A commercial fisherman from Pennsylvania has been accused of killing his wife of nearly 26 years during a boating trip on Lake Erie last month, ABC News reports.
Christopher Leclair, 48, faces a charge of criminal homicide in what prosecutors say is the presumed death of his wife, Karen.
The charge comes after Leclair gave information to police that didn’t add up.
He had claimed that he and his wife were aboard his 52-foot boat on June 11 when she got an upset stomach and sat on a bucket near the side of the craft.
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Leclair told authorities that when he looked over to check on her 15 minutes later, she was missing. He assumed she fell overboard into Lake Erie and then called the Coast Guard.
But investigators later reviewed surveillance video from a port that showed Leclair getting on his boat alone the day he said his wife disappeared. Importantly, footage from the day before showed Leclair getting into the boat along with his wife, but returning just by himself hours later.
While the wife’s body has not been found — investigators think Leclair might have weighted it down — police have identified a possible motive.
Leclair had been having an affair with another woman, and he had mentioned to her that he had a $30,000 life insurance policy on the wife. On the morning of June 11, the day Leclair claimed his wife went missing, Leclair talked with his girlfriend about her moving into his house, according to statements she made to police.
The girlfriend also contradicted Leclair’s timeline of events. Leclair had claimed he spent the night of June 10 with his wife — supposedly the evening before the couple’s boating trip — but the girlfriend told authorities she was with Leclair on the night of June 10 and into June 11.
The U.S. Coast Guard spent 30 hours searching 1,400 square miles for Leclair’s wife, which cost upwards of $600,000.
Bruce Sandmeyer, Leclair’s lawyer, has said his client “is continuing to assert his innocence.”
Leclair, who is in jail, has a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 31, at which time prosecutors must prove there is sufficient evidence to go to trial.
[Feature Photo: Police Handout]