SAN FRANCISCO—An arrest has been made by the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide cold-case unit in a 43-year-old homicide case with the arrest of Mark Stanley Personette in Colorado on December 16 in connection to the 1978 murder of Marissa Rolf Harvey.
On December 16, 2021, members of the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide detail, San Francisco District Attorney’s Pffice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Jefferson County, Colo. Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint operation in suburban Denver. The joint operation executed a homicide warrant for Personette’s arrest, and the 76-year-old, from Colorado was booked into Jefferson County Jail on one count of homicide (187 PC).
“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,” said Chief of Police Bill Scott. “To the families and friends of all victims awaiting justice for crimes committed in our city, we hope this case sends an unequivocal message that you are never forgotten by the San Francisco Police Department — and that our cold-case investigators continue their tireless work on your loved ones’ behalf. We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners for working with us on this case, and we’re equally thankful to the many forensic scientists and other unsung heroes who helped to solve this case and to make SFPD’s Crime Laboratory among a small handful nationwide to be recognized for employing our profession’s most rigorous forensic standards.”
In March 1978, Marissa Rolf Harvey, 15, traveled from New York to visit her family in San Francisco. She visited Golden Gate Park on March 27, 1978, but never returned. The following day, her body was located not far from Golden Gate Park, in Sutro Heights Park.
SFPD’s homicide detail responded to the scene and commenced an investigation that employed the best available technology at the time and exhausted every lead.
In October 2020, the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide cold-case unit re-opened the 1978 murder investigation of Harvey, utilizing advanced investigative methods employed by SFPD’s industry-leading Forensic Sciences Division. The SFPD asks U.S. law enforcement partners to review possible Personette-related cold cases.
The San Francisco Police Department is requesting that law enforcement agencies within the United States thoroughly review their sexual-assault-related cold-case homicides involving young women to identify any other incidents in which Personette may be a suspect.
In addition, several booking photos of Personette, which have been taken over several decades, are attached, including his latest booking photo from Jefferson County, Colorado.
While an arrest has been made, the SFPD reported this remains an open and ongoing investigation by SFPD’s homicide cold-case unit. Anyone with information or leads, in this case, is asked to call Sergeant Alan Levy, Star #4216, of the San Francisco Police Department’s homicide detail at +1 (415) 553- 9245 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.