The bodies of Michael Swearingin and Jenna Scott were preliminarily identified on property in Oklahoma. But the heartbreaking update in their missing persons case is only leaving more questions. Although Scott’s ex-boyfriend was arrested on burglary charges, he has not been named as a suspect in her and Swearingin’s deaths. The mystery has deepened and Swearingin’s and Scott’s families are wanting answers. Here is the latest information on the case that we know so far.
1. Jenna Scott & Michael Swearingin Were Preliminarily Identified as Deceased in Oklahoma
The Temple Police Department shared on January 15 that the bodies of Michael and Jenna were recovered by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. Preliminary findings indicated the bodies were Swearingin and Scott, although they were not officially identified. Their families confirmed the identifications on public posts.
It’s not clear exactly how Temple Police traced their location to Oklahoma or why they were there. Temple Police wrote online on January 15: “On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, detectives from the Temple Police Department obtained information relating to the investigation into the disappearance of Jenna Scott, 28, and Michael Swearingin, 32. This information led Temple Detectives to an area in Oklahoma.”
The bodies were found on property at E 1140 Road, five miles east of State Highway 27, Fox 17 reported. The property in Clearview, Oklahoma belongs to Walter Shannon, KCENTV reported. Shannon told KCENTV that he doesn’t know anything about what happened.
Jenna Scott’s ex-boyfriend, Cedric Marks, has family in Clearview, but Marks has not been named a suspect, KCENTV reported. His cousin, Shirley Nero, is the town’s historian. Nero told KCENTV that Marks’ dad grew up in Clearview and they have a family reunion there every year.
2. Strange Texts Were Sent from Swearingin’s Phone & Swearingin’s Car Was Found Abandoned in Austin. Cedric Marks’ Girlfriend Told Police That She Took Swearingin’s Car.
Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were from Temple, Texas. They were last heard from around 3 a.m. on Friday, January 4 under suspicious circumstances. Richie Davis, Swearingin’s close friend, wrote on Facebook that messages were sent from Michael’s phone around 3 a.m. Friday, January 4, that “were not him but were trying to pretend to be him.”
Swearingin was last seen at 4:10 p.m. on Thursday, January 3 and Scott was last seen that same day at 4:38 p.m., TDTNews reported. Swearingin’s gray Hyundai Genesis was found on East 12th Street and Poquito Street, KXAN reported. The map above shows roughly where the car was found. Michael’s phone was found a block away, KCENTV noted.
The car was found by friends using tracking services. Jenna Scott’s brother Talon Scott said on Facebook that the car was seen with the doors unlocked and in a neighborhood they would not have gone to. Richie Davis said on Facebook that the car had been parked with the doors unlocked for more than 24 hours before they found it. Davis said the phone stopped tracking around the corner from where the car was found.
Friends weren’t sure if they had gone to Austin to visit friends or if they were taken there against their will. Scott’s friend, Kim Martin, told KXAN that Scott used to visit Austin frequently. “Her disappearance is really out of character,” she said.
When Jenna Scott’s ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend, Maya Maxwell, was arrested, she revealed what happened to the car. A Temple arrest affidavit revealed that Maxwell voluntarily shared that she had stolen Swearingin’s car and drove it to Austin, attempting to hide it from law enforcement, KCENTV reported.
3. Security Equipment Went Missing from Michael’s Home
On January 7, Swearingin’s friend Richie Davis wrote on Facebook that security footage was deleted at Swearingin’s home, which left Swearingin’s friends suspicious. Davis confirmed this with TDTNews. “We suspect foul play inside of (Swearingin’s) house based on the security updates,” he said. “However, all footage was completely deleted from his home computer around 8:30 p.m. and the camera was shut off.”
CBS Austin later clarified that the security equipment from Swearingin’s home had gone missing. A source told CBS that the home surveillance equipment was missing from Swearingin’s Temple home, and investigators were looking into whether foul play had happened at that address.
Scott’s younger brother, Talon Scott, said from the beginning that he thought foul play was involved in their disappearance. On his Facebook page, Talon shared, “I personally believe this is a kidnapping/hostage or worse situation. If you see this status I at least ask you to share it and if so inclined, call the Texas Rangers and let them know that loved members of the community are missing. Any help given is greatly appreciated by myself and the family and friends of these beautiful souls.”
