Can new DNA tests help police crack the "killer clown" cold case?

Two witnesses who watched as a woman was gunned down in her Florida home by a mysterious clown speak out for the first time on network television

Produced by Sarah Prior and Richard Fetzer

Nearly three decades ago, Marlene Warren opened the door of her Wellington, Fla., home and was shot in the face by a clown bearing balloons, flowers and a gun. Joe Ahrens, Warren's son, tells "48 Hours"' Peter Van Sant the clown calmly walked back to a car and drove off.

It is a case that rocked the Florida neighborhood where Warren lived at the time and has haunted family members ever since.

"I remember that being one of the most terrible days of my life," says Ahrens. "At first we thought maybe it was a balloon popped, but when we saw her fall, we knew something was definitely, seriously wrong," Ahrens says. Also in the home at the time was Ahrens' friend Jeannie Pratt who says the questions she's been asking herself ever since are simple: Who would want Marlene Warren dead. And why?

DEADLY DELIVERY

Joe Ahrens was 21 years old on that May morning in 1990 when his beloved mother and best friend, Marlene Warren, was shot in the face at her front door.

Joe Ahrens: it's not one day that goes by that I do not think about her in one way or another.

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"Your mother is lying where inside the house?" Peter Van Sant asks Joe Ahrens. "On the floor, right there," he points.

CBS News

Ahrens was living at home, and his friends were over that morning -- including Jeannie Pratt.

Jeannie Pratt: I sat down to eat and there was a balloon and some clown coming at the door.

Jeannie  Pratt: Look at that clown! …She was going to that door. …She was excited.  

Peter Van Sant: When your mother opened the door, did she say something?

Joe Ahrens: "Oh, how pretty." 

Joe Ahrens: At first we thought maybe it was a balloon popped, but when we saw her fall, we knew something was definitely seriously wrong. 

Jeannie Pratt: We had no clue what was going on. It was like the whole world was in slow motion…

Ahrens says the clown didn't say a word.

Jeannie Pratt: The clown slowly walked back to the car like no care in the world.

Pratt helped tend to Marlene.  And a neighbor called 911.

Jeannie Pratt: It was just a horrible feeling.

Jeannie Pratt: I was right next to her and I rolled her to her side. …There was a big hole in her upper lip. 

Ahrens, hobbled by a broken leg and cast, followed the clown outside. The shooter's car, a white Chrysler LeBaron, was parked in the driveway.

Joe Ahrens: The car was … right here… the door was open the car was running.

Joe Ahrens: I tried to get the clown to turn around; I called him every word in the book.

The shooter looked back. Ahrens saw white and red clown makeup, a fuzzy orange wig, and the eyes of the person who had just shot his mother.

Joe Ahrens: Just really dark eyes, brown eyes.

The shooter calmly got in the car and drove away.

Joe Ahrens: Didn't even squeal a tire. Just drove off like nothing happened.

Ahrens made his way to his own car to give chase.

Jeannie Pratt: Joey was running around, hurting himself and I'm like, "You're not going anywhere by yourself."

Pratt jumped in the car with him.

Joe Ahrens: I just punched it and was driving to try and catch up to that car, and I never could catch it.

Jeannie Pratt: It was like, poof. Just disappeared.

Joe Ahrens: So then I turned back and came back here. And when I came back the detectives were here and the ambulance were working on my mom.

1990 NEWS REPORT:  Warren was taken here to Palms West hospital in extremely critical condition.

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Marlene Warren

Family photo

With a bullet lodged in her spinal cord, 40-year-old Marlene Warren was put on life support. Ahrens was questioned by police and then went straight to his mother.

Joe Ahrens: First thing I did is grab her hand, you know, and try to talk to her, you know.  Just try to get some kind of response, you know, and there was nothing.

1990 NEWS REPORT:  Meanwhile at her home, investigators gather evidence, searching for clues.

Daphne Duret | Palm Beach Post reporter: Investigators had very little to work with initially.

Daphne Duret: What they knew was … that the shooter sped off in a white Chrysler LeBaron.

Daphne Duret: What they also knew was … that the shooter had brown eyes.

