Romulus, N.Y. -- Karl H. Karlsen, from Romulus, was arrested for second degree murder after police led an investigation into the death of his son, Levi, who died in 2008.
Police say on November 20, 2008, Levi was pronounced dead at Geneva General Hospital after Karlsen found him pinned underneath a vehicle he had been working on earlier in the day.
Karlsen and his wife had been at a family event for four hours that day. Karlsen said when he got home, that is when he found his son and told his wife, Levi's stepmom, to call police, according to authorities.
Police reopened the investigation in March 2012 when they developed new information on Levi's death. Sheriff Stenberg, Seneca County Sheriff, said they discovered that Karlsen had taken out a substantial life insurance policy on Levi days before his death, naming Karl the sole beneficiary.
Sheriff Stenberg says "To think a father could cause a vehicle to fall off a jack crushing his son and then leave for four hours knowing all the time that his son was pinned under the truck apparently dead is unconscionable."
The eight-month long investigation led to the arrest of Karl Karlsen on Friday, November 23.
The news was hard to accept for those who knew Karlsen and his family.
"That's insane. No way. No, I would never believe that in a million years," said Romulus resident Terry Steinruck.
"I wouldn’t believe that, seems outrageous to me," resident Ernie Wyatt said.
Police say they are also looking into the circumstances of a fire from 1991 in California, which claimed the life of Karlsen's first wife.
According The Post-Standard of Syracuse, Christina Karlsen's father, Art Alexander, remained suspicious after a house fire killed his daughter.
Karl Karlsen said he was in the garage at the time and managed to save his three children, including Levi, who was 5 at the time, but could not save his wife.
Alexander told The Post-Standard Karlsen used the $200,000 in insurance money to buy the family farm in Romulus.
The newspaper says Alexander suspected Karlsen after the fire, but claims he kept his feelings to himself for fear of losing contact with his grandchildren.
"Just to keep it bottled up—it was the hardest thing I ever did in my life," he told the newspaper.
Karlsen was arraigned before Town Justice Brian Laird in Seneca Falls. He was committed to Seneca County Jail without bail. The investigation is continuing.