Swearingin’s mother, Deborah Daniel-Harrison, clarified on a public Facebook post that Michael and Jenna were friends and they were not dating. Swearingin was in a serious relationship with a woman he deeply loved, his friend Davis said on Facebook, and was always ready to help his friends no matter what.
4. Scott’s Ex-Boyfriend Was Arrested for Burglarizing Her Home, & His Previous Ex-Girlfriend Went Missing in 2009. He Has Not Been Named a Suspect in Either Case.
Cedric Marks, 44, Jenna Scott’s ex-boyfriend, has not been named as a suspect in her disappearance. But while she was missing, he was arrested in Michigan on January 8 for burglarizing Scott’s home in October 2018, Fox 17 reported. He is awaiting extradition to Texas.
WFAA reported that Scott had filed a protective order in July 2018 against Marks, whom she had met on Tinder and dated. The protective order, which you can read here, alleged that her ex-boyfriend was violent and had broken into her home. According to KDH News, Marks was previously arrested in August 2018 for violating Scott’s protective order and posted $10,000 bond. His January arrest was connected to a burglary of Scott’s home in late August. The arrest warrant was issued November 9, 2018 by Bell County Justice of the Peace, and Marks was arrested in Grand Rapids, Michigan, KXAN reported. Scott was denied a request for a new protective order in September.
Marks’ former girlfriend, April Pease, has been missing since 2009 in Minnesota. They were in a custody battle over their son when she disappeared, The Daily Mail reported. He was questioned but not arrested. Bloomington Police Public Information Officer Mike Hartlsey said they were looking at Marks as a possible person of interest in Pease’s case, KCENTV reported, but he’s not considered a suspect.
Dottie Pease, April’s mother, said she struggled with substance abuse and had moved to Minnesota to seek treatment and get away from Marks, KXAN reported.
KCENTV reported that Pease had been afraid of Marks and moved to a place for domestic abuse victims to get away. Court documents noted that Pease had a drug addiction that affected her children’s safety. The court granted Pease custody and ordered Marks to have a domestic violence assessement. But when Pease disappeared, Marks was granted temporary custody in 2009.
Marks’ criminal record includes arrests for interfering with a 911 call, harassment, threats, bad checks, assault and battery, armed robbery, and disorderly conduct, The Daily Mail reported. He has been arrested in Texas, Washington, and Oklahoma before the Michigan arrest.
Marks told KCENTV on the phone that he had nothing to do with Scott’s disappearance, and he was saddened by what had happened. “Not only do I have no history of violence towards women or children, I teach free women’s assault programs or did before I went on the run away from her,” he told KCENTV.
5. Marks’ Wife & Girlfriend Are Facing Criminal Charges for Harboring a Fugitive (Marks) & Tampering with Evidence
Ginelle McDonough, 37, Marks’ wife, and Maya Maxwell, 26, are facing criminal charges for harboring Marks, MLive reported. They appeared in Muskegon County District Court on Wednesday, charged with obstructing justice, tampering with evidence, and harboring a fugitive. MLive reported that McDonough was Marks’ wife. She was arrested on January 11. McDonough is an Army Staff Sergeant, KCENTV reported.
Maxwell, MLive reported, is Marks’ girlfriend and was arrested with Marks on January 8. (However, KCENTV said she was arrested on January 11.) Maxwell is being extradited to Texas. Officials have said that they are examining cell phones and computers for evidence. She told police that she took Swearingin’s car and abandoned it in Austin in an attempt to prevent law enforcement from finding the car.
Prosecutors alleged that Marks was at Maxwell’s home from January 5 to January 9, KCENTV reported. McDonough has said that she and Marks were married in October 2003.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told Fox 44 the following: “Maya Rene Maxwell has been charged with the 3rd degree felony offense of Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence arising out of Bell County, Texas. She was arrested in Michigan, and is awaiting extradition to Bell County, Texas. The expected date of return is in the immediate future. Her bond is set at $150,000.”
The families of the victims are offering a reward with the hope that someone will come forward with information.