Ohio man arrested for 1987 murder in Polk County

March 12th, 2015 by Staff

Karen Ann Watson, 41, was stabbed to death in her home on March 24, 1987.

(BTLS Staff) BARTOW, Fla. – A Sandusky, Ohio man is in the Polk County Jail where he is being held without bond in connection with a 1987 cold case homicide.

Carl Junior McCauley, 65, was successfully extradited to Central Florida earlier this week to face charges in the March 1987 murder of Lake Alfred resident Karen Ann Watson.

According to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office report the 41-year-old victim was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her home. McCauley was indicted on first-degree murder and sexual assault with a weapon charges on February 5th.

“This woman’s brutal murder has remained unsolved for 27 years due to a suspect who could not be found, and the inability to conduct DNA analysis,” explained Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “With modern technology, our detectives were able to locate the suspect in another state and compare his DNA to samples that were collected long ago.”

Polk Detectives linked McCauley to the homicide in August 2014.

The suspect’s arrest affidavit states Charles Watson – the victim’s husband – arrived home on March 24, 1987 at approximately 1:30 pm to find his wife deceased on a couch in the living room. Her death was ruled as a homicide caused by multiple stab wounds.

The crime scene was processed and evidence collected. A witness reported seeing a white male wearing some sort of uniform shirt in the neighborhood at the time of the murder. A beige-over-gold car was also seen at the Watson home the report states.

In 1989, detectives interviewed Jacqueline McCauley about her friendship with Karen Ann Watson. She told investigators that both she and her husband – the suspect – had been to the victim’s home.

At the time Carl McCauley was employed by Adam’s Lumber Company. Records from the business indicate the suspect did not show up for work on the day of the homicide. The investigation also revealed Adam’s Lumber employees wore blue uniform shirts and the suspect drove a beige-over-gold Chevrolet Nova in 1987.

Detectives also learned that the McCauleys were seen arguing at a nearby bar in Lake Alfred a few hours before Watson’s body was found by her husband. McCauley was not located or interviewed by investigators at that time.

On June 3, 2014, PCSO cold case detectives located the suspect in Ohio. They traveled to interview him and he denied ever being in the Watson residence. He also denied having a sexual relationship with Karen Watson.

A DNA sample was collected and taken back to Florida for testing. A few weeks later a match was confirmed.

McCauley is no stranger to law enforcement. He’s got an extensive arrest record in Ohio and Florida for a variety of crimes including breaking and entering, theft, fraud, domestic violence, drug possession, driving under the influence and reckless driving.

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