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A war veteran is gunned down in the parking lot of a computer company.

Matt Flores

A co-worker heard the gunshot

CASE DETAILS

Matt and Denise had it all—a loving marriage, a beautiful daughter, dreams of a full, happy life—dreams that vanished in an instant when Matt Flores was gunned down in cold blood.  He was just 26.

Matt was pronounced dead at the scene

When Matt married Denise LePage, their friends called it the wedding of the century.  Matt was a second lieutenant in the Army, who later served with honor in Operation Desert Storm.  Once Matt came home to Fort Stewart, Georgia, he and Denise started a family.  In July of 1993, their daughter Danielle was born.  Eight months later, Matt began a promising career with a computer company based in California’s Silicon Valley.  According to Denise, he traveled there for a brief training program:

“It was our new start in life as a family—us making decisions instead of the military. This was his dream come true. He finished with the military. He’d done everything right, and now he had landed the job of his dreams.”

March 24, 1994:  Matt’s ninth day of training for his new job.  That morning, he arrived at work and parked in the middle of the lot.  Nearby, another employee sat listening to a talk show on her car radio.  When a gunshot rang out, she moved to investigate.  According to Sergeant George Teal of the Santa Clara Police Department, the female witness called 911 after realizing someone had been shot:

“Approximately four or five uniformed officers responded immediately, including a field supervisor. Paramedics and fire also responded immediately, but they were not able to revive him.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.”

Police found no physical evidence

Matt Flores had been shot once in the back of the head at point-blank range.  He probably never even saw his killer.  And incredibly, no one else did either, even though there were more than 20 people in the parking lot at the time.  Matt’s Mother, Ellen Mauro, was dumbfounded as to why someone would want to kill her son:

“He was never involved in anything in terms of drugs, gambling, fooling around—any of the things that you would think would lead to being murdered. Nothing.”

Almost immediately, the investigation was hampered by a terrible piece of bad luck. Despite the presence of several security cameras in the parking lot, the killing itself took place in a blind spot—just out of view. However, one of the cameras did give Sergeant Teal his most significant lead:

“About 20 minutes before the shooting, there was a two door sport model Ford Explorer that came into the parking lot and parked in one of the parking stalls facing directly into the camera lens. A few seconds later, a two door white Ford Probe came in the same lane that Matt would take later. The Explorer backed up, followed the white Probe. The Ford Probe could look something like Matt’s rental, which was a white Chevy Corsica. About four minutes before the shooting, we see that same Explorer exiting the parking lot, and then about three minutes before the shooting, we see the vehicle come back into the parking lot and go in the direction of where the shooting occurred.”

The murderer’s car – caught on tape?

At 8:12 AM, two minutes before the shooting, two cars entered the lot.  One was driven by the female eyewitness—the other by Matt Flores.  At 8:14, the murder took place just out of camera range.  According to Sergeant Teal, just 20 seconds later, the Ford Explorer was seen leaving the parking lot for the last time:

“If somebody were to watch the videotape and see the activities of the vehicle that morning and to see it leave right after Matt was shot, they certainly could say the vehicle was stalking Matt that morning.”

Because the Explorer initially followed a car that looked like Matt’s, Sergeant Teal believed the murder may have been a case of mistaken identity:

“Perhaps somebody went to that parking lot that morning to do harm to somebody else, and they got the wrong person.”

For Denise Flores, the reality of her husband’s murder continues to haunt her:

“Whoever did this to him, I want them to know what they’ve taken. One minute, life was great. We had everything. And the next minute, it was shattered. I don’t think she remembers him anymore. She was too little. I plan on showing her all the videos that we have so she knows what kind of a daddy that she had. But she won’t know what it feels like for Daddy to hug her. I lost everything that day.”

The case is still open and authorities hope that someone will come forward with a new lead.   To date, the authorities’ most substantial clue is still the Ford Explorer videotaped in the parking lot.  The vehicle is a two door sport model manufactured between 1991 and 1994.  It has a distinctive black trim on its lower panels.

New info: 

In May of 2016, $100,000 reward has been reissued to help solve the murder of Matt Flores. Read more: http://patch.com/california/milpitas/100000-reward-offered-1994-santa-clara-shooting-0


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season eight with Robert Stack and in season five with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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25 Comments

  1. thinkingoutloud

    it’s even more upsetting if the shooters killed matt by mistake. you would think they would the model and license plate memorized prior to the shooting. also can the cameras really not identify the license plates from the cars? they can tell the make and color of the cars but not get a good look at the license plates?

    rip matt, sooo sad

    Reply

  2. Dameon

    How many of us have ever felt threatened by the new handsome young talent at u or your wife’s work ? I know I was head over heals for a girlfriend of mine in my younger days and a striking guy like Matt was hired at her work..it kept me up a night or two..If they haven’t looked into a coworker of his who was a domestic violence victim yet , why not try ? He had only been there 2 weeks so someone nipped his employment there in the bud..The answer is within Apllied’s walls.

    Reply

  3. Dameon

    I GUARANTEE Matt made someone angry that he landed that job or insecure about his own relationship with a girl due to Matt’s presence….Someone wanted him to no longer be a threat …It was either over a girl or the job he just landed..

    Reply

  4. Larry

    I wonder if they investigated the driver of the white Ford Probe that the Ford Explorer initially followed or any other persons driving a similar car as Matt’s ? It still sounds like a case of mistaken identity. If someone was hired by a jealous husband they may not have been that familiar with the victims appearance.

