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SFPD Solves Cold Case 43 Years After the Murder of 15 Year-Old Marissa Harvey

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Marissa Rolf Harvey, 15, was murdered in San Francisco in 1978. (Family Photo via SFPD)

Marissa was a very special, very different, little girl,” said Marissa’s adoptive mother, Marguerite Schultz, in the wake of Marissa’s murder. 

Marissa Rolf Harvey was 15 years old when she was found murdered in Sutro Heights Park, San Francisco in 1978. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled, and left in a bush alongside a pedestrian trail. 

The events leading up to her death were decidedly unusual. 

The previous year, over Christmas, Marissa received an unexpected visitor at her home in Port Washington, NY, a home that she shared with her adoptive parents. That visitor was Marissa’s biological sister, a woman in her 30’s who hired an investigative company to find her younger sister.

Excited to connect with a biological family member, Marissa promised to make a trip to her newfound sister’s home in San Francisco. Marissa’s parents were hesitant to allow the teenager to travel to California alone, but they relented. 

On March 24, 1978, Marrisa flew into SFO. Days after Marissa’s arrival, following a request to go horseback riding, Marissa was dropped off at Golden Gate Park Stables by her sister’s friend. Only later did she learn that the stables weren’t open that day.

Marissa’s body was discovered by a hiker the following evening. 

The San Francisco Police Department investigated Marissa’s murder, but they ultimately had no suspects. The case went cold for 43 years.

However, in October of 2020, the SFPD reopened the file. 

Just over one year later, on December 15, 2021, the SFPD arrested 76 year-old Mark Stanley Personette in Conifer, Colorado. According to SFGate, “SFPD have released Personette’s mugshot and are asking other law enforcement agencies to review sexual assault cold case murders, as they believe he could be linked to others.” 

Mark Stanley Personette, 76, has been charged with the murder of Marissa Rolf Harvey 43 years after her death. (Photo via SFPD)

Personette was charged with one count of homicide and taken to Jefferson County Jail in Colorado.

He is scheduled to appear in court on January 9, 2022. 


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Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky covers culture and curiosities for Bay City News and Broke-Ass Stuart. She publishes artist interviews and experimental writing at You can find her on Instagram at @rot_thought.

1 Comment

  1. Owen
    December 24, 2021 at 7:11 am — Reply

    The long arm of the law can get you if you have committed a murder. Kudos to the SFPD.

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