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Calaveras County Sheriff's Office
Tuesday December 11th, 2012 :: 02:11 p.m. PST


Murphys 1991 Fire Investigation Reopened


Contact: Sgt Chris Hewitt
Release Date: 12/11/12
Release Number: 1

Murphys 1991 Fire Investigation Reopened

(San Andreas, CA) On November 26, 2012, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office was notified that investigators with the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department in New York were investigating a homicide in their jurisdiction. They alerted Calaveras County Sheriff’s detectives that the New York homicide case may have ties to a 1991 Murphys fire where a woman was killed. In 1991, upon completion of a house fire investigation by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and the California Department of Forestry arson investigators, the death of Christina Karlsen was determined to have been an accident.

According to Seneca County Sheriff’s officials, Karl Karlsen, who now lives in New York, allegedly killed his son, Levi Karlsen, in 2008 for the purpose of collecting insurance money. In 1991 Karl Karlsen and his wife, Christina, previously lived at a residence on the 4000 block of Pennsylvania Gulch Road in Murphys where the fire occurred. Seneca County Sheriff’s investigators learned of Christina’s death during their investigation and believed that Suspect Karl had a pattern of criminal behavior in regards to both deaths.

As a consequence of the investigation by Seneca County, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has obtained the California Department of Forestry and Calaveras County incident reports concerning the 1991 fire. At this time Calaveras County Sheriff’s detectives are reviewing the reports and determining a course of action to follow in regards to re-interviewing people in the 1991 case, as well as interviewing others who may not have come forth during the initial investigation.

At this time, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office is not prepared to comment on any further aspects of this on-going investigation.

Calaveras County Sheriff's Office
Jeff Tuttle Dr
San Andreas, CA 95249

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 209-754-6500

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