Police: Woman dressed as clown murdered a woman in 1990, married victim’s husband in 2002

Photo of Sheila Keen-Warren taken at the Washington County, VA Sheriff’s Office after her arrest. (Provided Photo/Washington County, VA Sheriff’s Office)

ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – A woman in her 50s and living in southwest Virgina, accused of dressing like a clown 27 years ago and killing the wife of the man who would be her husband, has waived her right to an extradition.

After finishing her breakfast in the spring of 1990, a woman answers the door to a person dressed as a clown — carrying a flower arrangement and two ballons. The clown offers the items to her, but then there is a gunshot. The woman falls to the ground. She dies two days later in the hospital.

Marlene Warren, killed in 1990.

The case remained unsolved until 2014. Witnesses were contacted again and more DNA analysis was conducted. It was also learned that Sheila Keen, the woman who was identified as a suspect initially, married the widower.

Sheila Keen-Warren, 54, was arrested on Tuesday evening at her home in Abingdon, VA.

Sheriff Fred Newman confirmed Keen-Warren is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm in the 1990 death of Marlene Warren in Palm Beach County, FL.

t the time, Keen-Warren worked for the victim’s husband Micheal. The two married about 12 years after the murder.

Keen-Warren was taken to the Southwest Regional Jail in Abingdon, VA. Since she waived her right to an extradition on Wednesday morning, Palm Beach County authorities have 10 days to take her back to Florida.

Keen-Warren has since hired an Abingdon, VA attorney.

Washington County, VA Sheriff’s Office officials said Sheila Keen-Warren and her husband, Michael Warren, were previously co-owners of Purple Cow in Kingsport.

Neighbors told us Tuesday night that they’re shocked to hear of Sheila’s arrest, “Oh my goodness, but she’s a good person. It’s got to be a misunderstanding, something is not right. It’s just so out of character from what I know her to be,” Brook Blevins said.

“Any murder is horrific, it doesn’t matter if they’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 victims family. Murder cases never go away. They never go away,” said  Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard McAfee at the conference on Tuesday.

WPBF, our ABC Affiliate in Palm Beach County, spoke with Marlene Warren’s son on Wednesday morning.

“It was a big shock. I was really happy. Happier than I’ve been in many years,” said Joseph Ahrens.

Background on the case

A news release from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, obtained through a ABC affiliate in Palm Beach, said on Saturday, May 26, 1990, Marlene Warren was at her home in Wellington, Florida, with her 22-year-old son, Joseph Ahrens, as well as several of his friends.

Around 10:45 a.m., they spotted a white Chrysler LeBaron pull into the driveway of the home and saw a person dressed as a clown get out of the vehicle and approach the front door.

May 1990 crime scene.

The person dressed as a clown was carrying a flower arrangement and two balloons.

Marlene Warren answered the door and the clown offered her the items. That’s when witnesses said they heard a gunshot and saw Marlene Warren fall to the ground.

The clown then “calmly walked back to the LeBaron and drove away.”

Marlene Warrant was reportedly shot in the face and was taken to Palm West Hospital, where she died two days later.

According to the release, detectives initially identified Sheila Keen as a suspect in the case, but an arrest was never made.

In 2014, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit reopened the homicide investigation and witnesses were re-contacted and additional DNA analysis was conducted, according to the release.

According to the release, Sheila Keen married Michael Warren — Marlene Warren’s husband — in 2002.

Both Sheila Keen Warren and Michael Warren had been living in Tennessee, where they operated a restaurant together.

An investigation linked Sheila Keen Warren to Marlene Warren’s murder.

On August 31, the case was presented to a grand jury who issued a true bill for first-degree murder, and an arrest warrant was issued for Sheila Warren.

Detectives have not said if Sheila’s husband, Michael Warren, was involved in his former wife’s death.

According to the release, PBSO detectives were assisted by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshal’s Task Force Western District of Virginia, Detectives from the Washington County Virginia Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.