Americas

Man arrested over killing of teenage girl in San Francisco 43 years ago with suspect possibly linked to other unsolved cases

A man has been 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 crimes.

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, was arrested in Denver on Thursday in connection with the 1978 death of Marissa Harvey, authorities announced on Sunday.

It came following a joint operation by San Francisco police, the FBI and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

The 15-year-old New York girl was visiting family in San Francisco when she did not return from a day trip to Golden Gate Park in 1978.

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.

“For more than four decades, Marissa Harvey’s family members have been relentless advocates to bring her killer to justice, and we hope this development in the case begins to bring a measure of healing and closure they’ve been too long denied,” police chief Bill Scott said.

He thanked forensic scientists and “other unsung heroes” with their assistance in 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 nationwide to review their unsolved sexual assault-related murders involving young women to determine if there is a connection to Personette.

Information about his criminal history was not released.

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