Lois Duncan’s book, One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer is currently out in eBook form – published by Planet Ann Rule – and will soon be available in print, and as the 25th anniversary of her daughter’s death approached the writer took time to give the Guardian Liberty Voice an exclusive interview. On July 9, 2014 Lois corresponded with Michael Smith via email and apart from answering questions provided some pictures of herself and Kait.
Lois Duncan is best known as the award-winning author of Young Adult books and several have been made into films. Most notably I Know What You Did Last Summer, which was made into a slasher horror film, much to Lois’ dismay. Ms. Duncan has been writing since the age of 10 and sold her first story at the age of 13.
It is the nightmare of every loving parent, having your child taken from you by circumstances beyond your control. Death is the final destination for all, but when a child takes that journey before their parents, the heartbreak can be overwhelming and bitter. Especially when that death was hurried along by murder. Lois Duncan, in her book One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer, tells of the 1989 murder of her 18 year-old daughter Kaitlyn Arquette in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Lois’ search for justice.
Since Kaitlyn’s murder, Lois has been working to find her killers. As part of that tasking, she has written two books about her daughter’s death and there is a website devoted to the incident and provides a forum for potential witnesses to come forward with additional information.
Author’s note: Reading Lois’ book, although the murder took place 25 years ago, it feels more recent. Having read the book twice, the first thing that struck home was the fact that Kait was killed the same year that my daughter was born. This fact really personalized Ms. Duncan’s story for me. Added to this was the fact that in the early 1980’s I lived in New Mexico and was shocked to find that Albuquerque had such a problem with its law enforcement community.
In the aftermath of her daughter’s murder, and the lack of progress from the Albuquerque Police Department, Lois went from award-winning author to investigator in her attempt to solve her child’s murder. She also learned how to present her case on radio and television with very little in the way of training. Ms. Duncan’s health suffered from this stress and despite having a stroke and a stress attack that led to another hospital visit, she continued her quest for justice.
Days before the 25th anniversary of her daughter’s death, Lois Duncan gave an exclusive interview about One to the Wolves: On the trail of a Killer and her search for the facts of what really happened to Kait and who was responsible.
Firstly, we would like to thank Ms. Duncan for taking the time to speak to the Guardian Liberty Voice about her book and her search for justice.
Reading the book, it seems that the Albuquerque Police Department, had their minds made up from the start about who had committed the crime, especially with the way the investigation was handled. Despite the initial investigator’s assurances to you and your family, officials zeroed in on local Mexican suspects and were disinclined to pursue the Asian connection. This meant that you had to search for the truth about what had happened and who really killed your daughter, which included having to publicize your findings.
Question: In all your dealings with the media; radio, television, newspapers, et al, what would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned from your experiences?
Lois: I’ve learned that, when law enforcement falls down on the job, the media is the most powerful weapon a crime victim’s family has to prevent the facts of an unsolved case from becoming buried and forgotten.
Your search for Kaitlyn’s killers has been long and frustrating. One reason for this has been the Albuquerque Police Department’s continual “cover-up” of facts and their seemingly deliberate ineptitude in dealing with witnesses and evidence. This past year, the police department came under investigation from The Department of Justice for misconduct, among other things. This resulted in a scathing report, condemning the APD for their actions and demanding a series of improvements.
Question: What was the first thing that crossed your mind when you heard that they were being investigated?
Lois: Relief. And the hope that other families like ours, whose loved ones’ deaths have been incompetently or corruptly investigated, may not have to suffer as we have.
Question: After all this time, do you believe there are any police members on the force who could “turn” and talk about this obvious cover-up?
Lois: I strongly believe there are many good officers at APD, Some of them have contacted us privately, (we guarantee not to divulge names of informants without permission), and told us, “Yes, there was a cover-up. But if I open my mouth about it, I’m risking the lives of myself and my family.” Apparently they are indoctrinated at the Police Academy with the belief that their first loyalty must always be to “The Blue Brotherhood” and there will be serious consequences if they disobey that doctrine.
Question: You had a lot of interaction with psychics, most of whom seemed quite genuine, especially Betty Muench. Between those “readings” and your interactions with Kait do you still feel that connection to her in terms of finding her killer?
Lois: I now have the sense that Kait has conveyed all she can from The Other Side and has moved on to what is to come next for her, leaving us the responsibility to finish up what she started.
Question: Are you still in contact with the psychic community on a regular basis?
Lois: No. I think we got all the information that we were supposed to get in that manner. Now what we need is solid evidence that will stand up in court.
Question: Once your questions about Kaitlyn’s murder became public you and your family became a target for threats of retribution, so much so that you wound up moving from New Mexico. After you moved did any of this follow you to your new home?
