$20K reward for 1986 Valentine's Day murder case

Valentine's Day 2018 marks 32 years since the murder of a Fort Bend County woman and Crime Stoppers is offering an increased reward to solve this cold case.

The reward is now up to $20,000 for a tip that leads to an arrest.

"Help find the individual or individuals responsible," said Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls during a press conference.

Investigators are hoping that new technology and maybe just one crucial tip could help them solve this Valentine's Day murder.

The case got national attention when it was featured on the television show Unsolved Mysteries.

"That day changed our lives forever," said Diana Burkhart, whose sister's murder remains a unsolved.

Investigators say Marilu Geri's mother, Maria Serrato, found her dead in their Fort Bend County home in the Tealbriar development off of Highway 6. 

Deputies arrived at the home in the 9800 block of Chalford that morning after receiving reports that Marilu Geri was found bleeding and unresponsive. She was transported to Fort Bend Community Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead at that facility. 

"I received a call from my mother that day just ecstatic, screaming through the phone that something had happened to my sister," said Burkhart.

Marilu and her husband had recently moved into the home, which is located north of present-day Sugar Land Airport. The victim worked with her husband, who operated an insurance business from their upscale home.  By all accounts the victim and her husband lived and projected the lifestyle of an affluent couple. 

The victim was to host a party at their home the day of the murder in a combined celebration of Valentine's Day and the birthday of her mother. Marilu discovered the crime as she arrived to help with party preparations. 

"I think my sister was murdered early in the morning; was planned, staged and then that person disappeared to do his alibi's," said Marilu's brother Luis Serrato.

Her husband has said he's innocent and he was never charged.

Investigators say during all these years, they haven't had enough evidence to bring her killer to justice.

"This was a tragic crime that has lingered for more than 30 years," said Sheriff Troy Nehls. "Despite the time frame, we are hoping there are residents who remain in the Houston area or elsewhere who might recall some detail that will lead to an arrest."

"If you can see my mother's face each year when we try to celebrate a holiday and especially her birthday, it's hard; knowing the person who's responsible for this is living their life, enjoying things and not giving a second thought to what they did to our family," said Burkhart.

Fort Bend County Detectives have submitted physical evidence for laboratory examination using the latest in forensic analysis technology.