matt's mother believes someone was hired to commit the murder, but who?

Tips and information
Despite everything, the police kept every other scenario open. But has not been able to solve the gruesome murder of the 26-year-old veteran to this day. His daughter Danielle was forced to grow up without her father, and his wife was widowed far too young.

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