In the winter of 2012 in upstate New York, Karl Karlsen was about to be prosecuted for the murder of his son, Levi. Investigators discovered that 20 years ago, Karl had been in a house fire in California. Karl was able to pull his children (6, 5, and 4) out of the windows but he said his wife Christina (Levi’s mother) was trapped in the bathroom. The only window in the bathroom was covered with a sheet of plywood. The police reported the case as arson but Karlsen was never questioned. Christina was 30.
Four days after the fire, Karlsen took his three kids to New York. The California county couldn’t afford to send investigators to New York to question Karlsen so the case was dropped. Christina’s sister Colette discovered that just weeks before her death, Karlsen had taken out a $200,000 life insurance policy on Christina’s life. The policy paid off. 20 years later, when New York investigators questioned Karlsen about the California fire, he pleaded guilty to killing Levi. (He knocked a truck off a Jack while Levi was working underneath it). Karlsen had taken out a $700,000 insurance policy on Levi just weeks before his death. Levi was 23. Karl Karlsen got 15 years to life in prison. Karlsen is now being charged with the 1991 murder of Christina. You can learn more about Christina and Levi on Colette’s Facebook page, and on Dateline NBC, April 17, at 10pm.