Romulus Man Accused of Killing His Son

A joint investigation conducted by the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Violent Crime Investigation Team, Seneca County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Financial Serv ices, Insurance Frauds Bureau resulted in the arrest of Karl H. Karlsen, age 52, 885 Yale Farm Road, Romulus, New York on the charge of Murder in the Second Degree.   

It is alleged that on November 20, 2008, Karl H. Karlsen intentionally caused the death of his son, Levi, age 23, at 885 Yale Farm Road, Romulus, New York.

Karl Karlsen

Seneca County Sheriff Jack Stenberg reported that on November 20, 2008, at 4:00 p.m., Seneca County Sheriff’s Deputies and South Seneca Ambulance personnel responded to a 911 ambulance call from Cindy Karlsen, the wife of Karl Karlsen reporting that her stepson was trapped underneath a vehicle he had been working on in an adjacent barn.   

Arriving Sheriff’s Deputies were met by a distraught Karl Karlsen who reported that Levi was working underneath a jacked vehicle when he and his wife left to attend a family event at around noon on November 20, 2008.  Karlsen reported that when they returned home at about 4:00 p.m., he went to the barn to check on Levi and found the vehicle had fallen off the jack and Levi was lying motionless pinned underneath the vehicle.  Levi Karlsen was transported to Geneva General Hospital by South Seneca Ambulance and pronounced dead on arrival. “There were no indications of foul play and from all signs this appeared to be a very tragic accident,” said Sheriff Stenberg.   

In March 2012, Sheriff’s Investigators developed new information that indicated Levi’s death may not have been accidental. According to Sheriff Stenberg, i t was determined that a substantial life insurance policy was taken out on Levi days before his death naming Karl Karlsen as the sole beneficiary. Also, circumstances surrounding the accident surfaced suggesting that the actions of Karl Karlsen resulted in the truck falling and pinning Levi underneath. Karl then left the residence to attend a family event, returning four hours later. He then went into the barn, pretended to discover the accident, and told his wife, prompting a 911 call. “To think that a father could cause a vehicle to fall off a jack crushing his son and then leave for four hours knowing all the time that his son was pinned under the truck apparently dead is unconscionable.  Then, to put on an act for arriving first responders was part of a well-planned event staged by Karl Karlsen” Stenberg said.

The Sheriff’s Office teamed up with New York State Police Violent Crime Investigation Team and initiated an eight-month investigation that resulted in the arrest Friday night of Karl Karlsen on a charge of Murder in the Second Degree.   

Additionally, Sheriff’s Investigators, State Police and Insurance Fraud Investigators are also looking into a 1991 fire in California which claimed the life of Karlsen’s first wife, Christena.

“We will be talking with Investigators in California in the coming days as there are certain events surrounding the death of Karlsen’s first wife that cause us concern,” said the Sheriff.
Stenberg credited the excellent team work and cooperation of his Deputies, Troopers and Investigators working on the case.  “This has been difficult on all the investigators working this case and I am proud of the professionalism they displayed in being Levi’s voice,” said Sheriff Stenberg.

Karlsen was arraigned before Town Justice Brian Laird in the Town of Seneca Falls Court and committed to the Seneca County Jail without bail.  
The investigation into these incidents is continuing.

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