Fred Clair: Who Was Caril Ann Fugate’s Husband? How Did He Die?

While there’s no denying ‘The 12th Victim’ offers a new narrative into the infamous case of Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate, it is the insight into the latter’s personal life that makes it work. After all, the 14-year-old was handed down a life term in contrast to her 19-year-old boyfriend’s execution for their roles in the 1958 murder spree, but she has always maintained her innocence. The fact she then got parole in 1976 and managed to rebuild herself, find love, and settle down is thus incredible — so now, let’s find out about her late husband Fred Clair, in particular, shall we?

Who Was Fred Clair?

It was around the mid-2000s when Frederick “Fred” Arthur Clair first came across Caril Ann Fugate in a casino, only to soon fall head over heels in love like they were teenagers all over again. Their goals for companionship were actually similar since he’d lost the mother of his four sons following 45 years of marriage in 2000, whereas she was simply doing her best to lead a quiet life. The truth is she knows her name holds a negative legacy across the world, which is why she’d decided never to bear any kids of her own even though she loves them and accepted her partner’s.

However, the most significant aspect of Fred and Caril’s relationship is that she reportedly never hid who she really was from him, driving him to rather quickly admit he wanted her to be his wife. The couple hence tied the knot in a beautiful yet private ceremony on June 24, 2006, before eventually settling down in Stryker, Ohio, where he served as a machinist as well as a weather observer. He had essentially held the latter position for the National Weather Service since 1964, so it’s no surprise he was honored with the Dick Hagemeyer longevity award around the early 2010s.

“[Caril] loved my father,” Fred’s son, Tommie Caril, once said. “I know that, there’s no doubt about it, and my father loved her and took care of her. They pretty much did everything together.” In the Showtime production, he added, “She had somebody to pamper her and care for her [in my father] because she has never been cared for before… Those were the best years of her life.” This adoration between the couple is also evident in the fact Fred had made all four of his sons promise to look after Caril and treat her with respect if he died first, which he, unfortunately, did in 2013.

Fred Clair Died in a Car Accident

It was late on August 5, 2013, that Fred lost his life in a tragic single-car accident near the village of Tekonsha in Michigan while he and his 11-year younger wife Caril were on their way to a local casino. The 81-year-old was driving a 1997 Ford Explorer north on I-69 at roughly 11:53 pm when he lost control, leaving the vehicle run off the road and roll over before re-entering the highway. He was sadly pronounced dead at the scene, whereas his wife was airlifted to the Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she remained in critical condition for some time.

Image Credit: Rita Zipfel/Find A Grave

Caril’s body was actually crushed from sitting in the passenger’s seat, so her right arm, legs, and ribs were each broken in several places. She thus remained in the hospital for nearly half a year, unable to move her right side or even form a proper sentence, but she did gradually recover to the best of her abilities. Tommie admits in the documentary series that she is now a shell of who she once used to be owing to her grief and loss, yet she’s still fighting to survive like she always has. It’s imperative to clarify Fred’s death was reportedly a complete accident caused by him falling asleep behind the wheel.

Read More: Where is Tommie Clair Now?