A Maine man has been taken into custody in connection with the 1986 killing of an 11-year-old Connecticut girl who was raped and strangled as she walked home from her school, police announced Thursday. Maine State Police arrested Marc Karun Wednesday morning as he left his home in Stetson, Maine.
The 53-year-old is being detained as a fugitive from justice and is expected to be charged with murder and kidnapping when he is brought to Connecticut, officials said. The statute of limitations for sexual assault have reportedly expired.
Kathleen Flynn disappeared Sept. 23, 1986 while walking home from Ponus Ridge Middle School in Norwalk, Connecticut. When she didn't make it home at her usual time, her mother, Esther Flynn, went looking for her at the school and surrounding neighborhoods. She failed to find the girl and reported her missing to police, authorities said.
A large search party was formed and found the girl's body early the next morning, more than 100 feet from a path near the school that Kathleen used to walk home most days.
Norwalk police have declined to comment until they hold a press conference sometime next week, reports the Connecticut Post. Karun had been convicted in four separate cases of kidnapping or sexually assaulting females both before and after Flynn's death. Without conclusive DNA evidence, it was the similarities in those crimes that ultimately led to his arrest, according to a Norwalk Police warrant obtained by the paper.
"Several of the cases exhibit a similar geographical profile, modus operandi and rituals to the Kathleen Flynn homicide in some form," Norwalk police Lt. Arthur Weisberger wrote in the warrant.
Details of Karun's arrest were not released. It wasn't clear if he has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.
Public records show he previously lived in several towns in Connecticut, including Norwalk. The Bangor Daily News reports he moved to Maine about six years ago. He is listed on Maine's sex offender registry as having a 1989 conviction for sexual assault in Connecticut.
Norwalk police said two of their officers were in Maine on Wednesday to execute an arrest warrant for Karun but declined to give further details. Officials previously said they were reviewing evidence in the Flynn case using recent advancements in DNA technology.
Norwalk police said they had received numerous tips over the years as the case went unsolved. At one point, a flyer was made showing sketches of three white males with long hair who were seen near the school in a green vehicle with New York plates. But police said it was possible the men weren't involved.
Karun, who lived about two miles from where Flynn's body was found at the time, had reportedly first come across investigators' radar just weeks after the killing because he had a green car. According to the warrant, Karun told investigators he had been at Flynn's middle school four days before the murder, saying he previously attended the school and was visiting teachers and the librarian. No one recalled seeing him at the school that day, the warrant said.
Neighbors in Maine told the Bangor Daily News that they weren't surprised by the arrest and have been disturbed by Karun's bizarre behavior over the years. His next door neighbor told the paper Karun would stand on the side of the road and salute people as they drove by.
Town registrar Catherine Fisher told the paper Karun "made all of us uncomfortable."
"He would come in, and it's almost like he looks right through you," she said. "He didn't know when to leave."
Norwalk police released a statement Thursday by Kathleen's family, who thanked investigators.
"This continues to be a very difficult time for us and we do not wish to many any further comments," the statement said. "We ask the media to please respect our privacy."