Authors: Lois Duncan
ONE TO THE WOLVES
On the Trail of a Killer
By Lois Duncan
for “Kait’s Army”
This is a true story. The facts are documented. Several names have been changed
to protect individuals who might be endangered if they were identified.
Excerpts from newspaper articles are used with permission of
The Albuquerque Journal, The Albuquerque Tribune, The L.A. Times,
The John Cooke Fraud Report
and are copyrighted in the names of those publications.
Psychic readings that pertain to particular events that are described in the text
but are not paramount to the story are numbered as footnotes and presented in full
in the Appendix.
Cover art is by Kaitlyn Arquette, created at age 10.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Albuquerque Tribune, July 18, 1989
BRIGHT FUTURE OF SHINING TEEN DIES IN GUNSHOTS
by Lynn Bartels, staff reporter
Kaitlyn Arquette, a recent graduate of Highland High School, was shot in the head
Sunday night as she drove home after having dinner with a girlfriend. The 18-year-old
student, whose mother writes critically acclaimed teen books under the name of Lois
Duncan, died Monday night at University Hospital. Police have no leads in the shooting.
Arquette appeared to have been driving east on Lomas Boulevard with her windows up
when she was shot. She then crashed into a light pole at 401 Lomas Blvd. N.E.
“Kait was a straight arrow,” said Arquette’s sister, 32-year-old Kerry Mahrer of Dallas.
“She worked fulltime at an import store throughout her senior year of high school
and still held down shining grades.”
Mahrer said her sister planned to be a physician and was taking summer classes at
the University of New Mexico.
Mahrer said her parents, Don and Lois Arquette, “were doing as well as could be expected
Other survivors include a sister, Robin, 34, of Florida, and brothers, Brett, 31,
and Don Jr., 21, of Albuquerque.
Albuquerque Journal, July 21, 1989
GRAY VW SOUGHT IN KILLING; MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD FOR
by Glen Rosales, staff writer
Albuquerque police are searching for a gray Volkswagen they say may be connected to
the shooting of Kaitlyn Arquette … “We are not saying this is a suspect’s car,” police
Chief Sam Baca said during a news conference. “It was seen around the area around
the time of the shooting.”
Outside the funeral, Kaitlyn’s girlfriends filed past Dung Nguyen, Kaitlyn’s boyfriend,
hugging and consoling him.
Later, he talked about the night Kaitlyn was shot.
“I waited and waited for her,” Nguyen said. “But she never came home. Nobody called
me. Nobody told me nothing. Then police came to the door. They started searching my
house, going through everything. They asked my whereabouts that night. They asked
if I had a gun. I kept asking them, ‘What happened?’ When they told me, I went down
there, but she had already been taken to the hospital. I went to the hospital. It
didn’t look like her. I didn’t know who she was.”
Albuquerque Tribune, January 18, 1990
THREE ARRESTED IN SLAYING OF ARQUETTE
by Cary Tyler, staff reporter
Three men have been arrested in the shooting death of Kaitlyn Arquette.
Juvenal Escobedo, 21; Miguel Garcia, 18; and Dennis “Marty” Martinez, 18, were arrested
Wednesday night. The suspects were charged on open counts of murder and using a gun
in a crime. They are being held at the City-County Jail. A Crime Stopper’s tip led
to the arrests, Herrera said.
Arquette was the youngest of five children and daughter of author Lois Arquette, who
uses the pen name, Lois Duncan. Her father, Donald, is an electrical engineer at Sandia
Arquette’s heart and lungs were donated to a Santa Fe man at Presbyterian Hospital
who received a rare lung-heart transplant. Her liver was donated to a man in the Los
Angeles area, her kidneys went to a San Francisco patient, and her pancreas was sent
to Miami for research.
Before the shooting, Arquette had dinner with a friend. Arquette was invited to spend
the night with her friend, but declined, saying she had to study for a summer school
Albuquerque Journal, February 10, 1990
TEEN SAYS HE LIED TO POLICE ABOUT SEEING ARQUETTE
by Sonny Lopez and Steve Shoup
Robert Garcia admits he lied to Albuquerque police when he told them he witnessed
the shooting of Kaitlyn Arquette during a joy ride with three friends, but he says
police pressured him to tell the story…
Garcia, 16, said he was interviewed by police for more than nine hours. He said he
initially told officers the truth – that he was in the Youth Diagnostic and Development
Center the night Arquette was killed – but then changed his story. He says he lied
to satisfy investigators, who he claims threatened him with arrest and prison.
“They started scaring me and stuff,” Garcia said.
He also said the men who were arrested had never told him they had been involved in
the shooting death.
Albuquerque Journal, March 1, 1990
ARQUETTE SLAYING SUSPECT MISSING; WARRANT ISSUED
by Susanne Burks and Lea Lorber
A man indicted in connection with the killing of Kaitlyn Arquette did not turn himself
in to his attorney Wednesday, and despite a bench warrant for his arrest was not in
custody late Wednesday night….
Assistant Public Defender Lorenzo Chacon, who represents Juvenal Escobedo, said …
“I can only speculate he’s been frightened off by all the commotion.”
