Ohio man arrested in Polk County 1987 murder case


POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A northern Ohio man has been arrested and charged with a 1987 murder in Polk County, Florida.

Investigators said Carl McCauley, 64, was arrested Wednesday in Sandusky on a murder warrant issued in Polk County.

The Sandusky Register reports that McCauley is accused in the fatal stabbing of 41-year-old Karen Watson in March 1987. She lived in the Tampa Bay area.
 A search warrant affidavit filed in Sandusky by Polk County deputies said Watson died from multiple stab wounds while inside her mobile home on Lake Alfred. Investigators said they located McCauley living in Sandusky, and a DNA sample he provided matched DNA from crime-scene evidence.

After nearly three decades of waiting, her family said they have found some semblance of peace in the arrest of her alleged killer.

Watson’s son, Chuck Watson, remembers his mother as a vivacious woman who loved her job at Disney and giving her husband haircuts.

“Everything she did, she did for us,” he said. “It’s a happy day. It’s a sad day.”

Karen Watson’s death left a permanent mark on her family. One of Chuck Watson’s younger brothers took his own life in 2003. His father refused to leave the property he bought with his high school sweetheart until he died in June.

Detectives still don’t know why McCauley allegedly attacked Karen Watson that day. Her son hopes it’s the last piece to the puzzle.

“If you want to do the right thing just say everything that happened. Just clear your conscience. Do some good for other people,” Chuck Watson said.

Investigators said they’re grateful for the break in the case.

"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. With modern technology, our detectives were able to locate the suspect in another state and compare his DNA to the samples that were collected long ago. Our detectives work hard to solve these cold cases, and it is a small victory for this family that we are able to bring this suspect to Florida to face these charges," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Authorities said McCauley didn't confirm or deny his involvement in the slaying. He asked for a lawyer, but it wasn't clear Thursday if he had one.