Colorado man charged in 1978 murder of 15-year-old girl after DNA testing

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Colorado man charged in 1978 murder of 15-year-old girl after DNA testing

A Colorado man who was suspected of killing a teen girl in San Francisco more than 40 years ago was charged with her murder following new DNA evide

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A Colorado man who was suspected of killing a teen girl in San Francisco more than 40 years ago was charged with her murder following new DNA evidence, according to prosecutors.

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, was arraigned in court Thursday after being arrested in December in Denver after the San Francisco police, the FBI, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office worked together to investigate the 1978 death of Marissa Harvey, who was 15 years old at the time, according to the Associated Press.

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San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement that investigators made progress in the 43-year-old cold case when a DNA hit in a genealogy database allegedly linked DNA taken from the crime scene to Personette.

Mark Stanley Personette in 1979 (AP photo)

Mark Stanley Personette in 1979 (AP photo)

“We will work to ensure that Mr. Personnette 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,” said Boudin.

Harvey’s body was found in Sutro Heights Park in 1978, a day after she disappeared during a trip to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco while visiting her sister.

Marissa Harvey (Source: San Francisco PD)

Marissa Harvey (Source: San Francisco PD)

The San Francisco Police Department reopened the cold case in October 2020 and determined that Personette remained a suspect after using “advanced investigative methods.”

DENVER POLICE NAME SUSPECT IN FOUR COLD CASES THROUGH DNA EVIDENCE

Boudin said investigators used a third-party DNA database to find genetic information from a relative which resulted in the identification and arrest of Personnette.

Scientist examining DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) results on a screen during an experiment in the laboratory.

Scientist examining DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) results on a screen during an experiment in the laboratory.

Authorities urged law enforcement across the country to look over their unsolved sexual assault-related murders of young women to see if Personnette might be involved.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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