Mary Futrill Petersen
23 Years Old

June 19, 1982 to November 13, 2005

Mary, our only child was born at Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville in October 1966 and attended private Schools until her senior year where she attended Fernandina Beach High so as to graduate with her cousin Sherry. She began her career soon after at Brooks Rehab, a part of Memorial Hospital where she remained 17 years until her death. During this time she married C. Don Petersen Jr. of Fort Lauderdale and had two children Donnie & Rachel. While raising the children and keeping and decorating her home, she attended the University of North Florida and earned a Bachelors degree in accounting in 1999. Her plans were to begin studies for her masters degree. At Brooks Rehab she had progressed to the position of corporate accounting manager and was in the process of accepting the next promotion. Her marriage unfortunately was breaking up due to emotional and physical abuse from her husband.

Mary enjoyed more than anything her children and spent all her free time with little league, music lessons, and school activities. Rachel had just reached the age for dance lessons and was enrolled a few days before Mary was murdered. Mary loved bargain shopping with her mother and her many friends. She loved good food and was an excellent cook.

There could never have been a more loving and devoted wife and mother than Mary or a more devoted daughter. This community lost a great citizen that day in May. The world is a different place today for her family and all that knew her. Brooks Rehab dedicated in loving memory a stained glass window in the hospital chapel in loving memory to her. The one most important thing we all leave behind in this life is memories. Everyone whose life Mary touched in her short time here would agree that the memory vault that holds the smiles runs over.


Mary Futrill Petersen was found in her bed by her young son, Donnie. He went into her bedroom because she had not woken them up that morning to find that she was not breathing. He went to call 911 and took his younger sister to the neighbor’s house. There was no forced entry into the house and her car was found a mile from the house.

Mary’s death remains a mystery. The death certificate indicated strangulation was the cause of death although (according to a neighbor who was first on the scene) there were no marks on her body. Many questions remain unanswered: How did the murderer get into the house when the childproof locks were still in place? Who took Mary’s car and abandoned it a mile away? Where is the clue that will link this heinous crime to the killer?

The family can only hope and pray that someone, somewhere will come forward with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for shattering the lives of this family. If you know anything that might help solve this murder, please call JSO Detective David Smith at (904) 630-2172.

Since the murder, Mary’s estranged husband, has refused a polygraph and refused to give a DNA sample. The case remains unsolved for lack of hard evidence and is still under investigation.

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Mary Petersen