    Reply

  5. Magdi M Manjal

    This case has really caught my attention, because it sounds too easily to be solved. I think if the police digs deeper on it, this case would soon be solved. Here are some suggestive views:
    First: The killer cannot be a hit-man. A hit-man is a professional killer, who will not take risk of committing a homicide in a parking lot on the middle of the day
    Second: This might be the act of an angry man who encountered the victim earlier that day or the day before, during road-rage.
    OR
    Third: A jealous applicant or employee at the Silicon Valley
    OR
    Fourth: Police may need to investigate the victim’s military record to find out if he was a party of any military investigation involving sexual harassment, drug use, or any disciplinary action in which a third party was subject to punishment or disciplinary action. This third party might be the killer

    Reply

  6. Brittany Howard

    Unsolved Mysteries I believe the car that police were looking for is a red Ford Explorer.

    Reply

  7. possible

    what if matt was going to discover something important and a time traveler stopped him

    what was matt going to work on at applied mechanics?

    Reply

  8. Ben

    This is so sad. I wish that i could help.

    Reply

  9. Michael

    I am very very sorry about Matt’s loss, he looked like a very special young man.I am wondering if it is possible if the bullet was from a sniper much further away than the point blank range. It may have been a random killing with nothing to do with the Explorer. I also think they should investigate the person with the similar car to see what type of lifestyle they had at the time.

    Reply

  10. Anonymous

    This case was so sad. I remember the video of him and his baby.

    Reply

  11. Ellen Mauro

    I am Matthew’s mother. I miss him terribly. He did not deserve this. He is missed so much by our family and we plead with anyone who has any information, no matter how minor to please contact the Santa Clara Police Dept, the cold case unit. We will always be grateful for any help solving this tragedy

    Reply

    • umfan

      Hello Ellen I wanted to say i am very sorry for your loss. I think it is absolutely terrible. How are is wife and daughter doing?

      Reply

    • Patti Castro

      I’m so so sorry, Ellen. I have been a follower of this case since it first aired.
      I just watched the rerun of your son’s murder. I decided to find out if it had been solved. After going to this website, finding Matt’s case and reading through all the updates, I can see that it hasn’t.
      I know how it feels to lose a child. I lost my 23 year old son to complications from
      diabetes in December of 1995.
      A hidden blessing turned out to be that he appeared on the Nationally syndicated talk Show called the DANNY Show. I have the original tape that I have converted to a DVD. Sometimes I can watch it, sometimes I can’t. I have learned to ‘move on’ as they say, but I miss him everyday.
      It’s a pain I would never wish on anyone.
      May God heal and comfort you and your family.

      Reply

    • Patti Castro

      I’m so so sorry, Ellen. I have been a follower of this case since it first aired.
      I just watched the rerun of your son’s murder. I decided to find out if it had been solved. After going to this website, finding Matt’s case and reading through all the updates, I can see that it hasn’t.
      I know how it feels to lose a child. I lost my 23 year old son to complications from
      diabetes in December of 1995.
      A hidden blessing turned out to be that he appeared on the Nationally syndicated talk Show called the DANNY Show. I have the original tape that I have converted to a DVD. Sometimes I can watch it, sometimes I can’t. I have learned to ‘move on’ as they say, but I miss him everyday.
      It’s a pain I would never wish on anyone.
      May God heal and comfort you and your family. I pray that God will help in finding and convicting the perzon(s) responsible for Matt’s murder.

      Reply

  12. Johnny

    Matt Flores was shot once in the head and it looks like a professional hit. Mr. Flores had no enemies or dangerous vices. Must be that Flores car matched the one of the real victim. Then again…Why would a professional make that kind of mistake? Feel sorry for his wife, young daughter and parents. The Ford Explorer probably the best clue but it could have been painted or sent to the junkyard after 20+ yrs. A difficult case to solve.

    Reply

  13. Unidentified

    Does anyone know where we can watch the video? I remember watching this as a kid and it was very sad and very sad now. It could be another job applicant jealously or mistaken identity. I know they’ll catch the killers one of these days soon.

    Reply

  14. umfan

    I always thought was a puzzling and sad case. I learned Matt was a student at the University of Rhode Island. I live not too far there, Rhode Island is his home state ware he grew up. Its very sad and crazy to think how close it hits home. Also watching that surveillance in the original episode always creeped me out! i never understood why authorities never wanted the actual tape shown, just a re-creation? Overall a very sad and strange case.

    Reply

    • Jason

      Rhe police have the original tape but wouldnt allow UM to broadcast it. So, the re-enacted it. The video shown on the episode is a re-enactment.

      My opinion is, this was a hit gone wrong. If it were a disgruntled employee, they’d find that out in a heartbeat. I was wondeeing if they could digitize the footage an close up on the plates? Could be far too late, but this doeant seem impossible to solve

      Reply

  15. Gerry Kincaid

    I served with Matt at Hunter Army Airfield, 24th Division, he was an outstanding young officer of unquestioned integrity, with unlimited potential. No chance he was involved in anything illegitimate. What happened is still unbelievable.

    Reply

  16. Caitie

    I’m surprised that no one seemed to see anything, considering how crowded the parking lot seemed to be. Someone has to know who owned the car that killed Matt…..it seems strange that no one has said anything

    Reply

  17. Autumn Moore

    Is it possible the killer was mad that Matt got a job that the killer had applied for and wanted? Competition was/is high there. Did the authorities check identities of the other people who applied for the job? SV has had a high percentage of people with Asperger’s Syndrome, many of whom lack empathy, and thus have potential for harming someone in anger. I’m not dissing people w/ Aspergers, I’m speaking from direct experience having a close relative (who worked in SV) with Aspergers that was jailed 3 times for personal crimes against people, due in part to his lack of social skills and empathy, and also due to additional character disorder and complete narcissism (not all Aspergers people have these traits). And yes, the mistaken identity could be pissible too.

    Reply