New case manager in Caughlin murder case bringing local insights, fresh set of eyes to investigationCrime, Lambton County — By JD Booth on July 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm
The newest case manager investigating the murder of Karen Caughlin, which occurred some 38 years ago, says being the first such OPP employee who is from the area may improve the chances of eventually seeing results.
Det. Inspector Chris Avery, who continues to live in the area, told LambtonShield.com that previous case managers were doing a very professional job, following up every lead that occurred. Still, he said having a fresh set of eyes and local insights into the case are important factors.
"I was here when the crime occurred," said Avery. "And I know people in the area, people who may be helpful as we go through various leads in the case."
Avery said his team, which will change in size depending on the need at the time, is actively working on new developments in the case.
LambtonShield.com reported on July 6 that it had learned of the possibility that a suspect in the case may have since died.
Avery would not comment on any specifics of the case and said an unwillingness of the OPP to do so should not be construed to mean no progress is being made.
"We are dealing with new information on the case and we are following through on every lead that comes to us," said Avery.
Avery works on several cases at any given time in his role with the OPP's Criminal Investigations Branch. The number of officers he directs as part of the team will change as circumstances warrant. "If we need more people to deal with the number of leads that are being generated, we will have those resources."
Caughlin, who was murdered in March 1974, was left to die in a shallow ditch on a rural road near Petrolia.
Her family has made no secret of their dissatisfaction with the case. One of those quoted has been Karen's sister Kathy, although attempts by LambtonShield.com to reach her for comment have so far been fruitless.
Reportedly, Kathy Caughlin is organizing a protest that is said to be scheduled for August 18, outside the OPP's Petrolia detachment.
Avery is not directly connected with that detachment.