Maine man arrested in cold-case slaying of 11-year-old girl

Kathleen Flynn was found dead near her school in 1986

Man arrested in 1986 killing of 11-year-old girl

BANGOR, Maine (WABI/Gray News) - A Stetson, Maine, man accused of the 1986 kidnapping and slaying of an 11-year-old girl in Connecticut was in a Bangor courtroom on Friday, WABI reported.

Kathleen Flynn’s death is one of Connecticut’s most infamous cold cases.

According to court documents, 53-year-old Marc Karun was a suspect from the start, but it took years of testing evidence to find a DNA connection between him and evidence found on the young girl’s body.

In September of 2017, Connecticut police did a Google search and found Karun to be living in Maine.

On Wednesday, he was arrested on a fugitive from justice warrant. Connecticut authorities plan to extradite him back to their state, where he will face charges of murder and kidnapping. While he is also suspected of sexually assaulting Kathleen before killing her, the statute of limitations has run out on that crime and charges can no longer be pursued.

A 55-page police affidavit details the scene where the sixth-grader’s body was found - a wooded area between her middle school’s athletic fields and the paved path she used to walk home each day.

Kathleen’s mother called police less than two hours after she expected her daughter to be home on Sept. 23, 1986. Kathleen’s body was discovered early the next morning by police during a concentrated search of the area around the school.

Her body was covered with dead foliage, and a large rock had been placed on her chest in an effort to conceal it, police said.

She was found wearing only a black t-shirt. Her socks and shoes had been found before the discovery of her body. Some other items would be found in later searches.

The medical examiner determined the young girl's wrists had been tied, she was strangled from behind, and that she was alive at the time she was raped. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The ligature used by the person who committed the crimes against the young girl was never found.

In the days immediately following Kathleen's death, police received many tips, including one from a woman who reported seeing a car near the school that day. That vehicle was similar in description to one police knew Karun was driving at the time.

Authorities were familiar with Karun because he had been charged with the sexual assault of an 18-year-old woman just eight months before Kathleen’s death. Karun had used electrical wire to tie that woman’s wrists.

On Oct. 9, 1986, they interviewed Karun for the first time about Kathleen’s death at the home where he lived with his parents, less than two miles from Kathleen’s school.

During that interview, police say Karun told them he had not been at the school the day of the girl’s murder, but that he was there the afternoon of Sept. 19 to see some teachers and claimed that he had spoken to a librarian. He denied knowing Kathleen when police asked him about her.

Police later found that none of the librarians recognized Karun and denied having spoken to a man fitting his description.

Evidence recovered from the scene where Kathleen’s body was found would be tested by crime scene lab technicians for years, beginning with microscopic comparisons and evolving as technology improved over the decades that would follow. Much of that testing was found to be inconclusive, and evidence became unusable after multiple testing attempts.

In 2017, after finding Karun to be living in Maine, investigators worked with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office and collected swabs of his DNA. He was told at the time that the police were looking at a kidnapping case. Police did not mention the homicide case.

The forensic report from those tests notes that “due to a contamination in a control sample,” the results could not be determined to be conclusive.

Connecticut investigators have noted over the years the similarities between the four separate cases of kidnapping and sexual assault for which Karun was convicted. They say the methods he used in those cases “exhibit a similar geographical profile, modus operandi and rituals to the Kathleen Flynn homicide in some form.”

Karun is being held at Penobscot County Jail until the terms of his extradition are determined.

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