‘Been falling apart.’ Mother of slain Temple man talks about loss


AUSTIN (KXAN) —  The families of two Temple friends found murdered in Oklahoma talk about the harrowing weeks they’ve had since the two went missing, were found dead and the suspect in the case, Cedric Marks, escaped and was on the run for nine hours on Sunday.

“I’ve been falling apart, I’ve been exhausted because I can’t sleep,” Deborah Harrison, Michael Swearingin’s mother said. Her son and his friend Jenna Scott were found dead in shallow graves in Oklahoma after going missing in early January. 

Marks escaped from a transport van Sunday just north of Houston while stopped at a McDonald’s fast food restaurant. He was being transported from Michigan to Bell County. After hours of searching, Marks was found in a trash can a few miles from the restaurant.

A Bell County judge set a $1.5 million bond for the two capital murder charges — $250,000 for a burglary charge and $16,500 for other miscellaneous charges.

“We are grateful he is back in Bell County, we are thankful for all that law enforcement has done, we know we’re in for a long haul and we just ask for continuing prayers and support from the community,” Harrison said. 

Harrison says she knew all along that Marks was going to be charged in connection with her son’s death. 

“I knew it, we knew it was him for a long time, it wasn’t formal but personally I knew it, in my heart and in my gut, I knew it was him,” Harrison said. 

On Monday, Harrison met with the Bell County District Attorney for an hour and a half to discuss trial proceedings. She did not say whether she hopes prosecutors seek the death penalty or if she’ll be testifying.

“We used to watch these cases on Dateline and 2020 and they don’t show the personal side of it and it’s horrific, it’s a nightmare,” Harrison said. “Michael and Jenna are not coming back and that nightmare is still there and they don’t show that on those TV shows.”

Harrison says although this is the worst thing she has ever experienced in her life, she’s thankful for those around her. 

“I would not be standing upright if it wasn’t for the support of the community, co-workers, my friends, and family,” she said. 

Jenna Scott’s father, Jonathan, spoke with KXAN Investigator Brittany Glas Monday night.

“It’s still tough to process, we’re still grieving and were fortunate that Jenna and Michael were found and that this is going to move forward as a murder case, as it should, and we will seek justice at some point in the future for Jenna and Michael,” Scott said. 

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