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Woman's body found in NY may be slain Pennsylvania woman

Woman's body found in NY may be slain Pennsylvania woman

Police and a prosecutor from Pennsylvania will attend the autopsy of a woman found along the New York shoreline of Lake Erie to determine whether the body is that of a suspected homicide victim.

Authorities want to know if the body to be autopsied Wednesday by the Chautauqua County, New York, coroner is that of 51-year-old Karen Leclair. The body was found in the lake by a fisherman Tuesday afternoon about 2 miles from near Dunkirk, New York, said Lt. Wayne Kline, of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Dunkirk is about 50 miles northeast of Erie, Pennsylvania, along the lake's southern shoreline.

The woman from Albion, Pennsylvania, was reported missing June 11 by her husband, commercial fisherman Christopher Leclair, 48. Leclair told police and the Coast Guard that day that Karen Leclair had a queasy stomach and was sitting on a bucket on the edge of the boat when she apparently fell overboard while he wasn't looking.

Authorities in Erie County, Pennsylvania, charged Leclair with criminal homicide because dock surveillance cameras in Erie show Leclair and his wife left together on June 10, the day before he reported her missing, and that he returned alone. The cameras also show Christopher got on the boat alone June 11 and returned alone, according to a criminal complaint.

Although authorities have charged Leclair with killing his wife, they haven't said specifically how they believe that occurred.

Defense attorney Bruce Sandmeyer told The Associated Press last week that Leclair "maintains his innocence" though he declined to address the discrepancy between his client's police statement and the dock surveillance video.

"At this time, until there's some sort of official result, there's no change," Sandmeyer said when asked to comment Wednesday on the pending autopsy.

Erie District Attorney Jack Daneri didn't immediately return a call for comment Wednesday but has told the Erie Times-News that a prosecutor from his office also will attend the autopsy in Buffalo.

Kline said Pennsylvania forensic investigators will attend the autopsy and police are hoping to be able to determine whether the body found is that of Karen Leclair later Wednesday.

Updated : 2021-10-18 23:15 GMT+08:00