Alleged Serial Killer Indicted for 1989 Murder of 18-Year-Old Kaitlyn Arquette, Daughter of Author Lois Duncan

Kait Arquette, 18, was shot twice in the head while she was behind the wheel in 1989.
Kait Arquette, 18, was shot twice in the head while she was behind the wheel in 1989.Handout

Kaitlyn Arquette's family, including her mom author Lois Duncan, had been seeking answers ever since her murder.

An alleged serial killer accused of terrorizing the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the late 1980s has been indicted in the murder of author Lois Duncan's 18-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, officials said. Duncan, known for her novels including “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and "Killing Mr. Griffin," conducted her own investigation into her daughter's death, documented in her 1992 nonfiction, “Who Killed My Daughter?”

Paul Apodaca, 54, was charged last week in Arquette’s murder and is being held in Lea County Correctional Facility, according to authorities.

"It is gratifying to see charges have finally been brought for the 1989 murder of Kaitlyn Arquette,” the Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said in a statement obtained by KOAT. Medina also said Apodaca confessed to Arquette’s killing. 

Apodaca was arrested last summer for a probation violation and allegedly confessed to three cold case murders, including Arquette’s, and a string of other rapes, KOB4 reported. 

In addition to the latest indictment, Apodaca faces homicide charges in two cases he allegedly admitted, including the fatal stabbing of Althea Oakley, 21, in 1988, and the shooting death of Stella Gonzalez, 13, in 1988, the Albuquerque Journal reported. 

A judge has determined that he should remain in jail pending the trials of the cold case murders.

“Paul Apodaca is a serial killer in our view and he picked his victims seemingly at random but they all shared one trait, they were women. They were women in vulnerable circumstances at the time who were seemingly alone and that was his only reason was that opportunity and his own perceived hatred of females at the time,” Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock told KRQE.

Nearly 35 years ago in June 1988, 21-year-old Oakley, a college student at the University of New Mexico, was stabbed to death while walking home from an on-campus party, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Three months later, 13-year-old Gonzalez was shot in the back of the head while walking home from a party. She succumbed to her injuries two days later, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Then, in July 1989, Arquette was driving to her parent's home when she was shot twice in the head, according to her family's website dedicated to finding her killer. Her car jumped the median and ultimately crashed into a light pole and she succumbed to her injuries the following day, her family said.

Her family suggested several possible suspects, and they noted Apodaca as one of them as he was listed to be the first person who had been on the scene, according to the website.

The cases went cold, but Arquette’s family fought on for answers. “When Paul Apodaca shot my sister, he murdered my family,” her sister Kerry Arquette said. 

Duncan, their mother, shared each detail of her family’s investigation into Arquette’s death through her nonfiction book and through various outlets until her death in 2016. 

“She is here, and she is looking down,” Kerry said of her mother after their family heard of the arrest.

Apodaca was also previously convicted for raping his 14-year-old stepsister, according to KRQE.

He has entered not guilty pleas in each of his indictments, his lawyer Nicolas Hart told Inside Edition Digital.

Apodaca's lawyer maintains that he was an "intoxicated and ill man who could not sit up, could not open his eyes, and was unable to drink water without assistance" during his summer 2021 arrest, which affected his alleged confession.

"This indictment is just the latest spurious attempt to place blame on Mr. Apodaca for crimes he did not commit," Hart told Inside Edition Digital in a statement. "We look forward to the opportunity to show the Court and a jury that Mr. Apodaca is not guilty in this matter.” 

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