April Pease disappeared in 2009 during a custody battle with Cedric Marks over their child. Marks has not been named a suspect in her disappearance, but her case has gotten more attention since he was arrested and then escaped custody today in Conroe, Texas.
1. Cedric Marks Has Three ‘Pending’ Murder Charges, & He Escaped Custody During Prison Transport in Conroe, Texas
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said that three murder charges are “pending” against Marks, but did not specify who is connected to those charges. This is the first time law enforcement said anything about pending murder charges involving Marks.
Marks was arrested in Michigan for burglary charges in Texas, and he had been in transport to Texas from Michigan since January 31, KWTX reported. A private transport company called Texas Prisoners Transport Services was overseeing his move, and he escaped while they stopped for food early Sunday morning.
The escape happened on 801 N. Loop 336 W at a McDonald’s in Conroe. Police are asking residents in that area to stay indoors. Marks was wearing an orange jumpsuit, no shirt, and had restraints when he escaped. He escaped on foot, authorities said, and was moving in an eastern direction.
He had been arrested for burglarizing Jenna Scott’s home in Temple, Texas — a former girlfriend he briefly dated. Scott and her friend, Michael Swearingin, disappeared in early January. Their bodies were found buried in Oklahoma nearly two weeks later.
2. April Pease Disappeared in 2009 During an Intense Custody Battle with Marks
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 in January that 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 assessment. But when Pease disappeared, Marks was granted temporary custody in 2009.
According to the Charley Project page about her, Pease was last seen in March 2009 in Bloomington, Minnesota. She was born on February 15, 1979, and was 30 when she disappeared. She had just moved to Minnesota for treatment for her addiction. Her mother said that her daughter had been clean for several months and was doing well when she disappeared.
3. Marks Wrote a Letter About Pease on a WordPress Blog in 2008
On November 1, 2008, Marks wrote a letter on WordPress about April Pease. The subject line reads, “A letter to the kidnappers of my son….” and is the only post on that blog.
In the long post, he describes the custody battle with Pease in detail. At the end of the blog he writes, “Anyway, I simply wanted you to know my side also. Again, I’m making NO attempt at contacting April, I don’t know that she’s there, only that this organization helped to move her. I wanted you all to know that this person, this woman is NOT one of the true victims in need. I’m risking two different court cases by even contacting you, but I’m doing it to let my side be heard. Thank you for reading…. I sent this letter out of pure frustration to ‘New Beginnings’ womens shelter in Seattle, WA. I’m indigent at this moment because I’ve spent all the resources for the past 2 months since this has happened…”
Marks posted the same letter on an MMA forum he frequently visited.
4. Pease Was Granted Custody on March 2, 2009, & then Marks Was Given Custody After She Disappeared. Read the Court Documents Below.
According to court documents, Pease was granted custody on March 2, 2009. Then a superseding order allowing placement with Marks was granted on March 20 when she disappeared. An “Order Allowing Continued Placement” with Marks was then entered on March 30, 2009, when Pease was still not heard from. The original order, on March 2, had ruled that Marks shouldn’t have contact with Pease or the child by phone or telephone, but he could write letters. The court also said that Pease needed to help the child draw pictures to send to Marks. Pease was ordered to have a supervised urinalysis on March 4, 2009, with results provided to the court. You can read the full court documents, provided by KCEN, above.
5. Marks’ GirlfriendSaid She Took Swearingin’s Car & Left It in Austin. Swearingin’s Body Was Found in Oklahoma.
Maya Maxwell, 26, is facing criminal charges for obstructing justice and tampering with evidence, MLive reported. She was arrested in Michigan, where Marks was also arrested, and was later extradited to Bell County, Texas.
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. Michael Swearingin’s and Jenna Scott’s bodies were found buried in Oklahoma. They disappeared in Temple, and authorities were confused when Michael’s car was found abandoned in Austin, Texas. Scott had previously filed a protective order against Cedric Marks.
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. … Her bond is set at $150,000.”
Ginell McDonough, 37, was also arrested in Michigan. She and Marks have been married since 2002 and she told authorities that she’s an Army Staff Sergeant. Charges against her included harboring a fugitive. McDonough’s bond was set at $75,000.