‘Time goes on but our heart still aches’

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Karen Caughlin

Caughlin family marks 50 years since Karen was killed

The family of Karen Caughlin are marking a grim day – 50 years since their sister was killed; 50 years without knowing who killed her.

On March 16, 1974, the 14 year-old Sarnia girl went roller skating with friends at the Rose Gardens. She never returned home.

Her battered body was discovered the following morning on Plowing Match Road between Churchill Line and Lasalle Line north of Petrolia. No one has ever been arrested.

For years, family members begged for the OPP to find the person who killed their sister, however police didn’t make any headway on Caughlin’s death.

For 43 years, Lambton OPP said Caughlin had been murdered.

Then, in 2017, the OPP said new information revealed that Karen’s injuries were consistent with being struck by a motor vehicle. Police said during a news conference they believed Caughlin had been struck by a car on Oil Heritage Road near Lasalle Line – her purse was found nearby – and then was then moved to where her body was found. Police said at the time it was not clear whether the teen would have still been alive when she was moved.

OPP in 1974 on Plowing Match Road where Karen Caughlin’s body was found. OPP Image

Family members to this day say Karen’s death was murder. In a social media post Saturday, Caughlin’s sister, Kathy, said “Today marks the painful 50th anniversary without you Karen. When a lonely country road became a grave site, and the road still holds the dark secrets of your murder.

Caughlin added “time goes on but our hearts still ache, and the tears still flow…Still loved, still missed in every way.”

Lambton OPP also issued a news release on the 50th anniversary of Karen Caughlin’s death saying they continue to investigate and follow up on tips. “Police want to hear from or about anyone who may have discussed attending or hosting a social gathering in Petrolia after going to the Rose Gardens roller skating rink, perhaps the day before Karen was last seen alive,” officials said in a news release.

“The OPP also wants to hear from anyone with information about a motor vehicle collision in the Petrolia area, or damage sustained by a motor vehicle around that time. Someone may have observed damage to a vehicle or not noticed damage to their own vehicle at the time.”

There is still a $50,000 reward for information about the teen’s death.