Bartow, Florida -- The Polk County Sheriff's Office says its homicide unit has solved a 27-year-old cold case.
64-year-old Carl Junior McCauley, who currently lives in Sandusky, Ohio, is now awaiting extradition to Polk County to face a charge of first degree murder.
READ: Carl McCauley's arrest affidavit (PDF)
Karen Ann Watson was found stabbed to death in her Lake Alfred home back on March 24, 1987. Her death was ruled a homicide, and the autopsy revealed Watson had sexual intercourse just prior to her death. Eyewitnesses reported possibly seeing a white male wearing some sort of uniform shirt in the neighborhood during the time frame of the murder, and a beige-over-gold car at the Watson home.
In 1989, detectives interviewed Jacqueline McCauley, whose name had come up as a friend of the Watsons. When she was interviewed, she told detectives that both she and her husband Carl knew the Watsons and had been to their home.
Carl McCauley was employed by Adam's Lumber Company at the time, and the company confirmed that Carl did not come to work on March 24, 1987. Employees of the company also wore blue uniform shirts. Carl drove a beige-over-gold Chevy Nova at that time.
On June 3, 2014, Polk cold case homicide detectives located Carl McCauley in Sandusky, Ohio, and traveled there to interview him. McCauley told detectives that he had never been inside the Watson's home, and denied having a sexual relationship with Karen Watson. Detectives collected a DNA sample from McCauley and brought the sample back to Florida.
Lab results later showed McCauley's DNA was a positive match for two separate samples of DNA left at the crime scene that was collected after Watson's murder. Authorities arrested McCauley without incident.
Post-Miranda, investigators say McCauley said he did have sex with Karen Watson, but did not kill her.
"This woman's brutal murder has remained unsolved for 27 years due to a suspect who could not be found, and the inability to conduct DNA analysis," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press release. "With modern technology, our detectives were able to locate the suspect in another state, and compare his DNA to the samples that were collected long ago. Our detectives work hard to solve these cold cases, and it is a small victory for this family that we are able to bring this suspect to Florida to face these charges. I'm very proud of them."
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