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The Observer at the Scene: A Case of Kait’s Death

Updated September 25, 2022

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The Observer at the Scene: A Case of Kait’s Death essay

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After Kait was shot, her car traveled 719 feet, crossed the median, and came to a rest on the sidewalk east of the intersection of Lomas Blvd. and Arno Street.

The first officer on the scene (not in uniform–just passing by) observed two vehicles parked on the sidewalk, Kait’s red Ford Tempo and a VW Bug parked next to it. He also saw a man standing next to Kait’s car. The officer drove past the vehicles while he radioed in to ask about an accident (none reported), then returned to the scene to investigate. He then discovered an unconscious, blood drenched girl, lying across both front seats of the Ford. Assuming she had been injured in a traffic accident, he called for an ambulance and APD assistance. While waiting, he conversed with the observer at the scene, Paul Raymond Apodoca, but took down only his name and an incorrect phone number.

Officer #2, who arrived moments later, observed only one vehicle on the sidewalk — Kait’s Ford Tempo, with the first officer standing behind it, chatting with Apodoca. Officer#2 took one look at the bullet-shattered driver’s window, recognized that this was a crime scene, and radioed the station for back-up. Neither Officer #1 or Officer #2 was ever officially questioned in connection with this case. No police officer ever interviewed Paul Apodoca, either at the crime scene or later.

Nor did they question the disappearance of his VW Bug between the time Officer #1 saw it parked next to Kait’s car, and the time Officer #2 arrived on the scene. They allowed him to leave without even getting his address, despite the fact that he has a long record of violent crime, including multiple vicious attacks on women and shooting one victim from a VW Bug with the same caliber weapon that killed Kait. After being awakened by the sound of gunshots, witnesses who lived on Arno, 500 feet north of the crime scene, reported seeing a VW Bug with more than one person in it race up their street, pull into the parking lot of an automotive body shop next door to their house, turn off its lights, and soon afterward drive slowly away down the same street. Newspapers carried banner headlines stating

POLICE SEEKING INFO ON VW BUG, a mystery vehicle that APD allegedly was desperately trying to locate. The note was placed into evidence. Kait’s parents allege that, not only does the note not sound like Kait, who was an honor student, but that the note is not in Kait’s handwriting.

We have since discovered that Dung Nguyen was part of an interstate Vietnamese crime ring that Kait was planning to expose, and has been directly linked to identified members of the Santa Ana and El Q Gangs in Southern California. One activity this ring was involved in was car wreck insurance fraud. Kait’s boyfriend and his friends from Albuquerque would fly to the L.A. area, rent or steal cars, and then stage wrecks, claiming fake injuries. The participants would be paid $1,500; doctors, lawyers, and paralegals would rake in the Big Money. Dung Nguyen has confessed to personal involvement in two such wrecks and has told investigators that he knows of up to 20 people in Albuquerque who are also involved.

Several of these people have also been identified as interstate drug dealers and as participants in a racket to steal and sell computer chips from such companies as Intel. Dung Nguyen’s alibis for the night of Kait’s shooting are An Quoc Le and Khanh Tuan Pham. He said he and his friends spent the evening at the Monte Vista Fire Station Restaurant, and Khanh Pham dropped him off at his apartment at approximately 10 p.m. The police did not verify this alibi.

Dung has since identified both these friends as participants in the car wreck scam. He also has identified the insurance fraud capper in Orange County, CA, as An Quoc Le’s cousin, Bao Tran, a housemate of a convicted arsonist, Hong Phuc Duy Van. Both were employed at the law office of attorney Minh Nguyen Duy, “aka Minh Buy Nguyen.” Minh Duy told investigators that his office is owned by Scott Gentilly, who also owns three other Vietnamese-run law offices that handle primarily auto Kait’s final phone bill showed calls to Santa Ana, CA, made from her apartment as soon as she was pronounced dead. The phone numbers were for Bao Tran’s residence and beeper.

Dung Nguyen first told police that Khanh Pham made the calls. He later changed his story and said An Quoc Le phoned Tran to tell him Kait was dead. Neither An Quoc Le nor Khanh Pham According to the APD case file, Dung Nguyen allegedly attempted suicide on the night of Kait’s funeral (July 21, 1989), by stabbing himself in the abdomen in the dorm room of Airman Khanh Pham, Room #202 of Building #23216, on Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM. An Quoc Le, Dung’s other alibi for the night of Kait’s murder, was there as well.

According to the OSI spokesperson, Khanh Pham refused to talk to police on the advice of his Air Force attorney and therefore was never One investigator was told by a mole in the Police Department that two members of this Vietnamise group were stealing get-away cars for an Albuquerque Police Department officer, Matt Griffin, to use to commit bank robberies. One week before Kait was shot, Officer Griffin was identified as the “Ninja Bandit,” a notorious bank robber who always made his getaways in This web site, established by Kait’s brother in July, 1996, has turned out to be more productive than we ever imagined. Investigators from all over the country — ranging from forensics experts, to handwriting experts, to crime scene reconstructionists, etc. — have contacted us to offer their assistance pro bono.

Most important, however, has been the information from good people (many from Albuquerque), who — although they couldn’t hand us a smoking gun — have been able to provide bits and pieces of information about activities and individuals that are linked in one way or another to Kait’s case. In many cases these people didn’t realize that what they knew was important — but it WAS. Some of those fragments of information filled in gaps in the jigsaw puzzle. Others verified previously unsupported suspicions. Still others caused us and our investigators to redirect our attention to aspects of the case that we had previously.

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The Observer at the Scene: A Case of Kait’s Death. (2019, Jul 01). Retrieved from