A FATHER who murdered his wife and son got away with it for years years – until police discovered his shocking motive for killing his family.
The deaths of Christina and Levi Karlsen were initially deemed accidents, but eventually information emerged revealing their husband and father Karl Karlsen had killed them intentionally.
Christina Karlsen died in a tragic house fire, during which she was unable to escape her bathroom[/caption]
Her husband and three children survived the fire, but eventually Christina’s death and a subsequent death of their son Levi revealed they were both murdered[/caption]
Information eventually revealed that husband and father Karl Karlsen had murdered his family members and collected hefty insurance policies after their deaths[/caption]
The shocking details of the Karlsen family saga are explored in a new episode of NBC Dateline.
The murders of Christina and Levi took place 10 years apart and were both initially deemed accidents.
Eventually, someone close to the family came forward with information about Karl’s involvement spurring an investigation that revealed the man had murdered his loved ones and used their deaths to secure hefty insurance payouts.
Details about the case reveal a long saga of physical and mental abuse that ultimately resulted in an insurance scheme and two murders.
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First, Christina died in a house fire on New Year’s Day in 1991.
Then in 2001, Levi was killed by a pickup truck, with the deadly incident originally presumed to be an accident.
But that conclusion eventually proved to be false.
“Investigators would later discover that both deaths had more sinister roots,” the Oxygen article said.
“And a member of the Karlsen family was slowly killing off those closest to him for financial gain.”
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Eventually a possible motive surfaced, leading investigators to realize they had a murder on their hands.
According to family members, Karl was mentally controlling over his wife Christina and bullied her.
There were also signs of physical abuse.
“He would tell her that, you know, she was chubby,” the woman’s sister Colette Bousson says in the “American Greed” episode.
“He knew that because she was so sensitive about her weight that he could destroy her self-esteem.”
According to Oxygen, Christina went against advice from loved ones and decided to stay with Karl for the kids.
Thanks to a boarded up window, Christina was stuck in the bathroom and unable to get out when their California home was engulfed in flames on January 1, 1991.
After the fire, Karl was awarded $215,000 from an insurance policy and he moved the family across the country to New York.
The family relocated to the Fingerlakes region of New York in the town of Varick, where they lived on a farm.
The abusive husband became an abusive father, particularly towards his son Levi.
“Levi would get beat with anything that my father had within reach. His fists, pipes, shovels, pitch forks, belts, electric cattle prods” Erin DeRoche, one of Karl and Christina’s other three children, told the television series.
“You name it, it was used as a weapon against my brother.”
At one point, the family’s barn caught on fire killing multiple horses, garnering another lucrative insurance claim for Karl.
Then in 2008, a pickup truck fell off a jack while Levi was working on it crushing his body and killing him, in what again seemed to be a tragic accident.
A few years later, however, new information would surface that put the blame squarely on Karl.
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The woman Karl had been dating at the time of Levi’s death eventually put forward information to local New York authorities that raised enough questions to spur an investigation.
Seneca County Sheriff’s Office eventually carried out a sting operation collecting enough evidence to try and convict Karl Karlsen of both murders, sending him in prison.