Haunting connection to murder case


Murdered Sarnia teen Karen Caughlin disappeared from the same street where I grew up. In fact she was last seen just across the road from where I lived on Brock St. S.
OPP brought the case forward again this month on the 41st anniversary of her disappearance.
In the early morning hours of March 16, 1974, I would have been sleeping soundly in my bed when the 14-year-old was taken and murdered.
My second-floor bedroom window looked down on that side of the street and the house where she was dropped off by friends just before 1 a.m. was visible from my vantage point. It was the home of two girls who used to babysit my brother and I. Their family was expecting her.
I often looked out my bedroom window onto the street below, but not that night. At least not that I remember. I was too young and have no memory of what happened at the time. It was only as I grew older that I learned about Karen’s murder and disappearance.
Karen lived farther up on Brock Street. I walked by her house often through the years.
OPP Det.-Insp. Chris Avery talks about the case in a seven-minute video that was created last year and released again this year with the hope the information revealed may lead to some tips. Apparently it has, with police saying the video generated new information.
Karen’s body was found on Plowing Match Road near Petrolia, nine hours after she was last seen.
My mother remembers learning the terrible news.
Like other parents in the neighbourhood, she became hyper-alert.
Was a killer lurking?
She says the police never came to talk our family to see if anyone might have seen something that night.
Whenever I think about this case, I remember a man who walked along Brock Street when kids would be coming home from school. There were a lot of children in our neighbourhood.
He would invite kids into his house. I don’t know where he lived, but it must have been nearby as I saw him frequently. Nobody ever took him up on the offer that I know.
The man had a sly smile on his face that was always present. I used to think how fake he seemed. I wondered why he never talked to adults.
I was afraid of him. Even as a child I knew to avoid him because of the unequivocal negative reaction I experienced whenever I saw him.
I pointed him out to my mother one day when I spotted him in a grocery store. She took one look and told me to stay far away from him.
There may be no connection to the Caughlin case, but he was a sinister presence in my neighbourhood. Certainly the kids who lived along Brock Street would often see this stranger walking by whenever there were a lot of children present.
A few years after the tragedy, my father was offered a teaching position at the high school in Petrolia and we moved out to the county.
That re-location gave me cause to drive by Plowing Match Road many times. I don’t know the spot where Karen’s body was found. I don’t want to know.
It sparks some fear in me, all these years later and it’s a case I feel connected to. As time passes, I still think about the Caughlin family.
I can understand their sorrow more now than when I was a child. I also have a 14-year-old of my own.
He loves to hang out with his friends and longs for independence. Are my decisions about what I allow him to do clouded by Karen’s fate?
The face of a beautiful young girl who disappeared on the street below where I slept peacefully can’t be forgotten.

Don Cherry promotes organ donation

The London Knights are raising awareness about organ donation with the help of Don Cherry.

Cherry will be at the Knights game Thursday against Kitchener.

He will be involved in the opening ceremony. The Kidney Foundation of Canada will also be on hand.

Cherry has been involved in donor awareness for some time. His daughter donated a kidney to his son, who had kidney failure, in the 1970s.

A couple of years ago, he donated a beloved vehicle to the kidney foundation which resells and recycles used vehicles.

There are more ways than ever to let your wishes be known about organ donation.

Yesterday I installed the latest operating system on my iPhone. It automatically included a health app. On that app, which allows emergency personnel to see any medical conditions or allergies you have in an emergency, you can click a box if you wish to donate organs.

For more information about Cherry’s big night in London, here is a link:


Music uplifts, inspires and transcends time


After 20 years of waiting to see country superstar Garth Brooks perform, I get my chance tonight.

Known as a superlative entertainer, Brooks was able to generate enough interest to hold six concerts in Detroit!

His energy, sincerity and love of entertaining have people scrambling to get tickets wherever he plays.

At last Saturday night’s concert – which was a rare 10:30 start due to the fact he played a concert earlier that evening – he was on stage until 2 a.m.

Twitter has been buzzing about his concerts all week.

The song that really shot Brooks to fame was his 1990s hit Friends in Low Places.

For me and my friends, that was a time in our lives in which we were bustling to get ahead in life.

Friends in Low Places became an anthem for a generation studying hard, then trying to find a job in a recession. There was post-secondary education and bills. Trying to figure out what you wanted to do and who you wanted to be.

We didn’t have a lot of clout or influence and Brooks nailed our feelings with this single.

