23-year-old Levi Karlsen killed at family farm: Part 1

Karl Karlsen and his wife, Cindy, went to a funeral while his son Levi was working at their New York farm. When they returned, Cindy said they found him crushed under the truck he had been fixing.
7:40 | 06/06/20

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Transcript for 23-year-old Levi Karlsen killed at family farm: Part 1
Katie, look at grandma. What's grandma Arlene doing? Hi, Katie! My name is Erin Deroche, My name is Katie Reynolds. And Karl Karlsen is my father. It does seem surreal sometimes that this is my life. Does this much bad stuff happen to normal people? He lies, and he's able to manipulate people very easy. That's who he's always been, so for me, I saw the monster more than the man. This is a story that has really taken years to unfold. I began covering it seven years ago in upstate New York, but really no one could have imagined, no one could have predicted how this would end up. So, we're headed where, right now? 885 Yale farm road, which is the Karlsen residence. And the family is quite connected in the community, right? They're a well known family. They've been here for generations. My grandfather settled right here. We're a large family. Karl is my brother. Karl had five brothers and a sister, almost all of whom remain in the area. His father was a highway official in that county for almost 50 years. His brother was a town counselor. Definitely a family that has a lot of connections. The Karlsen family name has always been a very reputable name in Seneca county. Seneca county, sits between two of the beautiful finger Lakes, Seneca and cayuga. Pretty much smack dab in the middle of the finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We're between the cities of Rochester and Syracuse. The village of Seneca falls is known for "It's a wonderful life." The current belief is that Seneca falls was the model of the village of Bedford falls in "It's a wonderful life." Yay! Hello Bedford! When I met Karl in November of 1992, he was a single dad to his three children. Karlsen's first wife, Christina was 30 years old when she died in a tragic fire just years before he would meet his second wife, Cindy Karlsen. He seemed like he was a hands-on dad. The youngest, Katie, adored her father. Erin and Levi seemed like they had a special bond. Levi was amazing. He was so creative. He was very smart, but he had a learning disability, so when it came to bringing home good grades, he couldn't because of the disability. Levi had a difficult life growing up. Levi's life was everything that you wouldn't want your kid to grow up with. He went through a rebellious time in his teenage years. And, um, him and his father seemed to clash. As he got older, he got into more of the metal music, and he kind of changed his appearance a little bit, but deep down, he was always still that same goofy kid. He married early. Had two young daughters. The marriage didn't pan out. Levi kind of pulled his life together. He was a good young man. He wanted to make better of his life. On November 20, 2008, 911 received a frantic call from Cindy Karlsen. 911. What's the location of your emergency? Yes, I live at 885 Yale farm road. Okay. I think I need an ambulance. Levi had come to the home of Cindy and Karl Karlsen at the request of Karl. Karl told me that Levi was going to come out to work on an old farm truck that we had that our plan was that we needed to attend by aunt's funeral. While Levi is in the garage working under that farm truck, Karl and Cindy are getting ready and dressed to go to a funeral. I went and got in the passenger seat of the car, and Karl had told me that, I'm just going to go out and let Levi know that we're leaving. It was just a minute or two. And then Karl came and got in the car. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He and Cindy leave to go to a funeral down in Penn Yan, New York. We were gone for, um, four hours. They return home. Cindy first notices Levi's car still parked in their driveway. She's kind of concerned. I went in the house and Karl came up to the window in the door and started banging and saying, call 911. Levi is dead. Ma'am? What's going on? The truck fell on my step-son. The truck fell on your stepson? We just got home, and I don't think he's alive. You don't think he's alive? No. My husband's lifting up the truck. Cindy's basically taking information she got from her husband Karl and is relaying it to the 911 dispatcher. They want to start cpr. Do you know cpr? His chest is crushed! His chest is crushed. His chest is crushed? There's no -- he's probably been under there for hours. Oh, my god. This is awful. Karl had pulled Levi out from underneath the truck, and you could see the indentation on his, um, chest. The truck was jacked up by a single railroad type jack. This is the kind of jack that police found? That's similar. Similar. It's a railroad jack. And you make for a very weak foundation. The higher it gets the weaker it gets. I'll never forget -- the team, we all went to this local junkyard to try to find a similar old farm truck, the weight of it, just to see what it would be like propped up on a single railroad jack. Could you go under this pickup? I would never go under a truck. I don't like going underneath trucks when they're sitting all four tires on the ground. So you've got it jacked up here with a railroad jack. Look at that wobbling. It's just moving. That's crazy. It really is. Time to get clear of that -- You wouldn't stand a chance. You're gone. I mean, you're gone. The ambulance was there. They were just pulling Levi out of the barn and putting him into the ambulance. When police arrive, what were the parents like? Very distraught, very upset. Crying. You know, grief stricken. I remember the sheriffs trying to console Karl because he was so distraught. Levi was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Levi's 23 years old at the time of his death. At first it would appear to be anything out of the ordinary. No, it appeared to be an accident. I get a call from my niece that my nephew has died. I knew as soon as I heard that Levi was gone, that he had done it. I knew with every fiber of my being. I said, I have no idea what he stands to gain from this. But it begs the question, could a father kill his own son?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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