Suspect arrested in San Francisco killing, 43 years later

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A man has been arrested in Colorado on suspicion of killing a young girl in San Francisco more than four decades ago, and detectives say he may be a suspect in other unsolved murders.

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, was arrested Thursday after a joint operation by the San Francisco Police Department, the FBI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in suburban Denver, authorities said Sunday. He was booked for murder in connection with the 1978 death of Marissa Harvey.

It is not known if he has an attorney who can speak for him.

The 15-year-old New Yorker was visiting family in San Francisco when she failed to 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 technology available at the time and exhausted every lead, but the case went cold. In October 2020, they reopened the investigation and identified Personette as a suspect using “advanced investigative methods,” the statement said, without specifying the methods.

“For more than four decades, Marissa Harvey’s family members have worked tirelessly to bring their killer to justice, and we hope this development will bring a degree of healing and closure to the case that has been denied them for too long.” said the police chief said Bill Scott. He thanked forensic scientists and “other unsung heroes” who helped solve the case.

Police released booking photos of Personette taken over several decades, including a 1979 arrest in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, and urged law enforcement agencies across the country to investigate her unsolved sexual assault murders involving young women were to check to see if there is a connection to Personette.

Information about his criminal record has not been released.

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