The complicated case of two missing Temple friends whose bodies were found in Oklahoma

Texas
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (KXAN) — A man accused of burglarizing the home of a missing Temple woman whose body was found Tuesday is in a Michigan jail, along with his wife and his girlfriend, who is a person of interest in the disappearance case, according to an affidavit.

Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were last seen together at Swearingin’s Temple home, and were reported missing Jan. 4. One day later, Swearingin’s car was found in Austin. 

Maya Maxwell became a person of interest in “having last seen Swearingin’s vehicle,” according to an arrest affidavit. She faces tampering with evidence charges. According to a Bell County arrest affidavit, Maxwell told detectives she “knew a criminal offense had been committed, namely theft of Swearingin’s vehicle, and on January 3rd, 2019 she was involved with leaving Swearingin’s vehicle in Austin in hopes to conceal it from law enforcement.”

Maya Maxwell is the current girlfriend of Cedric Marks, 44, who was arrested in Kent County, Michigan, Jan. 8 on a burglary warrant out of Temple related to breaking into his former girlfriend Jenna Scott’s home, Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson confirmed to KXAN sister station WOOD. Marks’ wife, Ginell McDonough, was booked into the Muskegon County Jail on Jan. 11 and faces a harboring a fugitive charge after being accused of hiding Marks. She is said to have allowed Marks to stay in her home from Jan. 5 until Jan. 8 when he was arrested, all while knowing Marks had a warrant for his arrest out of Texas.

According to the chief trial attorney at the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, they were informed Sunday that authorities in Texas had issued charges against Maxwell for tampering with evidence. Maxwell waived extradition Wednesday in Michigan and now, by statute, Texas authorities have 10 days to make arrangements for her extradition. 

Maxwell was taken into custody and booked into the Muskegon County Jail on Jan. 11. 

The Bell County District Attorney explained that Marks was arrested in Grand Rapids Michigan on an outstanding warrant of burglary of a habitation. The DA intended to extradite him, Marks waived extradition and will be transported from Michigan to Bell County “in the immediate future.”

Marks allegedly broke into former girlfriend Scott’s Temple home in August, a few days after she had submitted paperwork to renew a protective order against him, according to court documents. They had previously filed protective orders against each other, and a judge denied her latest protective order on Sept. 17 after a hearing.

The timeline

On July 28, Scott reported in court documents as she filed for her protective order that she had met Marks through a dating app in 2015.  She said that as their relationship progressed, she “became aware of his manipulative and deceitful nature.”

Scott said, “he told me he had killed someone in Oklahoma but that he was able to cover it up and that he could do the same here in Texas.”

According to her signed statement,  Scott said that Marks would threaten her and her family when she would try to break up with him, even choking her to the point where she lost consciousness on two occasions. She also cited an incident where he picked her up and threw her out of his jeep in front of Title Boxing in Killeen. 

“I am terrified of this man,” she said in the court records. “I have just gotten away from him after three years. I need to be protected from this man.” 

On Aug. 10, a Temple Police Officer got a call from Scott who’d gotten an email from Marks asking to talk. That officer filed an affidavit for Marks’ arrest for violating a temporary protective order. 

On Aug. 21, officers were called to Scott’s apartment after she said that Marks had broken into her home and taken her cell phone. After viewing video footage which corroborated this and showed Marks was in violation of a protective order, the Temple Police officer filed an affidavit for Marks’ arrest for interference with an emergency call. 

On July 31, Killeen Police said Marks came in to see them hours after Scott had served him a temporary ex parte (protective) order. At that time, Marks was reporting that Scott had assaulted him in July, court documents showed. However, the police officers found during the investigation that Marks mixed up the dates, times and months of when and where he said this assault happened. 

Initially, Marks had told police Scott’s attack on him was unprovoked, but during the investigation, Killeen Police found that the attack on him happened in January 2016 and was actually provoked by Marks. Killeen Police said in these court records that when Scott broke up with Marks on July 12, 2018, Marks began using these videos as blackmail against her. A Killeen Police officer filed an affidavit for Marks’ arrest in late August for falsely reporting to a peace officer.

On Nov. 9, a Temple Police officer filed an affidavit for Mark’s arrest for burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit another felony. This officer was assigned to investigate the burglary that happened at Scott’s home back on Aug. 21. Scott told officers she was in her home with her child when Marks showed up in her living room, threw her phone out of reach and threatened her. 

Former girlfriends disappeared

As of Wednesday afternoon, Temple Police said that Marks has not been identified as a person of interest in Scott and Swearingin’s homicides.

On Tuesday, Temple officials said they believed they may have found Scott’s and her friend Michael Swearingin’s bodies in Oklahoma, although they are waiting on a positive identification.

As of Wednesday evening, Michael Swearingin’s family told KXAN that they’d been contacted by police who’d explained that Swearingin’s fingerprints matched those of one of the bodies found in Oklahoma. 

Marks has also not been identified as a person of interest or a suspect in the case of his former girlfriend’s disappearance in 2009 in Minnesota. April Pease disappeared in September 2009. She and Marks had a child together. Officials from the Bloomington Police Department in Minnesota said Tuesday they were in contact with Texas law enforcement.

Marks’ had custody of his child with Pease as well as his child with his wife, McDonough. Both children are safe, Michigan officials confirmed. They told KXAN that the children are not in state custody, but that arrangements were made for them to stay with friends or relatives. 

Marks’ time in Killeen

Neighbors at Marks’ listed residence in Killeen told KXAN  Wednesday that they thought of him as someone who kept to himself and was really into fitness. Many neighbors said they remembered seeing him in the neighborhood, though they all said it has been several months since he lived there. 

“Last year, I would say August, July, was probably the last time I have seen him on the streets,” said Melvin Houston, who used to live next door to Marks. 

Houston explained that Marks had lived in this neighborhood twice at homes just a few doors apart. Each time, Houston recalled that Marks only lived there for about a year. 

Houston referred to Marks as “the Kung Fu guy” because he associated Marks with his affinity for the martial arts and recalled how Marks would tell neighbors if he would be participating in a fight that they could watch.  

The primary place Houston saw Marks was in his garage or driveway where he worked training military members.

“He was a family guy, he was more to himself, he was more into training, getting soldiers ready to deploy, that what was he was about,” Houston said. 

Houston said that both times Marks moved into the neighborhood, he was living with two young women and two young boys. Houston didn’t know how exactly they were all related. KXAN showed Houston a photo of Jenna Scott, he said that he didn’t recognize her as a person Marks lived with or had over. 

Houston said he never saw anything behavior that seemed violent from Marks. 

“My neighbors down the street were kind of in awe with what happened, you know. We couldn’t believe that that kind of thing goes on but it happens,” he said of seeing Marks’ face in the news this week. 

Marks worked at Title Boxing in Killeen. KWTX even ran a report of him in 2018 teaching a women’s self-defense class there.

Title Boxing told KXAN’s sister station in Waco last week that Marks had been out on personal leave for a few months. 

Title boxing employees told KXAN on Wednesday that itvhad been legally advised not to comment. 

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