One of my baseball teammates loves the song Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen, which is about the singer’s friend who was an amazing ball player. She says it makes her get all “tingly” whenever she hears it.

Music has a way of evoking strong memories that transcend time: That dance with your boyfriend; the trip to Florida; your first car with a radio that blasted the tunes.

Love to hear about a song that awakens a memory for you that will never fade.



Retweet – favourite – reply – click a link …. help get me out of Twitterverse


I was without my cell phone for five and a half days.

I have to say it was a good experience.  It didn’t ring at inappropriate times. I didn’t have to worry about setting it down somewhere and forgetting where I put it. I wasn’t constantly bombarded with emails.

But best of all. I wasn’t wasting endless hours on Twitter.

I like Twitter and I’ll be sending this blog to the Twitterverse.

But once I check in, I can’t get out.

I click on this link and that link. Look at somebody’s photo. Retweet. Favourite. Look at my notifications. Constantly check out stats from Islanders’ games as the games are rarely on TV so it’s how I get up to the minute info on what’s happening. I look at what’s trending. Get lost in a whole debate on a trending issue.

In short, you can only say so much on Twitter, but I spend long stretches sucked in to its vortex. Next thing I know, I forgot to eat. Forgot my to-do list. Forgot to sleep. Do I have kids?

I have my phone back now, but no life.

Request to save tabs off cans

I received an interesting call on the CTV London tip line this past weekend.

The voice on the other end was deep and a bit hoarse.

The man identified himself as an alcoholic.

He said he makes many trips to the beer store and saves the tabs on the cans to help a six-year-old boy get a wheelchair.

He wanted me to publicize this in the hope that others would save their can tabs, including from pop.

We save the tabs in our house. My children’s school collects the tabs to help another boy, 17-year-old Christian. He has cerebral palsy and the tabs go toward helping him get a wheelchair.

There is a photo of Christian in the school and a place to drop off your tabs. Many schools are doing this. We were at St. Anne’s school in St. Thomas yesterday and we saw the same photo of Christian.

Here’s more information about the program from the March of Dimes.


So I am making people aware of this project. While it won’t make the 6 o’clock news, I have spread the word for the man who called.

Can Brooklyn ever match Long Island and Nassau Coliseum?

New York Islanders are getting a new arena, but can it ever be as special as Nassau Coliseum?

Fans will miss the culture around in and around arena before games. And like postal workers …. there was nothing the weather could throw at them that would keep them away.

And it’s the place where the Islanders won 4 Stanley Cups. You can’t replace that.

Here’s more:


Although I’ve seen my beloved Isles play, never at Nassau. :(

The end of a tragic case

Adelaide home

The case of a young man killed after being stabbed on the porch of this Adelaide Street home in May 2012, finally made its way through the courts Tuesday.

Perry Eggett Jr. pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He was charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Jared McKnight, 19.

This is a case I followed as I came upon the scene on that last day of May, almost three years ago.

I broke the news that Eggett was charged.

I talked to people at the scene, took photos and heard when a text came in that Jared had died in the hospital, shortly after arriving there.

As I waited, a police officer talked to Eggett’s father, also named Perry Eggett. He was originally arrested. The police officer told him that happened because he has the same name as his son and that’s how I discovered the perpetrator as I had earlier interviewed Perry Eggett Sr. and he had given me his name.

Jared’s mother has left comments on this blog about the case. She told me that Jared’s father’s health deteriorated after his son’s death. He would die of cancer and not live to see the end result.

Two months after the death, a tribute continued on the lawn of the home Jared shared with his father and brother on Adelaide, a few doors down from where the stabbing occurred. Jared had stumbled to his home and collapsed before being taken away by ambulance. (As if the house is now cursed, a couple of months ago, it was also the scene of another fatal stabbing).

I saw a man, perhaps Jared’s father, tending to the flowers and stuffed animals. It was heartbreaking.

Here is that blog post:


Jared’s mother has counted the months and days since her son died.

This is what she wrote on Facebook after the guilty plea to a reduced charge: “What little faith I have held on to for the last 971 days, or 2 years, 7 months and 26 days in the Canadian justice system has pretty much gone out the window.”

The court heard that Eggett thought Jared had fired a BB gun at his cousin and that is why he stabbed him. Apparently, it was Jared’s younger brother who did that after a dispute over money.

Eggett had also been drinking heavily.

A case of mistaken identity that turned fatal.

I continue to think about this family and the life cut short.

adelaide street