A 64-year-old Sandusky, Ohio, man was arrested Thursday by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office for first-degree murder in a 27-year-old case.
Carl Junior McCauley was booked into the Erie County Jail and will be extradited to Polk County to face the charge in the death of Karen Ann Watson who was found stabbed to death in her Lake Alfred home March 24, 1987, the sheriff’s office reported.
Charles Watson, the victim’s husband, arrived home from work around 1:30 p.m. that day and found his wife’s body on the living room couch in their home at 1103 Old Polk City Rd., Lake Alfred with multiple stab wounds. Her death was ruled a homicide, and the autopsy revealed Karen had sexual intercourse just prior to her death.
The crime scene was processed and evidence was collected. Eyewitnesses reported possibly seeing a white male wearing a blue-colored uniform shirt in the neighborhood during the time frame of the murder, and a beige-over-gold car in the street at the Watson home. Carl drove a beige-over-gold Chevrolet Nova at that time.
In 1989, detectives interviewed Jacqueline McCauley, whose name had come up as a friend of the Watsons. She told detectives she and her husband, Carl, knew the Watsons and had been to their home.
Carl McCauley was employed by Adam’s Lumber Company at the time. The company confirmed to detectives Carl did not come to work on March 24, 1987. Detectives also noted employees wore blue uniform shirts.
Detectives learned the McCauleys were seen arguing at the Dew Drop Inn bar in Lake Alfred on the morning of the murder. The bar is 6.6 miles south of the crime scene.
This year on June 3, cold case homicide detectives found Carl McCauley in Sandusky, Ohio. While interviewing him, McCauley told detectives he had never been inside the Watson’s home, and denied having a sexual relationship with Karen Watson. Detectives then collected an oral DNA sample from McCauley and brought the sample back to Florida.
The FDLE lab on June 27 made a positive match for two separate samples of DNA – semen – left at the crime scene that was collected after Karen’s murder.
After interviewing McCauley, detectives also interviewed a girlfriend of his who told them McCauley told her he had been interviewed by Florida detectives about the homicide of a woman with whom he had sex, but did not kill. This is in direct contradiction with statements McCauley made to detectives that he had never been inside the home and had not had sex with her, the sheriff’s office claims.
On Aug. 27, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office got an arrest warrant for Carl McCauley. The Sandusky Police Department conducted surveillance on McCauley until Polk County detectives arrived, and together the two agencies placed him under arrest without incident.
Post Miranda, McCauley told detectives that he had sex with Karen Watson, but did not kill her. He then asked to speak with an attorney.