Las Cruces
Oct 16, 1981

Obituaries and Articles
Compiled by Marcena Thompson
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"Happy" Apodaca, Who Figured in Unsolved Slaying Case, Dies

 A. L. Happy Apodaca, Dona Ana County sheriff during a grand jury probe of the death of Ovida "Cricket" Coogler, one of the state's most famous unsolved killings, has died of an apparent heart attack. Apodaca, 69, was pronounced dead at Memorial General Hospital at 7:19 p.m. Tuesday. A hospital spokesman said Apodaca had been brought to the hospital from his home in Mesilla. Funeral services were pending. Apodaca was sheriff in 1949 when a grand jury was called to look into the sheriff's department's investigation of the death of Miss Coogler. The battered, decomposed body of Miss Coogler, a 19-year-old waitress, was found by rabbit hunters in a shallow desert grave south of Las Cruces 16 days after she disappeared. The grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against Apodaca on charges including rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and several counts of malfeasance of office.  Apodaca was removed from office and change of venue moved the trial to Silver City. During the trial, four charges were thrown out. The jury deadlocked on one remaining charges, a mistrial was declared, and he was reinstated.  Apodaca is survived by his wife, Antonia; seven brothers, David of Las Cruces, Raymond, A. T., B. C., and Tommy of Garfield, Harry of Chama, and Eddie of Albuquerque; five sons, Steve, Julian and James of Las Cruces, Philip of Tucson, and Gilbert of Fairbanks, Alaska and six grandchildren.  Apodaca was born in Garfield and was a life-long resident of Dona Ana County. Burial will be in Masonic Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Pete De La Cruz, Paul Catanach, Juan Santiestevan, Bobby Rodriguez, A. E. Triviz and Leroy Ramirez.