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A Suspect Has Confessed to the Long-Unsolved Murder of Kaitlyn Arquette

Lois Duncan’s once-eternal question, Who Killed My Daughter?, seems to have been finally answered.

lois duncan kaitlyn arquette murder
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  • Photo Credit: All images via 'Who Killed My Daughter?'

In 1989, Kaitlyn Arquette was shot to death in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her mother, Lois Duncan, was certain that the police were not prepared to thoroughly investigate the 18-year-old’s death. When that feeling became closer to fact than suspicion, the author, best known for the teen horror novel I Know What You Did Last Summer, turned her own formidable skills to the task.

Sadly, despite her search, a 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries featuring the case, and even publishing a book about her quest for the truth, Lois Duncan died in 2016 without ever finding an answer to her heartbroken question. But today, Albuquerque police are reporting that they have finally found a suspect—and that he has confessed to Kaitlyn’s killing.

Paul Apodaca was named a suspect by the city police department early on Thursday morning. Apodaca confessed to the murder of both Kaitlyn and Althea Oakeley, a 22-year-old who was stabbed to death on June 22, 1988. Kaitlyn was shot to death over a year later on July 16, 1989. So far, Apodaca has only been charged in the murder of Oakeley.

The chief of the Albuquerque Police Department held a press conference on Tuesday announcing that a suspect was in custody. His name was released this morning. During the conference, Chief Harold Medina told reporters that “a dislike for women” was the motivation behind Apodaca’s killings.

Although Lois Duncan will never know the truth, the Arquette family has continued to maintain a website about the case, actively building on the work featured in Who Killed My Daughter?. APD has shared that they are in contact with the family, sharing as much information as they can.

After her daughter’s death, Duncan stopped her beloved work in the young adult thriller world, where she has been recognized as a pioneering figure for the field of young adult literature. Although she would continue to write picture books and other novels for children, she would never again write about fictional murder or terror.

Duncan’s final book, One to the Wolves—currently out of print—was a sequel of sorts to Who Killed My Daughter?. Before writing it, Duncan said that her dream had been to write a sequel that finally shared the identity of her daughter’s killer. Sadly, Duncan will never get to write that sequel. But we are grateful to hear that her most important wish—that her daughter’s killer be identified—has finally been granted.