Because of all the makeup and the costume, Ahrens couldn't even be sure if the shooter was a man or a woman, which left police with a problem. 

Peter Van Sant: There's a thing called a BOLO.  What is a BOLO?

Daphne Duret: A BOLO is an acronym for "be on the look out." …And in this case, the BOLO was … for someone dressed in a clown costume.

NEWS REPORT: So far they're following up leads, but they have no suspects.

It was not lot to go on. But detectives got an early break.

Daphne Duret: Three hours after the shooting, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office gets an anonymous phone call from a female caller.

The caller told police to look at Marlene's husband, 38-year-old Mike Warren, who'd been married to Marlene since Joe was a toddler.

Joe Ahrens: When we were younger, he was great.

Marlene had been married before as a teenager, had Joe and his brother Johnny, and after that marriage fell apart, at 20, she married Mike.

Joe Ahrens: He was my father for 20 some years… the only dad I knew.

In the late 1980s the Warrens were living at the Aero Club, an exclusive subdivision in Wellington, Florida, where every home backs onto a private runway.

Peter Van Sant: 21 years old. You must have felt as if you were in paradise here didn't you?

Joe Ahrens: Yeah I loved it … I miss it.

Mike and Marlene owned several businesses -- many in Marlene's name. Marlene managed their rental properties. Mike owned a few racehorses and was a used car salesman, selling and renting cars.

Joe Ahrens: We owned a car business, Bargain Motors. 

The family was prospering, but a year-and-a-half before the shooting, Joe's brother, Johnny, was killed in a car accident. He was 22.

Shirley Twing | Marlene's mother: It was tragic. And it hit her hard. That was her first baby, you know.

Joe Ahrens: She's the one that told me and she just grabbed me and wouldn't let me go, you know?

Ahrens says after his brother died everything changed between Marlene and Mike.

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When police reached Marlene's husband Mike, he said that at the time of the shooting he was miles away, driving to the horse track with friends -- what appeared to be an airtight alibi. 

Family photo

Joe Ahrens: He wasn't around as much as, I guess, you'd say he should have been. ...The actions spoke louder than words. He wasn't around.

Peter Van Sant: Mike was just not there as a husband for her?

Joe Ahrens: Right. Or a dad for me.

Joe Ahrens: And I think my l mom was picking up on that. …She told me two weeks before the murder that we were going to move.

It was around this time that Marlene confided in her mother, who was living in Las Vegas. What she said was shocking.

Shirley Twing: She says … "If anything happens to me, Mike did it." So there must've been one heck of a fight.

Peter Van Sant: What did that tell you?

Shirley Twing: I told her she could come home.

But that didn't happen. So when Shirley heard her daughter had been shot, she instantly thought of Mike.

Shirley Twing: Right away, I figured it was him. I figured Mike had something to with it. That's for damn sure.

But at 10:51 that morning, when Marlene was shot, Mike Warren was miles away, on the interstate driving south -- with a car full of witnesses.

Daphne Duret: Mike Warren was … with a couple of his buddies, on his way to Calder Race Track.

That meant Mike couldn't possibly be the shooter.

Daphne Duret: He was nowhere near the home at the time.

If Mike Warren wasn't the shooter, police had actually gotten a second name from that anonymous tipster.

Daphne Duret: The caller was clear. …"Look at Sheila Keen."

"BIG BROWN EYES"

As his mother clung to life, Joe Ahrens remained by her side at the hospital.

Joe Ahrens: I just wanted to see my mom … and I just stayed in that room for hours at a time.

Peter Van Sant: What were you saying to her?

Joe Ahrens: "I love you, please don't leave."  …"Mom." I just kept saying "Mom, mom."

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The balloons and flowers were recovered from the scene, and investigators immediately tried to track down where they could have been purchased. Within days, they were able to link them back to a specific supermarket.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Dept.

Unable to speak to Marlene, police focused on their few leads: the clown disguise, the balloons and the flower arrangement. They immediately canvassed retail flower shops, supermarkets and costume shops in the area.

Barbara Castricone: I got a call from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department. And it was a detective.

