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A Valentine’s Day Murder — February 2007

Jodine Serrin - 14th February 2007. 

It was a brutal case of rape and murder to a young woman with her own vulnerabilities. What made the case even stranger is that Jodine’s parents had been there and walked in at the time of the attack, unbeknownst to them that their daughter was dead.

The case went unsolved for a decade but we now know who the killer is thanks to DNA advances and the detective’s efforts — but we still don’t know why and we’ll never know-how.

The mystery ceases to be a whodunit but mysteries remain and there are answers that will never be obtained by the living.

Jodine was a vulnerable woman with disabilities with some reports stating schizophrenia and learning difficulties — however, she was also self-sufficient and independent enough and had her own apartment, and her own active life, including a busy social life.

Jodine was 39-years of age in 2007 when she died.

She lived in the American town of Carlsbad in California. And despite her troubles, she was a credit to her parents and had a very close relationship with her mother and father Art and Lois Serrin.

Jodine lived alone in a condominium on the 1900 block of Swallow Lane. Despite her independence, she still needed her parents for many day-to-day tasks including driving to appointments. Jodine was close to her parents and always picked up the phone whenever they called.

Jodine was active in various charities locally, including working for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Jodine was described as sweet, shy and quiet within her community.

On February 14th 2007 Jodine’s parents celebrated Valentine’s day and went for dinner. On the way home, they stopped by Jodine’s. Lois Serrin admitted to having a feeling that she couldn’t quite shake — call it mother’s intuition.

When Jodine didn’t answer the door, Art and Lois let themselves in with a spare key, but the door remained still on the latch. Art Serrin had to force the door open and smash his way in, breaking the lock in the process.

Everything seemed normal… Lois said.

The lights were on and nothing was ransacked about the place. When they went into Jodine’s bedroom, they were embarrassed to say the very least. They saw Jodine naked with a man atop her having sex. Assuming they had interrupted an intimate moment, they left the room and waited. They politely asked the man to get dressed. But as the minutes went by and nobody came out, Art went back into the bedroom and saw that the man had left.

Jodine was dead on the bed, her body in a violent sprawl.

And what was later discovered was that Jodine had been dead for a while, four hours in fact (revealed during the autopsy). And the man on top of her had disappeared.

Jodine was dead, lifeless and seemingly raped and murdered. She’d been bludgeoned and strangled — and her own parents had witnessed their daughter’s necrophilic rape.

Investigators saw no forced entry or exit for the killer. No windows had been smashed, the only door broken into had been done by Art Serrin and the killer had brazenly walked through the front door when making his escape (with the parents probably too embarrassed to notice). Nothing was missing in the apartment and there was no evidence of a robbery. The police collected DNA but at the time there were no matches and the killer wasn’t found.

One of Jodine’s neighbours would tell the police that she saw a man running down the embankment near her apartment that same night and due to the speed he was running at — she couldn’t see his face. Jodine’s parents couldn’t see the same man, as it was dark and obscured when they entered the apartment and that man had snuck out so quickly and into the night.

It seemed apparent that Jodine had willingly opened the door to her killer and thus, very possibly, knew the killer. Art had told the police that he may have recognised the man from Jodine’s circle of friends, as he vaguely recognised the man.

However; there was nothing for a decade.

Investigators teamed with Parabon NanoLabs and as a result of the innovative technology, they could recreate a digital image of the suspect through the genetic material found. They could replicate skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, gender and ancestry. They pinpointed the killer to a man in his 30s or 40s and of European (Caucasian) descent and they could pinpoint their first suspect…

David Mabrito.

In November 2018, David Mabrito was identified as the emerging suspect in the rape and murder. However; a further twist in the tale emerged when it was discovered that Mabrito had killed himself four years after the murder in 2011. David had escaped justice and left behind a wife and child.

It was David’s ex-wife and son Dylan who aided the case by giving their DNA to law enforcement and conclusively proving that David Marbito was the killer and it was Genealogy to the rescue but it would be extreme to label the case “solved” because we don’t know what David was doing there, whether he knew Jodine Serrin, and how he managed to gain entry and why he killed a beautiful young woman and committed such unspeakable ills as her parents watched, all carried out on Valentine’s Day.


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