Daniel Arteaga arrested for New Years Day killing

Author: Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com
Published On: Aug 09 2012 11:26:56 AM PDT   Updated On: Aug 07 2012 06:26:48 PM PDT
Daniel Arteaga
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Daniel Arteaga, the one-time boyfriend of homicide victim Kimberly Schmidt, has been arrested and booked into the Spokane County Jail on a 1st Degree Murder charge.

Arteaga, 40, was arrested Tuesday morning and booked into the Spokane County Jail on the murder charge. Detectives, meanwhile, executed a search warrant on his home in Spokane Valley.

He admitted previously that he was one of the last people to see Schmidt alive on New Years Day, claiming he had left her residence that morning and she was still sleeping. Several hours later she was found shot to death.

Initially investigators were unsure if it was a suicide or murder because of the way she was found in her bedroom, but Spokane Co. Medical Examiner Dr. Sally Aiken ruled Schmidt's death a homicide.

Schmidt was found on her bed with a close contact gunshot wound to the right side of her head. Schmidt was right handed and a .25 caliber pistol was recovered right next to her body.

Evidence found at the scene seemed to point toward suicide however there was one element that was out of place: A lamp cord was found draped over Schmidt's body after she was shot.

There was also the fact that only four people had keys to the house --Schmidt, her daughter, Schmidt's mother Toni and Daniel Arteaga -- and detectives could not find any evidence of forced entry into Schmidt's home.

On Tuesday family members of Kim Schmidt confirmed the .25 caliber pistol found next to her body was owned by Arteaga.

When contacted at the Spokane County Jail Tuesday afternoon, Arteaga declined to comment on his arrest.

Toni Schmidt, Kim's mother, released the following statement several hours after Arteaga's arrest:

"It has been a very difficult eight months for the family and friends of Kim. Not a day goes by when I was not asked, 'When is there going to be an arrest?' That day has come, and we must have trust in the justice system to now bring justice for Kim. We thank the sheriff's detectives for all their hard work and their desire to solve this case."