Real Name: Karen D. Walters-Cepulonis
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: September 1987
Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female
Details: Karen Walters is a former special education teacher and the wife of Richard Cepulonis, a convicted bank robber. Cepulonis and two accomplices robbed a Woburn, Massachusetts bank on August 9, 1973. One of the robbers threatened to kill the bank manager because he couldn't open the safe. He then threatened to kill any cops outside. The robbers made off with $17,000 in cash. An unmarked police car arrived seconds later and soon was in pursuit with the robbers. It soon became a high speed chase; one of the robbers fired at the officer and the officer fired back. In order to escape, one of the robbers shot and injured a sixty-year-old woman as a diversion. Two months later, they were arrested in New York City; Cepulonis was convicted of armed robbery and assault and was given a 58 to 82 year sentence.
Cepulonis became a model prisoner. In 1977, he met Karen, a student from William Patterson College, when she was writing to him for a project. She began to visit him at Walpol State Prison and the two apparently fell in love. However, some officers believed that Cepulonis was just using Karen. Since he was in prison, he had nothing else to focus his attention on, other than Karen. By 1980, Karen became an elementary school teacher with special education students. Around that time, Cepulonis earned a college degree.
The two married on January 13, 1985. Two years later, Cepulonis was transferred to a minimum security prison. Karen could visit unsupervised whenever she wanted. The couple was later caught having sex on the prison grounds. As a result, she was indefinitely barred from being on the prison grounds. Three weeks later, in September of 1987, he walked off the prison grounds and met with Karen; the two then escaped. They have not been seen since.
Suspects: Richard Cepulonis
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the March 15, 1996 episode.
The case was also featured in a comic book based off the show Quantum Leap, where the protagonist Sam has jumped into the body of Karen Walters and learns that he is there to rectify history, as the story says Walters was duped and Sam's mission is to get her not to aid fugitives.
Results: Solved. In late September of 1996, a viewer recognized Karen's photograph after he did business with the couple. A task force that included local police and FBI staked out the house and on October 1, Cepulonis left the house and drove to a convenience store, where he was arrested in the parking lot; Karen was arrested just twenty minutes later. For over eight years, they had fooled their neighbors.
Authorities found a bag of face masks and other equipment used in robberies made them suspect that Cepulonis was still robbing banks. Karen and Richard were extradited back to Massachusetts. Cepulonis was returned to prison to finish the rest of his sentence. Walters served several months in prison and has since been released. Cepulonis has also since been released.
- 9-year fugitive is captured in St. Paul; Viewer saw the Massachusetts escapee on TV show
- Karen Walters on Unsolved Archive
- Karen Walters Update on Unsolved Archive