San Francisco

San Francisco DA Charges Suspect in 1978 Cold Case Slaying

San Francisco Police Department

A Colorado man suspected in the 1978 slaying of a 15-year-old girl visiting San Francisco will be arraigned on murder charges Thursday, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said Wednesday.

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, was arrested in December in connection with the sexual assault and killing of 15-year-old Marissa Harvey. 

Marissa had traveled from New York to San Francisco to visit her sister in 1978, and went to Golden Gate Park on March 27 with plans for renting a horse but didn't return, police said. 

She was reported missing and her body was found in nearby Sutro Heights Park the next day.

The case went cold for 43 years until last fall, when a DNA hit in a genealogy database linked DNA taken from the crime scene to Personette, authorities said.

Personette was arrested Dec. 16 in Colorado and extradited. He is set to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday.

"We are proud of our team and our collaboration with SFPD to solve this crime," Boudin said. "We will work to ensure that Mr. Personette is held accountable for the brutal and heinous acts that took Marissa's life and to bring closure to her family, which has never stopped advocating for justice."

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