Update: 1986 Rape, Murder of Connecticut Schoolgirl Jun 16, 2019 15:51:01 GMT -5 kitty likes this
Post by Graveyardbride on Jun 16, 2019 15:51:01 GMT -5
Arrest in 1986 Rape, Murder of Connecticut Schoolgirl
When citizens of Stetson, Maine, a town of around 1,200 west of Bangor, saw police tape stretched across the driveway at 76 Coboro Road, no one was surprised. They soon learned Marc Karun, the 53-year-old man who lived there, had been arrested in connection with the 1986 rape and murder of Kathleen Flynn (above) in Norwalk, Connecticut, and no one was surprised by that either.
For years, the grey-haired man, who lived on the property purchased by his parents in 2002, had unnerved local residents after showing up in 2013 and moving into the house surrounded by thick woods. It hadn’t taken long for word to spread that a sex offender was living in their midst and in the words of Millard Butler, a town selectman, Karun was “kind of weird.” He walked around with a blank stare that disturbed people and would stand in the driveway leading to his home saluting passing drivers.
“He made all of us uncomfortable,” Catherine Fisher, the town registrar, said. “He would come in and it’s almost like he looks right through you. He didn’t know when to leave.”
And even though the good folk of Stetson made it clear he wasn’t welcome – last summer a vandal painted “Pedophile” on the pavement in front of the driveway leading to his home – Karun seemed to delight in taunting his neighbors. For example, he would show up at bi-monthly town meetings and make what someone described as “snarky comments.” He even filed paperwork to run for selectman at one point and a resident suggested the town pass an ordinance barring convicted felons from running for public office, something the town could not legally do.
At a recent meeting, Karun sat in the front row and stared at a woman through his dark sunglasses. According to Butler, after the meeting concluded, the lady was so disturbed she approached him [Butler] and requested he see her safely home.
“Most of the time,” Butler continued, “when you hear about someone doing something like this (raping and killing a child), you think, ‘I guess I knew that person, I didn’t think he was really capable of doing it.’ But in this case, what I’ve seen of him, I’m not surprised a bit. I think he was completely capable of doing something like that.”
The rape and murder of Kathleen Fleet. On the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1986, Kathleen left Ponus Ridge Middle School and as was her routine, took a paved footpath through a wooded area. When she didn’t arrive home, her mother reported the sixth-grader missing a little after 5 p.m. Several of Kathleen’s friends saw her walking toward the path by the tennis courts a few minutes after school let out.
The following morning, the girl’s body was discovered around a hundred feet off the path, near the athletic fields where athletic teams had been practicing the day before. According to the autopsy report, she had been raped and strangled.
The murder in the quiet West Norwalk neighborhood created a sense of paranoia. John Ioannidis, an 8th-grader at the time, said he remembers that day like it was yesterday. His soccer team had practiced on the field in front of Ponus just a few hundred yards from the path Kathleen took. Middle-schoolers, he recalled, often hung out and smoked at a big rock just off the path, but that changed after Kathleen was murdered. “We never went down that path ever again,” he declared.
As police chased down countless leads that turned into dead ends, the community remained on edge. “The kids in school were all terrified, as was everyone in the neighborhood,” Enes Drake, a substitute teacher who lived nearby, told a reporter. “We were all on high alert. The guy was never caught, so we were always looking over our shoulders.”
At the time, Karun (above), who had a criminal history of sexual assault, was living approximately two miles from the school. He was questioned a few weeks after the murder and though he denied killing the child, the then 21-year-old man made a bizarre admission. Four days before Kathleen was killed, Karun claimed he had visited the school to “see some teachers.” While there, he said he had gone to the library and talked with a librarian, then walked a distance on the same footpath Kathleen had taken on her way home. However, when police questioned school employees, no one recalled talking with or seeing Karun. The only teachers who recognized his photo were those who had taught him and they described him as a student with “serious problems.” When questioned a second time, Karun admitted he hadn’t actually been at the school that day.
Around five months prior to Kathleen’s murder, Karun was arrested for the abduction and sexual assault of a woman near the Norwalk Community Technical College campus. However, the victim didn’t want to testify in court, so the charges were downgraded and he was sentenced to six months in prison. Forensic testing failed to link the two cases, but investigators noticed similarities.
Less than two years later, Karun was behind bars again on additional sexual assault and kidnapping-related charges. Finally, in 1989, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and placed on the sex offender’s registry for life. He didn’t serve the full 10 years and in 1997, by that time in his early 30s, he was convicted on felony burglary and larceny charges.
For most of his life outside prison, Karun lived at 28 Princes Pine Road in West Norwalk. Later, he moved into an apartment in East Norwalk and has lived for short periods of time in other Connecticut locations, including Manchester, Rocky Hill and Shelton.
As he cycled in and out of prison, Norwalk police were still working on the Flynn case, hoping that advances in DNA technology would eventually identify a suspect. Authorities haven’t said yet how they finally zeroed in on Karun, but have hinted additional details will be released at a later date.
Karun’s arrest came less than a year after Jim Flynn, Kathleen’s father, died. In a statement, the family thanked the Norwalk Police Department “for bringing Kathleen’s murderer to justice.”
Robert Fabrizzio, who was the Norwalk Detective Bureau Commander at the time of the murder, retired in 1991, but admitted the case is still fresh in his mind almost 33 years later. “That case has always plagued me,” he said. “Every time I hear of a young girl ... her case comes to mind right away.” The case had every detective in the bureau working overtime, he recalled. “Thirty-three years, and wow, I’m just amazed,” he declared. “With technology, things just show up. I’m amazed, but I’m really glad there’s some closure for the family.”
Sources: Pat Tomlinson and Jim Shay, The Connecticut Post, June 13, 2019; Callie Ferguson and Eesha Pendharkar, The Bangor Daily News, June 13, 2019; David Owens, The Hartford Courant, June 14, 2019; and Connecticut Department of Correction.