A Florida wife opened her front door to an oddly dressed delivery person holding two balloons and flowers, thinking she was receiving an unexpected gift.
But instead, as NBC News reported, Marlene Warren came face-to-face with a clown who was armed with a gun.
The clown shot Marlene in the face, killing the mother of two in a murder mystery that has lasted 27 years.
When the murder happened in 1990, Bob Ferrell, then a spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, explained the bizarre murder to the Sun-Sentinel:
“She went to the door and there was somebody wearing a clown suit and a clown mask. As she went to take the flowers and balloons, the clown shot her. As far as I know, nothing was said.”
Marlene’s two teenage sons and a group of friends watched as she was gunned down by the clown.
“This is the strangest thing I’ve seen in all my 19 years in law enforcement.”
All eyes were on Marlene’s husband, Michael Warren, after family members and friends reported their marriage was in trouble. Police came up empty-handed trying to prove he was to blame for the slaying.
During their investigation, though, they did find evidence that landed Michael in jail for illegal actions he took at his car rental agency.
Michael served three years for 43 counts of odometer tampering, grand theft and racketeering after being found guilty of the charges in 1992.
But his rental car agency investigation led police to another suspect in Marlene’s murder case. Sheila Keen worked at the agency repossessing cars for Marlene’s husband — and the two were involved in an affair.
She became the new Mrs. Michael Warren in 2002, and the pair lived together in Tennessee.
Sheila was always a suspect in Marlene’s death but was never arrested, until now.
According to Fox 8, the murder case was reopened in 2014 by Palm Beach County deputies, and they conducted new DNA testing.
That led them to 54-year-old Sheila, who was now living in Virginia. She was arrested for allegedly murdering her husband’s wife.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard McAfee said:
“Any murder’s horrific. It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing a clown costume or not.”
“Taking another person’s life is a horrific incident. It just took us 27 years to bring closure to the victim’s family. Murder cases never go away.”
Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said Michael was with Sheila when she was arrested for killing Marlene. There is still no word on whether he was involved in the killing.
Sheila is being relocated from the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail to Florida while the investigation continues.