Long before the creepy clown summer of 2016 or the gruesome blade attack on a man in Denver at the hands of a clown, a red-nosed, gun-toting harlequin nearly got away with murder. Now—27 years after the clown shot and killed a woman in Florida—police say they've finally figured out who it is.
Police arrested 54-year-old Sheila Keen Warren on Tuesday for the decades-old murder that shocked a small Florida town and baffled investigators for years, the Sun-Sentinel reports. She's set to be extradited from Virginia to Palm Beach, Florida, where prosecutors are hoping to finally close a case a police spokesman once called "the strangest thing I've seen in all my 19 years in law enforcement."
On a Saturday morning in May 1990, Marlene Warren opened the front door of her home in Wellington, Florida, and found a clown standing on her stoop. Outfitted in an orange wig, a painted white face, and a red nose, the clown offered Warren a gift and then, according to witnesses, pulled out a gun and shot her in the face. The clown shooter then walked over to a white Chrysler convertible, hopped in, and drove away.
According to the Sentinel, detectives soon pinned down Keen as a key suspect after hearing rumours that she and Warren's husband, Michael, were having an affair. The two had apparently met after Keen started working at Warren's car dealership. Then, a local costume shop fingered Keen as the woman who had come in to purchase a clown costume just two days before the murder—one that resembled what the killer wore down to the bright orange wig. Still, the case grew cold after cops couldn't pin down probable cause.
Then, in 2014, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office decided to reopen the case and run DNA tests on some of the evidence they found in the 90s—likely the fibers of a wig that were found in Keen's home and in the getaway car. Soon, investigators located Keen and discovered that she was now married to Warren, living in Tennessee, and running a restaurant with him.
The new evidence was enough to charge Keen with first-degree murder with a firearm for the killing she allegedly committed 27 years ago, CBS affiliate WJHL reports. She's being held in a jail in Abingdon, Virginia, near where she was detained. Palm Beach authorities have ten days to bring her back to Florida, where she's slated to stand trial.
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