Surveillance video leads to Criminal Homicide charges in missing woman case


A charge of criminal homicide has been placed against the husband of the woman who reportedly fell from a boat Sunday afternoon and has been missing since then.

Christopher Leclair was charged by state police and will be arraigned Wednesday morning.

Leclair told police his wife Karen felt ill while they were boating on Lake Erie Sunday afternoon. He claimed she was sitting on a 5 gallon bucket near the side of the boat and when he looked back, she was gone. A 30 hour search by the US Coast Guard and several agencies failed to locate the woman.

The husband of the Albion woman who allegedly fell into Lake Erie has been charged with homicide.  
Christopher Leclair was picked up by Pennsylvania State Police troopers last night as they executed a search warrant at his home in Albion.  48 year old Christopher Leclair was arraigned around midnight on one count of Criminal Homicide.  He was sent to the Erie County Prison without bond, where he remains this afternoon.
51 year old, Karen Leclair was reported missing Sunday afternoon after Christopher Leclair said she had fallen off their commercial fishing vessel while he wasn’t looking.  The US Coast Guard searched the waters for 30 hours before suspending all further efforts and declaring Karen Leclair deceased.  
State Police say they used surveillance video from the Erie Port Authority that showed the couple boarding the boat Saturday around 12:45pm, and then captures Christopher Leclair returning alone at 4:39pm on Saturday.  Sunday, the day Christopher Leclair claimed Karen had “disappeared” from the boat, the video shows Christopher leaving the dock again around noon by himself from the East Basin.  He called in her disappearance  two hours later.  
Friends say Karen and her husband were out on that boat frequently.  Her friend, Laurie Riddle, said, “she would give you the shirt off her back. She was the sweetest person. It’s just hard to believe that something like this could happen. I’ve been on that boat, and she loved going out on the boat.”
Yesterday, investigators released that Christopher Leclair was having an affair with another Albion woman, and it appeared he had deleted texts in a conversation with the mistress the day after his wife’s disappearance.  A search warrant has been issued for his cell phone.
It is not clear at this point whether the alleged mistress will face charges in this case.  It seems to depend on what those deleted texts may have said.  We will know more this afternoon.  
Pennsylvania State Police are holding a news conference in the next few hours to release further information on what led to Leclair’s arrest and what is next in the investigation.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events Calendar