Debt, jealousy among motives in Schmidt murder


by Katie Utehs &

Posted on August 8, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 25 at 10:21 PM

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SPOKANE-- The man arrested for the New Years murder of Kimberly Schmidt made his first appearance in court Wednesday and Spokane County Detectives are building a case of debt, jealousy and premeditated murder.

Daniel Arteaga, 40, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and is charged with 1st degree murder of his girlfriend of over six years and fellow diver.

Court documents say Daniel Arteaga drugged Kimberly Schmidt with Advil P.M. then shot her in the head.

Kimberly Schmidt, 35, was found dead in her North Spokane County home on New Year's Day by her mother Toni.  She died from a gunshot wound to the head. Daniel Arteaga became a person of interest in January.

Court documents say Schmidt was ending a sexual relationship with Arteaga before she was killed and he owed her money. She had the titles to his 2 trucks.   
At the same time text messages show a rekindled relationship with the father of her daughter, Joseph Regalado. She was suppose to celebrate the New Year with Regalado, but never made it.

Schmidt’s north Spokane neighbors told detectives they saw Arteaga spying on Schmidt and Regalado towards the end of 2011.

Court documents revealed that the father of Schmidt’s daughter Regalado had an alibi for the evening of the murder. The last contact Regalado had with Schmidt was a text message from her in the early hours of January 1st. The next contact was a text message from Kim’s mother Toni.
On New Year’s Eve Arteaga was the last person seen with Schmidt. He installed a new washing machine at her house that day.

Detectives said Daniel Arteaga and Kimberley’s mother were the only others with keys to Kim’s home.

Documents also stated that a friend of Kim’s told detectives that Arteaga had choked Kim in the past.

Documents show that Arteaga was in debt to Schmidt. According to her text messages she had the titles to his 2 trucks.
Documents also revealed that Toni talked to Kim on December 31st in the middle of the night. Toni said she had a "premonition" that something wasn't right so she went to check on Kim the next day.

Court documents say Schmidt may have been drugged with Advil pm before being shot in the head with her own gun.

Arteaga's DNA was found on a sock used to cover the murder weapon.
Detectives haven't found a gold necklace with a pendant of a diver that Schmidt wore it often. They believe her killer took it.
The Medical Examiner says the gunshot wound to Kimberly Schmidt’s head may not have killed her instantly. She may have survived from a half hour to several hours.

The judge set bail at $1 million and ordered Arteaga to surrender his passport if he posts bond. The prosecutors argued Arteaga was a flight risk because of his frequent international traveling.

In court Kim’s mother, Toni Schmidt, asked the judge to keep Arteaga in jail for safety of Kim's daughter.

According to search warrants released in March, Arteaga had seen Schmidt the day she died.  The court documents say Arteaga left Schmidt sleeping in her bedroom around 4:00 a.m.

In the court documents Arteaga is described as Schmidt's former boyfriend.  He was also listed as a co-defendant with Schmidt in a civil lawsuit involving scuba diving instruction. They're accused of negligence in a diving accident.

Toni released the following statement to KREM 2 News Tuesday: “It has been a very difficult eight months for the family and friends of Kim. Not a day goes by when I’m not asked when will there 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 Detective for all their hard work and desire to solve this case.”