Lois: Yes. Including a postcard from someone describing the exact location of our new home. It was mailed from a local post office. That was very creepy.
Question: Have you ever received any threats or negativity on your website devoted to finding Kait’s killers?
Lois: Many. Here are a few of the milder examples:
Fermin Garcia: “Take my name and GO Video (his business) off your website or you just as dead aS your daughter. I have connections with APD and the sherriffs dept. f*ck with me you will die b*tch.” Fermin Garcia (now deceased) truly did have connections with APD. His three sons are police officers.
From “Dung Nguyen”:
“Hey it’s me,
Would you please stop printing stuff about me!!!!! Everyone thinks I
killed Kait. So big deal my friends blew the f*ck out of her brains. Get
over it. She a ugly girl and she loved cocaine.”
Question: You and another survivor started a website, apart from your personal Kaitlyn site (which will be linked to at the end of this article), called Real Crimes. How is that site doing in terms of leads and/or further information about the long list of unsolved crimes in New Mexico?
Lois: That Web site has produced a number of tips about cases other than Kait’s. We pass those on to the victims’ families, and it’s up to them what to do with them. The main achievement is that the Real Crimes site has become a valued resource for investigative reporters, radio blogs and news shows such as Dateline.
Question: Your own website Who Killed Kait Arquette? is still being visited on a regular basis. Apart from the many who express their shock and dismay over your story, how many still come forward with helpful leads or additional witness information?
Lois: Quite a few. But they usually make contact using the link to our personal e-mail so their information isn’t made public.
Question: Towards the end of your book a drug connection was brought up by a co-worker of Kait’s at the import store, how much of lead do you think this is?
Lois: It was a tremendous lead. Kait’s coworker told us that heroin from Asia was being imported through that store without the knowledge of the manager. It came by UPS so the average worker would assume the packages were from the regional warehouse, but anyone who was on the lookout could recognize and confiscate them. Kait’s Vietnamese boyfriend and his friends (whom we’ve now learned were involved in many criminal activities) were in and out of that store on a daily basis, allegedly to “visit Kait.” They ran all over the loading dock and storeroom and had illegal access to everything that arrived. Kait had broken up with that boyfriend on the night she was shot and no longer felt loyalty to him or to his friends. If she knew about the drug smuggling –which she probably did, since she was manager of imported clothing — she would have been a major threat to a great many people.
Question: Do you feel that this new information could change the direction of any further investigation?
Lois: It could if APD was willing to pursue it. But they will not look at any information that doesn’t support their “random drive-by shooting” scenario.
Question: You learned a lot of things from Betty Muench, do you feel that very much of it was helpful?
Question: The fact that Ms. Muench got many facts right obviously made you more of a believer in psychics. Do you still have that belief?
Lois: I still believe that most people who represent themselves as psychic are scammers, out to rip off families made vulnerable by grief. But I’ve also come to believe that there are some people who have that authentic ability. Those people often work with law enforcement and will not accept personal clients. Betty (now deceased) was an exception.
Question: Your book, One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer is now being made available in print as well as eBook. How do you feel about that and do you see any benefits from it?
Lois: I’m delighted that One to the Wolves soon will be available as a physical book, as there still are many people who don’t own e-readers. Also, after a speaking engagement, an author can autograph physical books. People can give them as presents. Reviewers are much more likely to review them, and they can be sold in physical bookstores and borrowed from libraries.
Question: Finally, do you have anything you would like to say to any potential witnesses, the Albuquerque Police Department, or Kait’s killers?
Lois: I will say exactly what I said at the end of One to the Wolves: “Like Don and me, those people are aging. Each time they look in the mirror—or color the roots of their hair, or detect a lump in the breast, or experience a pain in the chest—they become aware of their mortality. It won’t be terribly long before they have to face Kait.”
My husband and I are easy to reach. Our e-mail address is all over the Internet. Our private investigator, Pat Caristo, National Investigations Agency of New Mexico (NIA/NM) is also easy to reach. And, as I said earlier, we will protect the identities of informants unless we have permission to do otherwise.
It has been over 25 years since Kaitlyn Arquette was murdered on the evening of July 16, 1989 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ms. Duncan has been on the hunt for her daughter’s murderer, or murderers, ever since. Her book One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer is a story of frustration and a fight for the truth. Lois Duncan’s exclusive interview before the release of her book in print form is a reminder that the truth is still waiting to be told. If anyone has any information that could help solve Kaitlyn Arquette’s murder, please go to the website listed below and relay it.
By Michael Smith
One to the Wolves: On the Trail of a Killer
Who Killed My Daughter?
Lois Duncan Interview July 9, 2014