When Marlene Warren, 40, answered her doorbell 27 years ago, she found an elaborately dressed clown – complete with red bulb-nose, white face, and wig. As she reached to accept the clown’s bouquet of flowers and balloons, she was shot at least once in the face. Marlene Warren died two days later.
The mystery and confusion surrounding the May 26, 1990 killer clown attack remained unsolved until new DNA evidence linked a familiar suspect to the murder.
Reports document that after the shooting, the clown walked calmly back to a white convertible vehicle and drove away from the Warren’s affluent Wellington home. The car, with no license plate, was recovered in a grocery store parking lot at Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards. Inside the car were fibers from an orange wig.
According to newspaper articles from September, 1990, detectives focused on Sheila Keen, then 27, an employee of Marlene’s husband, Michael Warren. Keen repossessed cars for Warren’s business, Bargain Motors Inc. on North Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach.
Investigators discovered that Michael Warren had begun paying Keen’s rent after she separated from her husband. They suspected the two had been having an affair.
The night of the murder, workers from a costume shop called police to report that Keen had purchased a clown costume, including orange wig, red nose, and make-up.
Publix supermarket employees identified Keen as buying flowers and balloons from the store just 90 minutes before the shooting.
The same type of orange wig fibers were found in Keen’s home, but detectives still did not feel they had probable cause to charge Keen with the killer clown murder.
The case went cold.
In 2014 the case was reopened with new DNA evidence, and re-interviewing witnesses at the forefront. Investigators discovered that Keen and Warren had married and were running a restaurant in Tennessee.
Detectives in the cold case division say the new DNA evidence can directly link Keen(Warren) to the murder of Marlene Warren.
Sheila Keen Warren, 54, was arrested on the charge of first-degree murder with use of a firearm at her Virginia home on Tuesday and is in jail awaiting extradition to Palm Beach County.