The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 15 – Matt Flores

March 24, 1994. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Matt Flores begins a new job at a computer company called Applied Materials, Inc.. One morning, Matt shows up for a training session at their headquarters in Silicon Valley, but after parking his car, an unknown assailant shoots him in the back of the head. Even though there were more than twenty people in the parking lot and it was covered by security cameras, the killer manages to escape without being seen and the only clue turns out to be surveillance footage of a suspicious-looking Ford Explorer. The investigation fails to uncover anything in Matt’s background to suggest why he was killed. Was Matt deliberately targeted or was he a victim of mistaken identity? Our latest minisode of “The Trail Went Cold” examines a seemingly motiveless murder which is about as close to a perfect crime as you can get.

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The Trail Went Cold is produced and edited by Magill Foote.

All music is composed by Vince Nitro.

8 thoughts on “The Trail Went Cold – Minisode 15 – Matt Flores

  • Wow, I live right next to Arques and Bowers. I wish I could provide some insight, but to be honest, all I can add is that yes: these campuses are all highly confusing and look alike. Not improbable that it was mistaken identity, if the killer truly was unfamiliar with this specific area. Great job as always, Robin!

  • I think the question is why was the shooting not captured on CCTV. Of course, it could be a coincidence, but I’m always suspicious of these in murder cases, so what would it mean if it wasn’t a coincidence? What I’d like to know is whether Flores always parked in the same spot, because if so then possibly he was being followed and the person responsible realised that his parking-spot wasn’t covered by cameras and decided to attack there. This makes it much less likely that the killing was a case of mistaken identity, because if Flores was being followed day after day the killer would soon realise that he was the wrong person. Additionally, the killer managed to avoid being caught on camera as they made their getaway, and I think that’s unrealistically lucky.

    Lastly, is it possible that the killer was in the car with Flores, and that the other cars were nothing to do with the crime?

    • From all accounts, Matt parked in an unassigned spot, so there’s no way the killer could have predicted ahead of time that he would park in a blind spot which wasn’t covered by the cameras. It sounds like it was just pure luck that this happened and the killer might not have even known there were cameras watching. Never thought about the possibility that the killer was in the car with Matt, but I’m not sure how they would have escaped the area undetected if they didn’t have their own vehicle.

    • The argument to your question of whether Matt Flores always parked in the same spot is that – a) anyone could have parked in that blind spot on any day and the killer could have murdered them, but didn’t. b) The circling suggests that the killer was looking for a specific vehicle. c) It also suggests that the vehicle in question didn’t always park in the same spot. If it did, the killer would have just gone to the one known spot and waited.

  • I have a question. At 4.37 of the Podcast, Robin mentions that Matt drove to Silicon Valley in a white Chevy Corsica that his employer had provided for him. At 15.20 of the Podcast, Robin mentions that the vehicle was a rental provided to him by the company. So here’s my question…… did the company rent it solely for Matt and upon his relocation it would be returned…. or did they lease it from a rental car company for all company representatives to use when needed? For instance – Matt needs it for 2 months until he transfers, but then it will be loaned to Mary who is about to start her training.
    The reason why I ask is because if it were an ‘company car’ that is leased for assorted representatives of the company, then I’d hope the police have looked into who had access to the vehicle prior to Matt.

    My take on the case is that the killer was looking for a specific car. Matt hadn’t been in the area long enough to create any resentment and malice, and it appears he was well received and liked.

    So I have two theories –
    Theory 1 –
    The killer knew the car was white and they knew approximately what style of vehicle. They chased the other car but only until as they could get close enough to see the licence plate. When they realized it was the wrong vehicle, they came back to the parking lot and continued to circle and wait for the correct car. It wasn’t Matt they were targeting though…. it was the person who had utilization of the vehicle. If they aren’t within the company then they aren’t to know that the vehicle itself was a fleet vehicle for the usage of many company reps – and Matt had only had it 9 days…. so who had it prior to Matt? Who had angered someone so much that they were to become a target?

    If the car had been followed over the course of 9 days whilst Matt had it, the killer would have found out where he lived, would have seen he had a young family, even seen what he looked like. He could have killed him at a more discreet and opportune time if he chose, but this didn’t happen. The killer was circling the carpark at Matts training facility because he knew the car was associated with that company (but did not know that many people had access to it) and all he had was the registration plate for verification purposes. ie- There’s the car! That’s him!
    It also suggests that the killer had only recently come by this knowledge, otherwise the crime would have been committed prior to Matts taking possession of the car

    So, motive? Well…. it could be anything depending on who had the use of the vehicle prior to Matt. Sleeping with someones wife? Rape? Theft? A violent interaction that required retribution?

    Theory 2 –
    By all accounts Matt had it all, he was good looking, well liked, funny(?), had a great personality(?), had a wife and young child, had served his country, had the respect of his fellow associates(?) The only motive then is jealousy. Given all company employees were checked, either one slipped through the net, or the killer sees themselves as a potential ‘love interest’ of another employee, and views Matts presence as unwanted competition (bizarre love triangle). Nine days is such a short time to work up enough hate to deliberately seek out a particular person to kill them though, especially if you have been familiar with the company through an employee long enough to know that the visitation for training is only temporary. A logical person would think they have nothing to worry about after 2 months, because their competition would be gone….

    I prefer Theory 1. I don’t think Theory 2 holds much weight, but it is a theory none the less.

  • I agree with the people on Reddit who posit that it could have been a road rage killing, which are actually pretty common. Either that, or it’s a mistaken identity killing. Those two seem the most likely with the least amount of assumptions. The fact that it happened to Matt and that it wasn’t caught on camera are both matters of coincidence.

    • Forgot to mention, the reason why those are the most likely reasons is the same reason why this case is still unsolved…because they are the most random scenarios, and those are the hardest cases to figure out.

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