Hours after the shooting, detectives reached Barbara Castricone and later Deborah Offord who, at the time worked, at a local costume store. Offord remembers a customer coming in two nights earlier -- a woman who "seemed to be in a hurry."

Deborah Offord: I said, "Can you come back tomorrow?" And she said, "No, I need something right now" … She wanted to see the clown costumes.

Offord told police the customer bought a clown costume, some makeup, an orange wig and a red clown nose. She also gave them a description.

Deborah Offord: Long, thick, straight, like, chocolate-colored hair. Big brown eyes.

Brown eyes -- just like Ahrens remembered. Detectives showed Offord a photo lineup and she "tentatively identified" the woman with the brown eyes as the same person named in that anonymous tip: Sheila Keen. 

Peter Van Sant: Sheila Keen. Who is she?

Daphne Duret: Sheila Keen, at the time … worked for Mike Warren.

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Sheila Keen 

Broward County Sheriff's Office

Della Ward used to work with Sheila Keen—at Bargain Motors. She remembers Keen as a 26-year-old, young mother living on her own after separating from her husband.

Della Ward: Long, long beautiful brown hair, uh, brown eyes.

Daphne Duret: Sheila Keen had a reputation for being fearless.

Keen repossessed cars for the business.

Peter Van Sant: She was a repo woman?

Daphne Duret: She is a repo woman.

Della Ward: To do repos you have to -- you have to have some kind of guts.

Ward remembers that Keen carried a gun -- a .38 some said.

Della Ward: She told me, you know, "I keep a gun for my protection because people are crazy, what they do … They'll come out with shotguns and shoot at you not to repo their car."

Police would soon learn about a possible motive.

Daphne Duret:  There were rumors that Mike Warren and Sheila Keen were more than just coworkers. …There were rumors … that the two of them were lovers.

Della Ward: There was no doubt about it. … they were definitely seeing one another.

Mike Warren agreed to be questioned by detectives and "denied having any extra marital affairs with a Sheila Keen." Other investigators continued trying to find where the flower arrangement and balloons were purchased.

Peter Van Sant: One [balloon] said, "You're the Greatest," and the other one had Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on it.

Daphne Duret: Right. So they had these two very distinctive balloons.

Police learned that those balloons were distinctive enough that they could link them back to a specific supermarket.

WPEC REPORT: "The balloons and flowers left at the doorstep of the murder scene were purchased at this Publix … the buyer described as a white female with dark brown hair."

Dark brown hair -- like Sheila Keen's. Police discovered that purchase was made at 9:22 a.m. --an hour-and-a-half before the shooting and the store's location caught their attention -- Duret says Keen lived a little more than a half mile away.

One day after the shooting, detectives caught up with Sheila Keen and she gave them an alibi. She said that at the time of the attack, she was out doing her job "looking for vehicles for repossession."

Daphne Duret: They ask her, "What -- which cars were you looking to repossess?" … She said she doesn't remember.

Like Mike Warren, Keen denied the two were having an affair, telling investigators that they were "just good friends."  Her neighbors told a different story.

Daphne Duret: They say that they saw Mike Warren coming in and out of the house so often that they thought that he was her husband.

Peter Van Sant: All hours of the day and night.

Daphne Duret:  All hours of the day and night, overnights … on multiple occasions.

WPEC REPORT: A security guard says he did not know Warren but that he was allowed in by order of Sheila Keen.

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Marlene Ahrens was 20-years-old, and had just ended her first marriage, when she married Mike Warren.

Family photo

But rumors of an affair were not enough for an arrest, and even though he was under investigation, Warren kept vigil with Ahrens at his wife's bedside.

Peter Van Sant: Did it seem impossible that Mike could be involved?

Joe Ahrens: To me, yes. 'Cause it was, it was my dad. …just couldn't even think that.

By now, Marlene's mother, Shirley had arrived. Two days after the shooting, the difficult decision was made to remove Marlene from life support.

Shirley Twing: And I hung onto Joe. He hung onto my hand … and I said, "Pull the, pull it, and let her go. Let her go." … And poor Joe, his hand was so damn cold. And I know it was killin' him.

