Suspect in cold case homicides confesses to third homicide from the 1980s

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – APD on Friday announced a third cold case murder from the 1980s linked to Paul Apodaca.

Apodaca, 53, confessed to the Sept. 9, 1988 shooting homicide of 13-year-old Stella Gonzales.

Gonzales was walking with a friend along Central Avenue, east of Tingley Drive, at around 1:15 a.m., when they were approached by someone in a car. The car’s occupant fired at the girls, striking Gonzales who succumbed to her wounds after being taken to the hospital.

In August, APD revealed Apodaca had confessed to the June 22, 1988 stabbing homicide of UNM student Althea Oakeley and the shooting homicide of 18-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette in 1989. Apodaca gave the confession after UNM police arrested him in July for violating his probation.

Apodaca also confessed to committing several homicides and sexual assaults in the 1980s and 1990s. In February 2021, one of more than 5,000 sexual assault kits returned a DNA match to Apodaca. Detectives are working to confirm Apodaca’s claims about each crime and verify if any of the details were available to the public since the crimes occurred.

Anyone with information about the cold cases or any other APD-investigated homicide is urged to call 505-768-2416.