Real Name: Kaitlyn Arquette
Nicknames: Kait Arquette
Location: New Mexico
Date: July 16, 1989
Details: Eighteen-year-old Kait Arquette was the daughter of acclaimed mystery writer Lois Duncan. She graduated from high school on June 14, 1989, and had been accepted to the University of New Mexico. She planned one day to attend medical school. Shortly after graduation, she moved into an apartment with her boyfriend. They paid for the apartment with the help of money that they had received from an insurance settlement. He was eight years older than her, but she had told her parents that he was only four years older. However, they felt that he was a nice person.
Six weeks later, on the afternoon of July 16, Kait told her mother that she and her boyfriend had been having problems ever since they moved in together. She planned on breaking up with him and wanted her mother to lie about her whereabouts. She visited a friend from 9:30 to 10:45 pm. She then headed east on Lomas Road, towards her mother's house. When she reached an intersection, another car pulled up next to her and shot her.
Shortly before midnight, Lois learned that her daughter was in the emergency room. After reaching the hospital, the Arquettes learned that she had been shot. Five hours later, the police arrived at Kait's apartment. Her boyfriend was home alone, apparently unaware of the shooting. He told police that he had been out with friends, doing various activities. On a table, an investigator found a note that Kait had written to her boyfriend, telling him that he would be home at a certain time.
The boyfriend told investigators that he did argue with her, but was unaware that she may have wanted him to leave. Later, he joined her parents at the hospital. Tragically, Kait passed away from her injuries twenty-four hours later. Six months after the murder, investigators announced that she had been the victim of a "random act of violence". However, Lois does not believe this; through her own investigation, she believes that she has found evidence that her daughter had known her killer.
Lois believes that her daughter was killed by a hired assassin because she knew too much about her boyfriend's criminal activities, which included staging accidents. She discovered that three phone calls had been made from Kait's apartment at the time that she died. The calls were to a paralegal that had set up the accidents. A private investigator found evidence that Kait was afraid of her boyfriend's friends. He also found evidence that the note found in her apartment had been forged.
Six months after the murder, an informant led the Albuquerque police to a man named Robert Garcia. Garcia identified three men as being involved in the murder. He claimed that he was in the car with them when they shot Kait. They were arrested and were charged with her murder. However, the charges were later dropped after it was discovered that Robert was in jail at the time.
After this lead did not pan out, investigators re-questioned Kait's boyfriend. He admitted to being involved in an insurance scam. However, police do not consider him a suspect in her murder. Her family is convinced that her murder was not a random act of violence. They are certain that she was silenced because of her knowledge of the insurance scam and other illegal activities.
Suspects: Lois Duncan believes that Kait was killed by members of a Vietnamese gang that her boyfriend was involved with. Two months before the murder, Kait and her boyfriend took a trip to Southern California. During this time, she apparently became involved in a lucrative car insurance scam. Her sister learned that the boyfriend had staged an accident a few months earlier. He had used a car that Kait had rented with her mother's credit card.
The accident was allegedly orchestrated by an organization comprised of powerful members of Southern California's Vietnamese community. Everyone involved the accident complained of soft tissues injuries that were later treated by a doctor who was also involved in the organization. A paralegal working out of an Orange County law office handled the insurance claim. Kait and her boyfriend were given $1500 for their part. They used the money for their apartment. Lois believes that, since Kait was breaking up with her boyfriend, the other gang members feared that she would go to the police. She believes that they had her silenced.
A few weeks after the murder, Lois discovered that three phone calls had been made from Kait's apartment had virtually the same time that she had died in the hospital. At the time, her boyfriend was with them. The calls were made to a Vietnamese paralegal that worked in Orange County. This was the same paralegal that had set up the car wrecks.
A private investigator hired by Lois spoke to Kait's landlord. He believed that she was afraid of her boyfriend's friends who were apparently involved in the criminal activities. They only spoke Vietnamese around her and often made fun of her. The friends were often a center of the couple's arguments.
The investigator also compared the note allegedly left by Kait on the night of the shooting to known samples of her handwriting. He did not believe that the note was written by her. The landlord also claimed that three of the boyfriend's friends were in their apartment on the night of July 17, around the time that Kait died.
However, the Albuquerque police did not believe that the Vietnamese gang and her boyfriend were involved in her murder. They believe that the murder was a random act of violence. An informant led police to Robert Garcia. He was interrogated for two hours before telling investigators that he had been in a car with three friends on the night of the murder. He claimed that one of them shot a woman in her car on a dare.
Based on his testimony, police arrested Dennis Martinez, Juvenal Escobedo, and Miguel Garcia, who is not related to Robert. According to Robert, Miguel was the trigger-man. Police discovered that Escobedo had recently sold his car, a brown Chevrolet Camaro. They connected the car to an eyewitness, who claimed that he had seen a brown Camaro chasing a young woman in her car on the night of the shooting. This occurred an hour before the shooting.
However, the case fell apart when it was discovered that Robert Garcia had been in jail on the night of Kait's shooting. Ultimately, charges against all three suspects were dropped due to lack of evidence.
As the result of pressure from Kait's family, investigators decided to re-interview her boyfriend. This time, he did admit to being involved in an auto insurance scam. However, neither he nor his friends were ever charged in relation to the scam. Also, police do not consider him a suspect in the murder.
Extra Notes: This segment originally aired on the January 27, 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries. Lois wrote a book about Kait's murder, titled Who Killed My Daughter?.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Kait's Mother, Lois Duncan, passed away on June 15, 2016. There has been no further progress in the investigation of Kait's murder..
- Kait's case on Unsolved.com
- Kait Arquette Website
- Lois Duncan Page about Kait Facebook
- Kait Arquette at Find a Grave