Joe Ahrens: Within a minute or so. As soon as the machine was gone, she was, she was gone.

With Marlene Warren's death, police now had to solve a murder. And the next day they recovered another important piece of evidence: a bullet removed from Marlene's body consistent with a .38 or .357 caliber gun.

Daphne Duret: And this becomes another piece of circumstantial evidence that appears to tie Sheila Keen to this shooting.

THE CASE GROWS COLD

Peter Van Sant: So at this point in the investigation, let's imagine there's a spotlight. It's on Sheila Keen right now, right? 

Daphne Duret: Absolutely on Sheila Keen.

Police had a tentative ID at the costume shop, a description at the Publix grocery store that was consistent with Sheila Keen, and a bullet -- all intriguing circumstantial evidence, but not decisive in connecting Keen or anyone else to Marlene Warren's murder.

NEWS REPORT: Detectives have been checking all possible leads but have come up empty until now.

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Four days after Marlene Warren was shot, police later found this white Chrysler LeBaron in a parking lot eight miles from the crime scene. Marlene's son Joe remembered seeing the clown drive away in a car fitting this description. Inside police found orange fibers that resembled hair from a clown wig and several strands of brown human hair.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Dept.

Then four days after the shooting, police got a huge break. They found a white Chrysler LeBaron. Maybe this was the getaway car.

Daphne Duret: They find it in the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie supermarket.

That supermarket is eight miles from the crime scene, and nine miles from Sheila Keen's apartment. Inside the car, police found two important clues.

Daphne Duret: They find this orange, synthetic hair.

Like the fibers from a clown wig.

Daphne Duret: They also find strands of brown, human hair.

Brown hair, like Sheila Keen's. Within hours, police had a warrant to search her apartment.

NEWS REPORT: The investigation has turned to the woman who lives here at the Pine Ridge Apartments off Haverhill Road.

They didn't find a gun. Keen's estranged husband told police they owned a .38 revolver, but that Sheila told him she'd "misplaced" it about a month before the murder. What police did find in the apartment was hair from the bathroom trash and a stunner: more orange fibers on clothing inside Sheila's home.

NEWS REPORT: Detectives aren't saying if Keen is actual a suspect in the murder. What they will say is that they're waiting for test results on samples of hair and fibers taken from search warrants.

A police criminologist compared the samples of human hair and the orange fibers from the car and the apartment. And in both cases concluded the samples were similar.

Peter Van Sant: So this sounds like something. Boy, you could put this in front of a jury and potentially get a conviction.

Daphne Duret: You could. Or maybe you couldn't. …Similar is not the same.

Investigators reportedly ran DNA on the hair and fibers. But DNA testing was still very new and the results were apparently inconclusive. Prosecutors decided it was not enough to make an arrest.  But investigators were not done digging. They ran a check on the LeBaron and learned it had been stolen.

Daphne Duret: The Chrysler LeBaron … is another maze of bizarre facts.

Payless, a competitor of Bargain Motors, accused Warren of intentionally trying to confuse customers with a similar looking phone book ad. In at least one case, it seems to have worked.

About a month before Marlene's murder, a couple rented the LeBaron from Payless, but mistakenly called Bargain -- Warren's company -- to return it.  Police say someone at Bargain told the couple to leave the car on the street—with the keys inside.

Daphne Duret: Place the keys in the visor … and we'll take it from there.

It was stolen the same night. After learning all of this, investigators went into Warren's business with a search warrant.

NEWS REPORT: Sheriff's detectives spent about five hours Thursday night searching the offices of Bargain Motors at 14th and Dixie in downtown West Palm Beach.

But investigators could not prove Mike Warren stole that LeBaron, nor could they connect him to his wife's murder. But they did uncover evidence of widespread fraud in his business. Mike Warren was arrested and ultimately charged with multiple counts of racketeering, grand theft auto, insurance fraud and odometer tampering. 

Della Ward: They wanted to get him so bad that he was the one but he had an alibi, you know.

One of Warren's bookkeepers, Della Ward, didn't like the questions police were asking.

