MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s case closed for a decades-old case of a woman killed by someone dressed as a clown.
All along investigators had an idea of who the killer was and they tracked her down in Virginia.
Sheila Keen was smiling in her booking photo.
Investigators from Palm Beach County and Washington County in Virginia said she was behind the so-called clown murder in the community of Wellington 27 years ago.
The murder of Marlene Warren happened in May 1990 in the exclusive Aero Club community – the homes encircling a landing strip.
Bill Kramer remembers the day his neighbor was shot in the face 27 years ago.
“I heard a noise that sounded like a nail gun,” he said. “Some people ran out and said something, I couldn’t hear, ‘They shot Joey’s mother.’”
Marlene Warren was having breakfast with her son Joey and three other people when she was shot.
Authorities say she answered her door and a person dressed as a clown was there with a bouquet of flowers and balloons. The clown then took out a gun and killed her.
“We entered the house and began to do somethings at his direction. Very soon the paramedics and police came and we backed out,” Kramer said.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office says Keen, the mistress of the victim’s husband, was a suspect early on, but there was never enough evidence to charge her.
The sheriff’s cold case detectives took a new look three years ago.
The sheriff’s office says investigators reconnected with witnesses and conducted additional DNA analysis.
They also learned Keen had married victim Marlene Warren’s husband – Michael Warren – in 2002.
The victim’s mother spoke to our news partners in West Palm Beach.
“I feel that she and Michael had something to do with that – that’s my opinion,” Shirley Twing said.
Keen was arrested in Virginia. The couple had been running a fast food restaurant called the Purple Cow in Tennessee.
During the original investigation, detectives learned where Keen had bought the clown costume, balloons, and flowers. At her home they also found fibers from a bright orange wig.
Even so, the case went cold and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said detectives needed probable cause.
During the new investigation, they established probable cause and arrested Keen on a charge of first degree murder.