Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Karen Walters

Real Name: Karen D. Walters-Cepulonis
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Date: September 1987


Occupation: Teacher
Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Height: Unrevealed
Weight: 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. He and two accomplices robbed a Woburn, Massachusetts bank on August 9, 1973. One of them threatened to kill the 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 them. It soon became a high speed chase; one of them fired at the officer and he fired back. In order to escape, one of them 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 they apparently fell in love. However, some officers believed that he was just using her. Since he was in prison, he had nothing else to focus his attention on, other than her. By 1980, she became an elementary school teacher with special education students. Around that time, Cepulonis earned a college degree.
They married on January 13, 1985. Two years later, Cepulonis was transferred to a minimum security prison. Karen could visit unsupervised whenever she wanted. They were later caught having sex on the prison grounds. As a result, she was indefinitely barred from being on there. Three weeks later, in September 1987, he walked off there and met with her; they then escaped. They have not been seen since.
Suspects: Richard Cepulonis
Extra Notes: This case first aired of the March 15, 1996 episode. It was also featured in a comic book based off the show Quantum Leap, where the protagonist, Sam, has jumped into Karen's body and learns that he is there to rectify history, as the story says she was duped and his mission is to get her not to aid fugitives.

Karen after her 1996 arrest

Results: Solved. In late September 1996, a viewer recognized Karen's photograph after he did business with her and Cepulonis. A task force that included local police and the FBI staked out the house and on October 1, Cepulonis left it 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. He and Karen were extradited back to Massachusetts. He was returned to prison to finish the rest of his sentence. She served several months in prison and has since been released. He has also since been released. They are still married.