A suspected serial killer has been charged with the murder of Lois Duncan’s daughter, almost 33 years after she was shot in the head while driving home from a friend’s house.
Paul Apodaka, 54, was formally charged Monday with the murder of 18-year-old Caitlin Arquette in July 1989 after he confessed to an Albuquerque, New Mexico police officer that he was the one who killed her and two other young women in late 1980- x years.
He had previously been convicted in 1995 of raping his 14-year-old half-sister and was arrested for violating parole in July when he allegedly confessed to the violent murders by speaking out about his hatred of women and providing detectives with information that only the killer might know.
Apodaca is currently charged with first-degree murder in connection with Arquette’s death, as he is also charged with the deaths of University of New Mexico student Altea Oakley, 21, and Stella Gonzalez, who was only 13 when she was shot dead.
According to KOAT, he pleaded not guilty to at least one of the charges against him and now remains in the custody of the Lee County Correctional Facility, awaiting trial in the deaths of Oakley and Gonzalez.
Apodaca is due back in court on Friday for a custody hearing as his lawyer insists he is innocent of the murders and only confessed because he was intoxicated and mentally ill.
Paul Apodaka, 54, was formally charged on Monday with the murder of 18-year-old Caitlin Arquette in July 1989.
Arquette’s mother, famous author of I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan, spent years seeking justice for her daughter’s death.
Arquette’s death made national news after famed I Know What You Did Last Summer author Lois Duncan wrote a non-fiction book about the murder mystery in 1992 titled Who Killed My Daughter? and hired a private investigator to investigate the circumstances of her daughter’s death.
Over the years, the family has received several theories about Arquette’s death, with some suspecting that the so-called Vietnamese mafia was involved in the car insurance scam, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Two men were ultimately charged with her death, but the then district attorney closed the case without prejudice because there was not enough evidence to prove their involvement beyond a reasonable doubt.
But for years, the magazine reports, the Arquette family believed that Apodaka could have been involved in her death on July 16, 1989.
Duncan wrote a non-fiction book about the murder mystery in 1992 called Who Killed My Daughter?
That night, Arquette was driving home from dinner with a friend in the city’s Old Town when she was shot twice in the head, causing her to drift between lanes and crash into a lamp post.
Eyewitnesses present at the scene said they saw a Volkswagen Beetle near the scene. The driver was Apodaka, who was then 21 years old.
In the ensuing investigation, Pat Carcito, who was hired by the family to investigate Arquette’s death, said he suspected Apodacus was involved.
Carcito told KOB 4 last year that he actually visited Apodaka while he was serving 20 years in prison for raping his underage half-sister.
“He had no doubt that he was at the scene,” she said. ‘He was again, pleasant [and] cooperative.
However, Carcito noted that “there were two times when he was not.”
The first was when she asked him who was with him at the time, to which he reportedly replied, “What do you mean someone was with me who said someone was with me ? There was no one with me.
The only other time he wasn’t “nice and cooperative,” Carcito said, was when he asked, “How did you find me?”
“Those were interesting words to me, as if you weren’t supposed to find me.”
Now Caitlyn’s sister, Kerry, told KRQE their mother is “here,” “looking down” after years of seeking justice in Caitlin’s death. Duncan died in 2016.
Apodaka is also charged with the deaths of University of New Mexico student Altea Oakley, 21, left, and Stella Gonzalez, 13, right.
Apodaka is also blamed for the deaths of University of New Mexico student Altea Oakley, 21, and Stella Gonzalez, 13.
Authorities say Oakley was his first victim, reported as she was walking home from her brother’s party on June 22, 1988, after an argument with her boyfriend.
Apodaca reportedly told investigators that he was working as a security guard at the Technical Vocational Institute — now New Mexico Central Community College — the night he saw Oakley and began stalking her.
He said she smiled at him and then he attacked her, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Just a few months later, on September 9, 1988, Gonzalez was shot and killed while walking with a friend near Tingley Beach. According to police, “the two girls collided with someone in the car,” who “shot” Gonzalez. She later died at a nearby hospital in southern Albuquerque, according to Law and Crime.
In July, Apodaka also admitted to authorities that he had driven past the girls when he shot at her, according to KRQE.
He was eventually arrested by the University of New Mexico police in July 2021 for violating parole as a registered sex offender, and shortly after he was taken into custody, the police report admitted to killing three young women. and the rape of three others during the same. a period of time.
One of them, dated 1993, was stuck in line in a rape kit and recently received a match through the CODIS DNA database. Now the case is reopening.
The detectives stated that Apocada had information about the deaths that only the killer could know.
“In our opinion, Paul Apdodaka is a serial killer, and he chose his victims seemingly at random, but they all had one thing in common: they were women,” Albuquerque Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock said when he announced the first of the charges against Apodaka. in August. .
“At the time, it was women in a vulnerable position who were seemingly lonely, and that was his only reason, opportunity, and his own perceived hatred of women at the time.”
However, his lawyer, Nicholas Hart, claims that Apodaka was drunk when he made his confession.
On Tuesday, he released a statement saying: “The District Attorney’s Office was only interested in taking this case to the press because they know how incomplete and empty these investigations have been.”
“Therefore, it is not surprising that another false accusation has been made, which is sure to be followed by dubious and incorrect public statements.
“We look forward to showing the court and jury that Mr. Apodaka is not guilty of these charges.”
Apodaka has not yet been formally charged with Arquette’s murder, but in August a grand jury indicted him for Oakley’s murder, and in August he was charged with Oakley’s murder.