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"He said it's been 22 years -- they haven’t caught me yet and they’re not going to," Karl Karlsen's daughter says in a new 20/20 episode

By Harriet Sokmensuer
June 05, 2020 10:59 AM
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The daughters of Karl Karlsen -- the man who killed his wife and son for insurance money, decades apart -- are breaking their silence.

In a preview of  20/20's 2-hour special, "The Sins of the Father," airing Friday, Erin DeRoche recalls the moment she confronted her father about her mother's death -- after he had already been charged with killing her brother in 2008. An exclusive clip from the episode is above.

“He was trying to convince me he never would have killed our brother, he never would have killed our mom, and I just listened to it for a little bit and I stopped and then I looked at him and I was like, 'I know that you did this and I know that you killed our mother,'" DeRoche says in the clip. "He looked at me, he smiled like a Cheshire cat and he said, 'It's been 22 years, they haven’t caught me yet and they’re not going to.'"

The two-hour 20/20 special features reporting by David Muir.

In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo, members of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department assist Karl Karlsen as he arrives for his court appearance at the Seneca County Courthouse in Waterloo, N.Y
Karl Karlsen
| Credit: Stephen D. Cannerelli/The Post-Standard/AP

In February, Karlsen was found guilty of first-degree murder by arson in Calaveras County Superior Court in California, according to the Union Democrat. His wife Christina died in a house fire in 1991, which was intentionally set by Karlsen in order to collect a $200,000 life insurance policy. He took out the policy on his wife 19 days prior to her death.

Nearly seven years earlier, in November 2013, Karlsen pleaded guilty to killing his 23-year-old son Levi in 2008 to collect a $707,210 life insurance policy, according to the Union Democrat. He had registered the policy 17 days before Levi was found crushed under a car.

Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen
Christina Alexander-Karlsen and Levi Karlsen
| Credit: Facebook

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Karlsen used the payout from his late wife’s insurance policy to buy a home in upstate New York, according to Syracuse.com.

Levi’s death was originally believed to be accidental, but prosecutors claimed Karlsen purposely rigged a 5,000-lb. vehicle to fall on his son, who was working beneath it.

In Friday's episode, Erin DeRoche and her sister Kati Reynolds open up about how their father almost got away with their mother and brother's murders, how they suspected his involvement -- and how they survived the heartbreak of losing their loved ones in such a violent way.

20/20: The Sins of the Father airs Friday, June 5,  from 9 -11 p.m. E.T. on ABC.