I will never forget Christina. She and her father, Art Alexander, would frequent the small office supply business my family owned during the late 1980s. She was
everything perfect; beautiful, smart, sweet, a gifted seamstress, a talented singer and dancer. She appeared happy and always had a great sense of humor. She was a
loving daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and friend to so many. Everyone knew, however, her world revolved around her three children, Erin, Levi and Katie.
I never would have guessed back then that Christina was the victim of a tumultuous and controlling marriage with her husband, Karl Karlsen. In spite of this, she
struggled to maintain as much normalcy as possible for the sake of her children.
Our small town of Murphys, California (Calaveras County) has always been a laid back, friendly and non-news-worthy community. However, on New Years Day, 1991, news of an intense, fast-moving house fire quickly became the utmost of tragedy and topic of every conversation. This fire not only destroyed the home Christina shared with her family… it also destroyed the lives of all those who loved her. She was trapped in the bathroom of the residence; windows had been boarded up just prior to the inferno. Her husband, Karl, states he was only able to rescue their three children and then drove away to a far distant neighbor to call 911.
However, no attempt was ever made to rescue Christina. In fact, the children have had to live with the nightmare of hearing their beloved mommy screaming from within the smoke and flames for Karl to help her.
From the very beginning, suspicions ran rampant. A kerosene-soaked carpet just outside the bathroom door was discovered from the onset of the investigation. Karl confidently explained this away, stating a can of kerosene had accidentally tipped and spilled. And what reasonable explanation could be given for the boarded bathroom windows? It was pretty much the town consensus that Christina was purposely trapped with no viable exit to save her life. Some law enforcement friends at the time also expressed suspicion of arson. However, after an investigation conducted by the state fire marshal, this horrific incident was ruled an “accident”. The Alexander family was devastated! Never would they
accept the events leading to Christina’s death as an accident. Anger turned to frustration, as there would now be no hope for justice; no recourse, Within days of Christina’s death, Karlsen packed up the children and headed to the East Coast (Seneca County, New York) to be near his family and, it is believed, to move the furthest possible distance from the scene of his crime. He later collected over $200,000 from his deceased wife’s insurance policy. Karl Karlsen continued living the good life. He quickly remarried and then became the father of another son. They owned a spacious ranch house, which included a barn, acreage and beautiful Belgian draft horses. One evening in 2002, a fire “suddenly erupted” in the barn. The horses were trapped inside this barn and perished. Karlsen soon collected an insurance settlement
worth $80,000–$118,000. Still, no one suspected a thing—Again, just an unfortunate “accident”. Coincidence?
The relationship he shared with his now adult son, Levi, had deteriorated significantly. Levi had separated from his wife (with whom he had two daughters) and moved back into the ranch house with his dad and stepmother. The two were at odds and arguments were frequent. Then on November 20, 2008, tragedy again strikes the Alexander family. Levi (age 23) is killed when the 5,000-pound truck he is working under in the barn, falls off its jack; severely crushing his chest. This time, Karlsen collected
$707,210 from the insurance policy on Levi… that he had paid in full just 17 days before. To make matters worse (according to insurance records), Karlsen used the proceeds from Levi’s life insurance policy to set up policies on Levi’s daughters (ages 4 and 6 at the time of their father’s untimely death).
The total death benefit for the two
young girls would be $744,000. Clearly,
this monster was continuing to plan for
his financial future!
Karl Karlsen’s reign of terror
finally came to an end when
he was arrested on November
23, 2012 for the murder of his
son, Levi. His current wife, over
time, had become suspicious
and in fear of her own life.
She contacted authorities and
shared her belief that Karlsen
had possibly caused the death
of his own son.
Christina and Levi Karlsen—cont. from page 1
On December 16, 2013, Karlsen
was sentenced to 15 Years to Life for
murdering his son, Levi. He admitted
to causing the truck to fall off its jack
(kicking it with his foot) and then
leaving Levi to die. The motive for the
crime, according to Karlsen, was profit.
The deaths of Christina and Levi,
though 19 years apart, bear undeniable
similarities. Karl Karlsen was the last
person to see them alive; both deaths
were originally considered accidents;
and Karlsen had taken out substantial
life insurance policies on each shortly
before their deaths.
Now, with the conviction and sentencing
of Karl Karlsen in upstate New York, we
are hoping and praying for justice here in
California. We maintain communication
with the Calaveras County District
Attorney, who has reopened Christina’s
case. There is every reason to believe she
will move to indict Karlsen for the 1991
murder of his wife, Christina. With
today’s advanced forensic technology, we
stand firm in sharing the family’s hope
that prosecution is imminent and justice
will finally be realized.
Christina and Levi, you will remain
forever in our hearts. God bless and
hold you both tight.
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