Escobedo and Miguel Juan Garcia were indicted late Tuesday on charges of first-degree
murder and related crimes. Garcia remains in the city-county jail in lieu of bond
in an unrelated burglary-larceny case.
A spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department said that no all-points bulletin
had been issued for Escobedo. She said she didn’t know whether police attempted to
arrest Escobedo and she knew nothing else about the case.
Chacon said he talked to members of Escobedo’s family Wednesday and “they were under
the impression he turned himself in. His girlfriend thought police had picked him
up last night.”
Albuquerque Journal, July 8, 1990
KAITLYN ARQUETTE’S DEATH SNARLED IN CONTRADICTIONS
by Mike Gallagher, Investigative Reporter
The Kaitlyn Arquette slaying was described by police as a random shooting: a few drunken
young men in a car firing a pistol on a dare.
But police reports indicate the case against the two men now charged with the shooting
might be shaky. The reports show witnesses who have given contradictory information,
statements since recanted, and little in the way of physical evidence. The reports
also disclose other theories have been offered about Arquette’s killing …
It was a shooting that shocked the city, and once police had leads in the case they
used nearly every possible tactic to solve it.
Homicide investigators hypnotized a witness, hid a tape recorder in a jail holding
cell, used a lie detector test, relied on Crime Stoppers tips and used interrogation
techniques that will be challenged in court.
There was little apparent progress in the case for six months – until a Crime Stoppers
tipster identified four suspects as the killers.
On Jan. 17, 1990, detectives arrested the four. Two of the suspects gave police statements
identifying Juvenal Escobedo and Miguel Garcia as the two mainly responsible for the
shooting. Robert Garcia, who is no relation to Miguel, told police he watched Miguel
Garcia fire three shots from a .22-caliber revolver at a car. Police obtained a similar
statement from Dennis “Marty” Martinez.
Police had to back off Garcia’s statement when they learned he was in the Youth Diagnostic
Center the night of the killing. Martinez has since recanted. Garcia remains in jail,
but Escobedo is a fugitive.
Police reports don’t reveal any independent eyewitnesses to the shooting and no scientific
evidence linking Garcia and Escobedo to the killing.
The reports also show detectives didn’t consider Arquette’s live-in boyfriend, Dung
Ngoc Nguyen, to be a suspect. Reports do show police were told the couple’s relationship
was stormy, with Arquette having threatened to throw him out of the apartment, and
one person told officers that Nguyen had involved her in an alleged insurance fraud.
Albuquerque Journal, July 8, 1990
POLICE CLEAR BOYFRIEND, BUT RUMORS PERSIST
by Mike Gallagher, investigative reporter
On Feb. 3, 1990, on orders of the District Attorney’s Office to clean up any loose
ends in the Kaitlyn Arquette murder case, city police re-interviewed Arquette’s Vietnamese
boyfriend, Dung Ngoc Nguyen. Nguyen, 26, had never been a suspect in the homicide
as far as detectives were concerned, although Arquette’s girlfriends told police the
relationship was marked by bitter arguments.
Within a week of her July 1989 murder, Nguyen attempted to commit suicide. Nguyen
told detectives he was depressed over Arquette’s death and thought everyone blamed
him. … Their apartment manager told police shortly after Arquette’s death that the
couple argued frequently and that she once came to his apartment late at night because
she was afraid. Arquette also told the manager she was going to force Nguyen to move
Police reports show that Arquette’s friends also told detectives she had participated
in insurance fraud with Nguyen in a staged car accident during a trip to California.
There were three unexplained telephone calls made to California from Arquette’s apartment
the day after she was shot and Nguyen, witnesses said, was at the hospital with her
Reports show detectives didn’t follow up on the information until after the arrests
of Miguel Garcia and Juvenal Escobedo. In the February interview with police, Nguyen
denied any involvement in an insurance scam. He denied that Arquette was going to
kick him out of the apartment or that he was a member of a Vietnamese gang.
But police reports indicate Nguyen’s friends had a different story. Ray Padilla was
with Nguyen when he first met Kaitlyn Arquette about a year before her death. It was
Padilla who talked to police about the alleged California insurance scam. Padilla
told police Arquette didn’t use drugs, but Nguyen’s friends in California were cocaine
Albuquerque Journal, April 24, 1991
DA DROPS CHARGES IN ARQUETTE SHOOTING
by Suzanne Burks and Mike Gallagher
Miguel Juan Garcia, 19, walked out of the Bernalillo County Detention Center at about
four P.M. (today), after fifteen months in jail. Carrying a Bible and a garbage bag
full of his belongings, Garcia said he felt “blessed” to be free…
District Attorney Bob Schwartz said he dropped the charges because “there’s been some
erosion in the state’s case … and then there seemed to be this other angle while the
state’s case was dwindling.”
He said the new angle was “the emergence of these other facts regarding her association
with this group of Vietnamese.”
He said he informed police homicide Sgt. Ruth Lowe Tuesday that he was dropping the
charges and that Lowe said “they would be very interested in looking at the new angle.”