APD: Suspect in 2 cold cases linked to 1988 murder of teen

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Police Department says they are preparing to charge Paul Apodaca, who is connected to at least two other cold cases, in a third cold case. According to APD, Apodaca confessed to killing 13-year-old Stella Gonzales in 1988.


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APD says Gonzales was walking with a friend along Central Ave., east of Tingley Dr. about 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 9, 1988. Gonzales was shot and later died in the hospital.

At this time, police are working with the District Attorney’s Office to charge Apodaca, a 53-year-old convicted felon, with the murder of Gonzales. Apodaca is already charged for the June 22, 1988 murder of Althea Oakeley. He recently confessed to fatally stabbing Oakeley near the Univerity of New Mexico.

He also confessed to killing 18-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette in 1989. Apodaca confessed to the three murders in July 2021 after being arrested by UNM police for violating his probation. After his arrest, Apodaca told APD that he had committed several murders and rapes in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to a news release, Sex Crimes detectives have also been investigating Apodaca’s claims that he raped women. Detectives are also attempting to corroborate details provided by Apodaca about each crime, and verify whether any of those details were available to the public since the crimes occurred.

Anyone with information about these cold cases or any other homicide being investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department is asked to call 505-768-2416.

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