Provo Police Reopen 1978 Murder Case of Marla Scharp
Nov 17, 2019, 11:18 AM | Updated: 11:26 am
PROVO, Utah – Recent findings in the cold case of a 26-year-old woman may show the serial killer who confessed to her murder was not the person who killed her.
For years, Marla Scharp’s family has been told that she was murdered by serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
A press conference was held on Saturday by the Utah Cold Case Coalition in front of the Provo Police Department to make the announcement.
“You don’t just get over something like that,” said Marla Scharp’s sister, Leah Scharp. “That is such a huge hole in the family and it can never be replaced.”
Leah Scharp spent 35 years thinking that her sister was murdered by the infamous serial killer Henry Lee Lucas.
Leah Scharp along with the Utah Cold Case Coalition now believes the murderer is someone else, “Her case was closed in 1984 by the confession of Henry Lee Lucas,” according to the Utah Cold Case Coalition.
They recently met with the Provo Police Department to provide new information in the case and ask them to take another look.
“The police department will be reopening and reexamining the 1978 murder of Marla Scharp,” said Karra Porter of the Utah Cold Case Coalition.
26-year-old Marla Scharp was raped and killed in her Provo bedroom. Her roommates had gone to the convenience store.
“They were gone for approximately 30 minutes,” Adrienne Rae, Marla Scharp’s niece, said.
“It’s so outrageous that someone could come in and do that,” said Leah Scharp.
Lucas confessed to the murder and hundreds of others but many of these have since been debunked as was the case Janelle Peet’s father, Donaver Hanna, who was killed in Texas.
“Lucas was working in Florida and physically went to the bank every Friday to cash his paycheck and there is no way he could’ve killed my father,” said Peet. “The Arlington Police Department later determined that Henry Lee Lucas could not have done it.”
In 1985, Lucas wrote a letter recanting his confession of Marla Scharp’s murder.
“Provo at that point declined to reopen that case again,” said Valerie Colgai, Marla Scharp’s cousin.
Recently, her cousin approached the coalition for help reviewing the case. The coalition says they have found forensic evidence that might clear Lucas.
This includes proof that he was fed his confession.
“There were 30 points that were fed to Lucas,” Colgai said.
While the family waits for the findings of the Provo Police Department, they’re hopeful the real killer will be found.
The Provo Police Department confirmed to KSL-TV that they received the information and are actively taking another look into it.
“They have changed our lives in a way that can never be changed back,” said Rei, Marla Scharp’s niece.
Lucas died in a Texas prison in 2001.
In the meantime, the Coalition is asking the public to take a closer look at these pictures of a beer tap which was found under Marla Scharp’s body. They believe it may be the link to the true killer.