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A former California security guard and suspected serial killer who allegedly confessed to killing and raping multiple victims has now admitted to killing a 13-year-old girl more than three decades ago, authorities say.
Paul Apodaca, 53, has allegedly confessed to killing Stella Gonzales, 13, in Albuquerque in 1988, local outlet KOAT-TV reports. He allegedly told investigators that he shot the child in the head while she was simply walking with a friend in the city.
Police said Apodaca likely killed her just because “a female who was in a vulnerable position,” the Daily Beast reports. He did not appear to know the girl.
“Based on the fact that his victims were picked, really, for characteristics that they held as opposed to any prior interactions with them we believe that Paul Apodaca was a serial killer,” Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock with the Criminal Investigation Division of the Albuquerque Police Department stated on Friday, according to the Daily Beast.
He was arrested in July on a probation violation, and by August had allegedly admitted to multiple murders. He was charged that month with an open count of murder for the 1988 stabbing death of Althea Oakeley, 21. Witnesses heard the University of New Mexico student screaming after she was stabbed on the street multiple times, according to police.
Apodaca also allegedly admitted in August to murdering 18-year-old Kaitlyn Arquette in 1989. She was the daughter of YA author Lois Duncan. The teen, like Gonzales, was shot to death. While Apodaca previously confessed to a third murder he allegedly committed between Oakeley's and Arquette's, it’s not clear if he was referring to Gonzales’ slaying. He's also allegedly admitted to three rapes he committed during that same era.
“Sex Crimes detectives have also been investigating his claims of raping 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,” police stated in August. “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.”
At this point, Apodaca has only been charged with Oakeley’s murder.
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