Della Ward: They wanted me to bad mouth Michael. How can I bad mouth a man that was good to me? …You know, he's not this cold-hearted killer that wanted to knock off his wife. No.

The fraud case was complex. As prosecutors prepared for that trial, the murder investigation continued, and Warren and Ahrens battled over Marlene's estate -- reported to be worth well over $1 million.  But emotionally devastated and just 22, Joe was no match for his used car salesman stepfather. He says he was left with next to nothing.

Two years after Marlene's murder, Warren stood trial for his business schemes.

Della Ward: I was called a hostile witness.

In the end Mike Warren was convicted of fraud—and served nearly four years in prison. Police never closed Marlene's case but as the years passed there was no sign of any new evidence.

Della Ward: They never found the gun. They never found the clown suit or the wig.

And as for Sheila Keen, she wasn't charged in this case and eventually moved away.

Della Ward: They -- investigated her, they couldn't come up with nothing, OK? Sheila packed up with her son and -- and left the area. Nobody ever brought her name up again.

The killer clown case went cold.  But a few years later Della heard some very surprising news.

Della Ward: I just found out … that Sheila and Michael got married and I guess the look on my face was like "Whaa-a?!"

MIKE AND SHEILA'S NEW LIFE  

In 2002, 12 years after Marlene's Warren's murder, Mike Warren and Sheila Keen -- who once denied they were romantically involved -- got married amid the glittering neon lights of Las Vegas . They had settled in secluded Kingsport, Tennessee, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. 

Daphne Duret Palm | Beach Post reporter:Their friends and neighbors described them as this couple that worked six days a week … and that they were always on the go.

The newlyweds had joined the ranks of local business owners, running a burger joint called the Purple Cow.  It was famous for a giant hamburger named after Mike called "Mike's Intimidator."

Ashley Sexton and Cynthia Swafford worked at the Purple Cow for about two years.

Cynthia Swafford: She was the cook -- I was the, old hand-out window.

They had a front row seat watching their bosses, Sheila and Mike Warren.

Ashley Sexton: They didn't say much about their life in Florida.

Ashley Sexton: We did know Mike went to jail.

Cynthia Swafford: Yeah.

Brook Blevins met Mike and Sheila when they bought a weekend property down the street from hers …just across the Tennessee border in Virginia.

Brook Blevins: This is Heron Point … at South Holston Lake, the best place to live ever ... We have a lot of fun here. Everybody is very friendly, knows each other, concerned about each other.

Peter Van Sant: And Sheila and Mike? They fit right in?

Brook Blevins: Yes, they do.

Peter Van Sant: Tell me about the Sheila Warren that you know.

Brook Blevins: The Sheila Warren that I know is very giving. …She's just, I know I can depend on her. She's just very, very sweet.

When she married Mike, Sheila changed her last name to Warren, her first name to Debbie, and she also changed the color of her hair.

Brook Blevins: We called her Debbie or Deb.

Peter Van Sant: And when she was introduced to people by Mike, would he say, "This is my wife, Debbie"?

Brook Blevins: He'd say, "This is Deb."

Peter Van Sant: This is Deb…

Brook Blevins: Yeah, "This is my wife Deb."

Brook says Warren told her it was a childhood nickname…

Brook Blevins: Her dad nicknamed her that when she was small.

But Della Ward had never heard of it.

Della Ward: A nickname that she had? No.

Peter Van Sant: The fact that they didn't talk about their past. …Are you wondering if you really know them?

Brook Blevins: I'm a pretty good judge of character, by looking at people, how they act today. …. That told me all I needed to know. I didn't ask them about their past, they didn't ask me about my past [laughs].

Cynthia Swafford: You could be their neighbors all you want to, you see what you see. You know, unless you work for them and been back there, eight, twelve hours a day, dealing with them, you don't know who they really are.

Ashley Sexton:  Yeah.

Swafford and Sexton also knew Sheila by her new name.

Ashley Sexton: I never called her Sheila. [Laughs] I always called her Debbie, too.

Swafford and Sexton: That's what we knew her by.

