Karr's return to the U.S. took him from clinking his champagne glass during a 15-hour flight over the Pacific to a high-security jail where he was awaiting a transfer to face charges in JonBenet Ramsey's murder. Once Karr arrives in Boulder, the district attorney has 72 hours to file charges, CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports.
Los Angeles police detained Karr on a warrant from Boulder County, Colorado, after he arrived in California from Bangkok, Thailand, and turned him over to the county Sheriff's Department late Sunday, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.
A helicopter brought him from the airport to the sheriff's Twin Towers jail shortly before midnight in a sobering end to a day that began in Bangkok and included champagne and fine dining aboard a Thai Airways flight.
"He is going to be housed here in the men's jail, kept in isolation in a 6-by-9-foot room with a bed, a toilet no windows and no phones," Whitmore said. "He'll get regular food. He'll get jail chow, he won't get king crab, I'll tell you that."
Karr was to be held in a "high power" cell for noteworthy inmates, checked by guards every 15 minutes, and separated from other inmates who often target suspected child molesters, sheriff's officials said.
Even before the trip began, another strange detail emerged of Karr's life in Bangkok. According to published reports, the schoolteacher visited a clinic that specialized in sex change operations.
His sexuality was the subject of a testy exchange with journalism professor Michael Tracey, reports Cobiella. In an e-mail, Tracey writes, "You told me once your mother tended to raise you as a girl." Karr writes back, "Michael, I will not discuss my sexuality as if it is a psychological disorder."
Boulder County authorities said Karr was expected to have an extradition hearing in Los Angeles within days, and would be taken to Colorado if he waived extradition. No hearing date was immediately set.
Karr, who last week suddenly emerged as a suspect in a case long believed to have gone cold, told reporters in Thailand that he was with 6-year-old JonBenet when she died in the basement of her home on Dec. 26, 1996, but that her death was an accident.
Cobiella reports that sources said Karr knows too much about the Ramsey house to be lying, details the public couldn't know.
Freelance journalist Mike Sandrock met him, by chance, in Paris four years ago, told Cobiella that Karr knew more about the case than reporters at the hometown paper in Boulder.
"I had an inkling that somehow he was involved in the case and it was just too much. And, like I said, i don't know if he did it, but there's definitely some kind of connection there."
U.S. officials have been silent about what Karr told them during interrogations.
The 41-year-old school teacher's return to the United States was voluntary, and he was not handcuffed before or during the 15-hour flight.
"He wasn't extradited, he was deported and they escorted him to the plane and he's not under arrest," former Boulder district attorney Trip Demuth said on CBS News' The Early Show. "That's why he doesn't have cuffs on. He's free to drink alcohol until he gets to the United States."
Some legal observers say his royal treatment on the plane may be part of a strategy to get him to open up more to investigators.
"It is speculation but it has happened before," Demuth said, "and useful information has come out and it could have occurred."
Aboard the jet he took a window seat next to Mark Spray, an investigator with the Boulder County district attorney's office. The escort also included a U.S. Embassy official and an agent with "Homeland Security" on his shirt.
Before takeoff, Karr took a glass of champagne from a flight attendant and clinked glasses with Spray, who sipped orange juice.
Karr first dined on pate, salad, fried king prawn, steamed rice, broccoli and chocolate cake. He also had a beer — crushing the empty can with his hands — and then had a glass of French chardonnay.
Karr appeared to order the drinks himself.
He later dined on roast duck with soy sauce and yellow noodles, and for his third meal had pizza, chocolates and a bottle of Evian.
He sometimes conversed with Spray, who took notes on some of the remarks. Karr told an AP reporter that it was "small talk."
Also during the flight, Karr flipped through movie channels, watched "The Last Samurai," dozed and made several trips to the restroom accompanied by two guards. Each time the door was left slightly ajar.
At one point he changed out of the red shirt and tie, replacing them with a blue polo, but then changed back into the shirt and tie before the landing.
Word spread quickly among fellow passengers that the suspected killer was on their flight.
"I don't want a killer on my flight," said one woman.
Most of the passengers spent the flight sleeping, but those sitting close to Karr were treated to a surreal scene of him sipping champagne while photographers snapped his picture and reporters took notes.
"He was treated like a real VIP," said Sanjay Chowdhruy of New Delhi, India, who sat about 10 seats behind Karr.
Karr, once detained on charges of possessing child pornography, in recent years apparently traveled to Europe, Central America and Asia to search for teaching jobs. He taught in at least two Thai schools.
Mike Sandrock, a columnist for the Boulder Daily Camera, met Karr in Paris four years ago where Karr brought up JonBenet's murder.
"I said some people think the parents did it and some people think an intruder did it, and he just kind of smiled at that," Sandrock said.
"He knew an immense amount of details about the case," Sandrock told The Early Show. "I always had the feeling that he had a lot more to say. He had some sort of a secret that he wanted to reveal."
"I wouldn't be surprised if he did it, but on the other hand I also wouldn't be surprised if he didn't do it," said Sandrock.