Albuquerque Journal, Oct. 18, 2000




By Scott Sandlin


Author Lois Duncan Arquette and her husband Don left New Mexico eight years ago, but their hearts are still in Albuquerque.  It’s here that their daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was killed on July 16, 1989.  Police initially thought the killing was a random drive-by shooting, but the family never bought that theory.


She wrote a book about the case “to motivate informants and keep the facts of the case from becoming buried.”


On Kaitlyn’s 21st birthday, she took the manuscript of the book with her to her daughter’s gravesite and from there went to the post office to mail it.  Four days later, she was in New York talking to her publisher about it.


Publicity about “Who Killed My Daughter,” written under her pen name “Lois Duncan,  led to Kait’s story being featured on national TV shows from “Good Morning America” and “Larry King Live” to “Unsolved Mysteries.”  But it also generated death threats to other family members “so Don took early retirement from Sandia Laboratories and we relocated,” Arquette says.


Now living on the East Coast in a location she prefers not to disclose, Arquette is at work on a sequel to that first book.  She has written adult fiction, young adult fiction (for which she’s gotten the most recognition), children’s books and magazine pieces (she’s a former contributing editor for Woman’s Day).


She says her 1973 young adult novel, “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” became “an appalling slasher movie” two years ago and turned her into something of “a teenage cult figure.”  Uncomfortable with the money she earned from the movie, Arquette set up an Albuquerque based, non-profit investigative agency.  National Investigations Agency of New Mexico provides pro bono services to violent crime victims who are not being served by “the system” she says.


One personal bonus is that her backlisted books have enjoyed a surge of popularity – all from a movie that she says bears scant resemblance to the book on which it purportedly is based.


Now Arquette is again looking for ways to find resolution to Kaitlyn’s death.  “Our heart and soul for the past eleven years has been on the case,” she says.  Her new book, tentatively titled “The Tally Keeper,” starts where the first book left off and will contain “all the information we’ve uncovered since 1991,” she says.


In 1994 the family launched a full-scale investigation with private investigators, insurance claims investigators, crime scene reconstructionists, forensic experts and experts on organized Vietnamese crime.  New information has been placed on an Internet site at http://kaitarquette.arquettes.com.  The results – well over 100,000 hits since 1997.


On the 10th anniversary of Kaitlyn[s death, the family offered a $25,000 reward for new information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killers.


“So far there have been no takers, but we keep telling ourselves that if we keep on rocking the boat long enough, eventually somebody is going to fall out,” she says.  “Loyalties change over the years – devoted lovers become bitter ex-lovers, frightened people gain courage, lost people find God.  And all it’s going to take is one of them.”