Whatever they knew her by, the women say Sheila and Mike were as tough as a couple of overcooked burgers to work for. 

Cynthia Swafford: You messed something up, you knew it. I'm telling you that. You knew you messed it up.

Ashley Sexton: Yup.

Cynthia Swafford: 'Cause he was gonna tell you, so was she. …I mean, she was awful aggressive -- mean, just like Mike.

And there were rumors about Sheila/Debbie's past.

Ashley Sexton: The rumor around Purple Cow when we worked there was Debbie killed Mike's ex-wife. …I thought they was blowin' off steam, and I was like, OK,  whatever.

Cynthia Swafford [affirming]: Mm-hmm.

Ashley Sexton: But the rumors said it more than once … even to where we knew she dressed up like a clown.

Sheriff Rick Bradshaw: To get … the outfit, to put all the makeup on, to get the car, to get the balloons, to get the bouquet … This is malice aforethought. This is why they call it first-degree murder.

While Mike and Sheila were trying to live happily ever after in the mountains, Palm Beach County Sheriff Rick Bradshaw had not forgotten Marlene's case.

Sheriff Rick Bradshaw: The reason they're called cold cases is because there wasn't enough information there to solve them at the time. So you've got to dig.

In 2013, Bradshaw's cold case squad decided to open up their old file vault, and take another look.

Det. Paige McCann: You just have to be willing to continue to fight and fight and fight for these victims.

Lead detective Paige McCann and her team started calling up old witnesses, including Jeannie Pratt and Deborah Offord from the costume shop.

Jeannie Pratt: The Pandora's box was reopened, when someone called me.

Deborah Offord: He let me know that they were reviewing this case.

And even called Warren's old friend Della -- who remained unimpressed.

Della Ward: And they went through the same questions they did … years ago. Now I'm saying, "why you are you reopening the case, if these are the same questions?"

But police weren't just asking the same questions.

Det. Paige McCann: We did have our lab look at some items.

There were new advancements in DNA that detectives were hoping could help close the case.

Det. Paige McCann: We reviewed the entire case, and then we determined that additional items needed to be tested.

In the winter of 2016, as police continued working, Mike and Sheila sold the Purple Cow and retired, moving full time to the lake.

Brook Blevins: We would have, uh, surprise birthday parties for each other, and um, dinners. … It was real sweet.

And then one day…

Ashley Sexton: I was in shock. To know the story was actually true.

OLD EVIDENCE – AND NEW RESULTS

Joe Ahrens: I was numb for a long time. …I just felt abandoned, you know? I was on my own.

Since his mother's murder, Joe Ahrens had been in and out of trouble, struggling with drugs and alcohol. Married and now divorced, Joe is building a new life for himself in Iowa with his own construction company -- skills he traces back to days helping his mom, Marlene, with their rental properties.

Joe Ahrens:  I've seen her fix anything in a house. I mean, if she couldn't, she would hire somebody and then, she would tell me to watch them. …I learned a lot from that.

Ahrens is still haunted by his memories.

Joe Ahrens:  The night is the worst. The bad, bad stuff -- usually at night.

In 2016, while Joe was trying to get on with his life, creepy clowns, evil clowns and sinister clowns were suddenly everywhere—in the new, on social media, and the following year, on the big screen.

Shirley Twing: I don't hate clowns. I only hate one.

shirley-twing.jpg

"These are paintings that Marlene had painted when she was about 14 years old," says Shirley Twing. " I walk by, I look at them everyday ... I kind of grin 'cause I can almost see her doing this. ...it gives me a good feeling."

CBS News

In 2017, 27 years since Marlene's murder, new DNA results on the old evidence finally changed a circumstantial case into one police now say is rock solid. But they wouldn't say exactly what that evidence is -- not yet.

Sheriff Rick Bradshaw: We have it, without a doubt.

Peter Van Sant: No doubt?

Sheriff Rick Bradshaw: Not in my mind.

Now they just had to track down their clown. Hoping to avoid a confrontation at the Warrens' Virginia home, local police set up a road block.

Lt. Dewey Fulton | Washington County Sheriff's Department: We had set up fuses, a few flares, all the way down in this sharp curve, just to slow traffic.

