Arrest in Watson case imminent

Published 10:17 am Monday, October 13, 2008

Police are waiting for word to arrest Gabe Watson for the alleged murder of his wife during a honeymoon diving expedition on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Detective Sergeant Brad Flynn said Thursday the department is waiting to be greenlighted by Queensland, Australia police to take Watson into custody.

“We’re sitting on ‘go’ and as soon as they get the paperwork together we’ll do whatever we need to do,” Flynn said.

Flynn said Queensland authorities will forward the papers through INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, to the U.S. Department of Justice. From the justice department, the papers will go to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Birmingham. Helena Police, with the assistance of U.S. Marshals, will then issue an arrest warrant for Watson and extradite him back to Australia.

Watson and his 26-year-old wife, Christina, were married Oct. 11, 2003, and honeymooned in Australia. Eleven days after the wedding, the newlyweds were on a group dive off the northeastern city of Townsville, Austraila when Christina drowned.

In his inquest findings, Queensland state coroner David Glasgow ruled in June that Watson should stand trial for the murder of his wife.

Glasgow concluded there was no obvious medical cause for Christina’s death, and that her diving equipment was not defective.

In videotaped statements to police, Watson, who was a certified rescue diver, said Christina, a novice diver, panicked and blacked out.

According to police, Watson later changed his story, saying Christina was trapped in a current.

Since Watson’s return to Alabama, Helena Police have kept him under watch.

Flynn would not disclose details of Watson’s surveillance.