APD detectives released information Friday about the third cold case murder from the 1980s linked to suspect Paul Raymond Apodaca. Detectives say they are preparing to charge Apodaca for the 1988 shooting death of 13-year-old Stella Gonzales.
Gabaldon was walking with a friend along Central Ave., east of Tingley Dr. about 1:15 am on Sept. 9, 1988, when the two girls were confronted by someone in a car. An occupant in the car fired shots, hitting Gonzales. She later died at the hospital.
Police are working with the District Attorney’s Office to charge Apodaca, a 53-year-old convicted felon, with the murder of Gonzales.
APD Cold Detectives charged Apodaca in August for the June 22, 1988, murder of Althea Oakeley, who was a student at the University of New Mexico at the time. Apodaca recently confessed to fatally stabbing Oakeley near the UNM, which he says happened just three months before he said he fatally shot Gonzales.
Apodaca also confessed to killing 18-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette, daughter of mystery writer Lois Duncan, in 1989 during a fatal shooting on Lomas Blvd. N.W. Detectives are still investigating Apodaca’s claims about the Arquette shooting.
Apodaca confessed to the three murders after being arrested by University of New Mexico police on July 20, 2021, for violating his probation. Upon his arrest, Apodaca told police he had committed several murders and rapes in the 1980s and 1990s. APD detectives later interviewed him about those confessions.
Sex Crimes detectives have also been investigating Apodaca’s claims that he raped women. Detectives are 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.
One rape has been tied to Apodaca because of Mayor Tim Keller’s efforts to clear a backlog of more than 5,000 sex assault kits that sat on evidence shelves for decades. The DNA in one of those kits returned a match on February 2021. APD was recently notified that the DNA matched the known DNA of Paul Apodaca.
Anyone with information about these cold cases or any other homicide being investigated by the Albuquerque Police Department is urged to call 505-768-2416.