Peter Van Sent: And you're one of the guys, officers stopping the vehicle?

Lt. Dewey Fulton: Yes sir.

The plan was to make it look like a routine checkpoint.  Mike Warren was driving and pulled over peacefully.

Lt. Dewey Fulton: I went to the passenger side where Ms. Warren was…. I ask her if she would happen to have her ID and she gave me a Tennessee driver's license with the name Sheila Warren. … and at that time I just reached in, opened her door… And I said "Ma'am, we have a warrant for your arrest."

Police had finally done it. Sheila Keen Warren, the woman they believe to be Marlene's killer, was arrested.

Cynthia Swafford Cynthia: I texted Ashley and was like, "Oh my God!"

Ashley Sexton: Like, I was shocked.

Swafford and Sexton watched the video of Sheila in the squad car online.

Ashley Sexton She didn't cry. No ... shocked look. It was just like, she had the face of like, "I finally got caught" …I was just like, "We I argued with a killer? This whole entire time?"

Jeannie Pratt: It was all over Facebook and everybody was tagging me. "Look, look, look, look. … They got her. They got her."

Peter Van Sant: And when you heard that news?

Jeannie Pratt: It was like that cinder block pressing you down all these years, it's been lifted.

Joe Ahrens: I just didn't know how to act. …Joe: It was a good feeling and also a sad feeling, you know, because she's not here anymore.

Shirley Twing: Oh, very, very surprised. And a little bit good. Vengeance,  excuse me.

Sheila Warren was extradited the following week to Palm Beach County, where a judge denied her bail. She was charged with first-degree murder with a firearm.

She has hired a top defense attorney, pleaded not guilty, and is awaiting trial.

Brook Blevins: The Sheila that I know wouldn't have come to my mind that she could've done anything that she's been accused of.

Peter Van Sant: You don't look at her now and wonder could she be a killer?

Brook Blevins: No? Not really … and if I did find out something horrible, she's still my friend. My love is unconditional. I love her no matter what.

Peter Van Sant: You guys have not stopped investigating this particular murder?

Captain Mike Wallace: It's still an open case.

At the sheriff's department, the cold case team says its investigation is far from over.

Peter Van Sant: Is Michael Warren still a person of interest in this case?

McCann: Yes…. You know, the investigation's still ongoing-- with Michael Warren-- as well as anyone else who might have been involved.

Jeannie Pratt: I feel that he was 100 percent part of it.

Peter Van Sant: And the motive?

Jeannie Pratt: Greed. He wanted out of the marriage.

As his wife sits in a Palm Beach County jail, Mike Warren is still in Virginia, in their house by the lake.

Peter Van Sant headed to Heron Point, the subdivision where Mike Warren lives, to see if he'd answer a couple of questions.

Peter Van Sant: [knocking on the front door]: Hey, Mike. I'm Peter Van Sant with CBS News. Can I talk to you?

Warren  didn't want to open the door.

Peter Van Sant: Can I just ask you one question? Did you have anything to do with planning the murder of your wife, Marlene?

Mike Warren:  …Definitely not.

Peter Van Sant: You did not?

Mike Warren: That's correct.

Mike Warren ended up talking to "48 Hours" through that door, for several minutes -- denying either he or Sheila had any involvement in Marlene's murder.

Peter Van Sant: Did you suggest to Sheila that she dress in a clown outfit?

Mike Warren:  ...You're saying, "Sheila, Sheila." Who says she even did that? …I don't think she had anything to do with this. If I thought she had something to do with this, I wouldn't have been with her.

For his part, Joe Ahrens says he's hopeful for the legal process that is now under way. But the scars of all he has suffered run deep.

Joe Ahrens: I just couldn't put it together for a long time. I finally got myself to together and knew well, what, what would, what would she want me to do? She would want me to carry on. She would want me to do the best I could. … You know, just try to get happiness in my life.

Joe Ahrens [speaking at his mother's grave]: I love you. I miss you. And we will get justice.

No trial date has been set.

  • Peter Van Sant

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"