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The Oddities in the News Page

This month's Oddity in the News:

A cold case solved...it was a real killer clown


New Dinosaur
Elisa Lam
Secret Room
Animal Thieves
Arson Lawyer

Killer-Clown Cold Case Leads to Arrest of Woman at Center of Florida Love Triangle


In May of 1990, Sheila Keen Warren dressed as a clown (fully made up and including an orange wig) and carried balloons to the door of her intended victim.


Victim Marlene Warren answered the door and was shot.

Alex Johnson, NBC News, January 7, 2018 -- Twenty-seven years after a clown carrying flowers and two balloons shot a woman to death at her front door, Florida authorities announced an arrest in one of the more bizarre cold case investigations in a state known for bizarre crimes.

Sheila Keen Warren, 54, was arrested without incident in Washington County, Virginia, on a charge of first-degree murder with use of a firearm in the killing of Marlene Warren, 40 — her current husband's previous wife — in 1990, officials said Tuesday.

"Any murder's horrific. It doesn't matter whether you're wearing a clown costume or not," Palm Beach County sheriff's Sgt. Richard McAfee said at a news conference Tuesday.

"Taking another person's life is a horrific incident," McAfee said. "It just took us 27 years to bring closure to the victim's family. Murder cases never go away."

The Washington County Sheriff's Office said Warren was arrested in Abingdon, Virginia, about 5 miles from the Tennessee state line.

Warren was arraigned Wednesday morning in Washington County General District Court and waived extradition, officials said. She was set to be moved to Florida from the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail.

Warren had been a suspect in the murder almost from the beginning, but prosecutors never had enough evidence to charge her until new technology allowed them to retest DNA evidence after the cold case was reopened in 2014.

Marlene Warren was shot in the face when she answered the front door of her home in Wellington, near West Palm Beach, and was confronted by a brown-eyed woman carrying balloons and wearing a clown costume and an orange clown wig on May 26, 1990, authorities said.

One of the balloons said "You're the greatest!" and the other had Snow White painted on it, according to news coverage at the time.

"This is the strangest thing I've seen in all my 19 years in law enforcement," Bob Ferrell, then a spokesman for the Palm Beach County sheriff's office, told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper the day after the murder.

"She went to the door, and there was somebody wearing a clown suit and a clown mask," Ferrell said. "As she went to take the flowers and balloons, the clown shot her. As far as I know, nothing was said."

Initially, suspicion quickly focused on Michael Warren, the victim's husband, as friends and family said the couple was having marital problems.

Then the murder investigation led police to unrelated evidence of wrongdoing at Michael Warren's car rental agency, and in 1992 he was sentenced to prison on 43 counts of odometer tampering, grand theft and racketeering, The Palm Beach Post reported at the time.

Michael Warren served three years in prison, and, in 1997, he vanished. But he re-emerged in 2002, marrying Sheila Keen — the same Sheila Keen Warren who's now charged with his ex-wife's murder. Sheila had worked for Michael repossessing cars.

Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said Michael Warren was present when his wife was arrested, but he would give no further details.

"Thousands of man-hours have been put in in the last 27 years," Newman said. "We're more than glad to be able to help to bring this to a successful conclusion."

Detectives said they were told as early as four months after the murder that Michael and Sheila had been having an affair and that Warren had paid rent for Keen's apartment after she separated from her first husband.




The fear of clowns is often termed as "Coulrophobia."


“We rely a lot on facial expressions to understand people and see their motivations. And with clowns, you don’t have facial expressions,” Dr. Dena Rabinowitz, a clinical psychologist told Business Insider. “It’s all under makeup, and it’s fixed. And so there’s a kind of a question of, ‘what’s going on under there?'”

From Listverse

That smile

There is something unnatural about the fact that clowns are always smiling. We are logically aware that this red, painted smile is fake. Yet it makes it more difficult to tell when the person wearing the makeup is showing actual emotion. Imagine trying to talk to a normal person who never stopped smiling, even for a moment.


Clowns are zany and crazy, and part of their comedy is that you’re never sure what they will do next. People thrive when they can stick to a daily routine and often suffer mental stress and anxiety when their lives are unpredictable, unstable, or unsafe. So it only makes sense that interacting with a clown can be frightening.

Popular culture

Films and novels often portray clowns as villians.


In his 1919 publication “The Uncanny,” the world-famous psychologist Sigmund Freud explains that we can be frightened by something that is familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. Harvard professor Steven C. Schlozman elaborates on the “uncanny” theory in comparison to clowns. He explains that a clown has similar features to a human being—a mouth, a nose, ears, hands, feet, and hair. However, a clown’s body parts are enlarged or exaggerated—giant shoes, abnormally large lips painted on a white face, and a huge, red nose. People notice the differences as unsettling or even frightening.