Girl's Alleged Killer Arrested 43 Years Later

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, may have more victims, say police
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2021 9:35 AM CST
Girl's Alleged Killer Arrested 43 Years Later
This Nov. 5, 1979, image provided by the San Francisco Police Department shows the Hopewell Township, N.J., booking photos of Mark Stanley Personette.   (Hopewell Township, N.J., Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – A man was arrested in Colorado on suspicion of killing a teenage girl in San Francisco more than four decades ago—and detectives say he may be a suspect in other unsolved homicides, per the AP. Mark Stanley Personette, 76, was arrested in suburban Denver last week following a joint operation by San Francisco police, the FBI, and the Jefferson County Sheriff's office. He was booked for investigation of homicide in connection with the 1978 death of Marissa Harvey. The 15-year-old New York girl was visiting family in San Francisco when she didn't return from a day trip to Golden Gate Park. Her body was found a day later, in nearby Sutro Heights Park.

The San Francisco Police Department said in a statement that investigators used the best available technology at the time and exhausted every lead, but the case went cold. In October 2020, they reopened the investigation and determined Personette to be a suspect using “advanced investigative methods,” the statement said without specifying the methods. Police released booking photos of Personette taken over several decades, including a 1979 arrest in Basking Ridge, NJ, and urged law enforcement agencies nationwide to review their unsolved sexual assault-related homicides involving young women to determine if there is a connection to Personette. Information about his criminal history was not released. SF Gate has more on Marissa, including that she was visiting her newfound biological sister when she was murdered.

(Read more cold cases stories.)

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