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Arrest in 1978 cold case nabs suspect in slaying of 15-year-old Marissa Harvey

San Francisco Police said Sunday they have cracked a decades-old cold case with the arrest of a suspect in the slaying of 15-year-old Marissa Rolf Harvey in 1978.

SFPD via BCN Marissa Rolf Harvey.

Harvey traveled in 1978 from New York to San Francisco to visit family. She went to Golden Gate Park on March 27 but didn’t return, police said. Her body was found in nearby Sutro Heights Park the next day.

At the time, the city’s homicide detail investigated the case using the best available technology and exhausted every lead, Scott said.

The investigation, however, went cold until October 2020, when the department’s homicide cold-case unit reopened the case, using advanced investigative methods employed by the department’s forensic sciences division.

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, of Conifer, Colorado, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of homicide in Harvey’s death.

Personette was taken into custody after a joint operation by the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide detail, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, FBI and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Police Chief Bill Scott 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.”

SFPD v Mark Stanley Personette.

In the wake of Personette’s arrest last week, San Francisco police are asking law enforcement agencies to review their sexual-assault related cold-case homicides involving young women to identify any other incidents in which Personette may be a suspect. They released several booking photos of Personette over the years.

Anyone with information or leads in the case is asked to call Sgt. Alan Levy, Star #4216, of the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide detail at (415) 553-9245 or by email at [email protected].

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