Lambton OPP believe ‘someone knows’ what happened to Karen Ann Caughlin

Nearly 44 years later, appeals are issued for details on the tragic death, which may not have been deliberate

Lambton OPP has issued another appeal for information intended to bring resolution to the family and friends of a Sarnia teenager who have lived with her loss for nearly 44 years.

In a statement made Thursday at the detachment headquarters, police confirmed their belief that Karen Ann Caughlin, who was last seen on the night of Friday, March 15, 1974, may not have been deliberately killed.

Investigators believe that the 14-year-old teenager had injuries that are consistent with being the victim of a tragic collision with a motor vehicle.

‘The OPP understands and sympathizes with families who have lived with the tragic loss of a loved one. We know people know what happened to Karen and strongly urge them to come forward. The family deserves the resolution we have been seeking.’—Detective-Inspector Chris Avery, commander of the Lambton County OPP detachment.

It is believed that Karen was then moved from the location where the fatal injuries occurred to a place where her body was ultimately recovered, 22 kilometres away near the side of what was then called the 6th Sideroad or Freer Road, now known as Plowing Match Road, between Churchill Line and Lasalle Line in Lambton County.

Details have become clear as part of an extensive investigation, including that visibility would have been poor that night, contributing to the possibility that Karen may have been unintentionally hit by a vehicle while walking close to the roadway.

“The OPP understands and sympathizes with families who have lived with the tragic loss of a loved one,” said Detective-Inspector Chris Avery, commander of the Lambton County OPP detachment. “We know people know what happened to Karen and strongly urge them to come forward. The family deserves the resolution we have been seeking.”

Anyone with new information on the Karen CAUGHLIN case may call Lambton County OPP at (519) 882-1011. If a caller prefers to remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/.

Karen CAUGHLIN was a resident of the City of Sarnia, the second youngest of six children. Photos of Karen (and family/friends) and the area where she was recovered can be found here (www.opp.ca/media/caughlin ).

Karen and a friend were at the Rose Gardens roller skating rink from approximately 7:45 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on March 15th, 1974. During this time, Karen arranged to stay the night at another girlfriend’s house, very close to her own home on Brock Street South. She was expected to arrive before 1:00 a.m. The girls left Rose Gardens and accepted a ride with other friends. At 12:50 a.m., the friends dropped off Karen alone at a second girlfriend’s home and drove away. Police want to hear from or about anyone who may have discussed attending or hosting a social gathering in Petrolia after going to the Rose Gardens roller skating rink, perhaps the day before Karen was last seen alive. The OPP also wants to hear from anyone with information about a motor vehicle collision in the Petrolia area or damage sustained by a motor vehicle, around that time. Someone may have observed damage to a vehicle, or not noticed damage to their own vehicle at the time.

A $50,000.00 reward for information on Karen’s death remains in effect.

To help determine what happened to Karen CAUGHLIN, this seven-minute, case chronology video has been viewed more than 22,600 times since 2014 and remains available on the official OPP YouTube channel.

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