Report: Slain Temple woman’s death ‘violent, unnatural, unusual’

Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin
Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin(KWTX)
Published: Apr. 19, 2019 at 11:00 AM CDT
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A full report released Friday on the findings of an autopsy on a Temple woman found buried in a clandestine grave in Oklahoma along with the body of a longtime friend confirms the cause of death was “homicidal violence,” but provides few clues about how she may have been killed.

Authorities found the bodies of Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend Michael Swearingin, 32, on Jan. 15 in rural Okfusee County, Okla., 12 days after they disappeared.

Swearingin was strangled and likely died of asphyxiation, according to an autopsy report that the Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner released earlier this month.

Contusions and abrasions were found on his hands, suggesting he struggled with his attacker.

The report released Friday describes the means of Scott’s death as “violent, unnatural, unusual,” but doesn’t identify a specific cause.

The report shows that the medical examiner found black adhesive residue on Scott’s face and neck; rib fractures with hemorrhage; and contusions and abrasions on her wrists and ankles, suggesting that the victim’s mouth was taped, her arms and legs were bound and that she was beaten.

“The opinion as the cause and manner of death is based on the information available at the date of this report. If additional objective, probative information becomes available, I reserve the right to consider such information and, if appropriate, amend the report, including the cause and manner of death,” Dr. Lisa Barton wrote.

Scott’s ex-boyfriend, Cedric Marks, 44, was indicted on April 3 on one count of capital murder in connection with their deaths.

He was arrested on Jan. 8 in Kent County, Mich., on a Temple burglary warrant stemming from a break-in on Aug. 21, 2018 at Scott’s home.

Maya Renee Maxwell, 26, who’s accused of helping abandon Swearingin’s vehicle in an effort to hide it from authorities was also named in a capital murder indictment on April 3.

She was indicted on March 27 for tampering with evidence.

Maxwell, who was arrested on Jan. 11 in Muskegon on a Bell County warrant charging tampering with evidence, admitted that “she was involved with leaving Swearingin’s vehicle in Austin in hopes to conceal it from law enforcement, a warrant affidavit says.

She was present on Jan. 3 at a home in Killeen when Swearingin and Scott were killed, according to an affidavit.

"Maxwell said that both Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin were alive at the time they were brought to the Killeen residence," the affidavit says.

"Marks then entered the room where Michael Swearingin was located and when Marks left the room, Michael Swearingin was deceased," the affidavit says.

"Marks then entered the room where Jenna Scott was located, and when he left that room, Maxwell reported that Jenna Scott was deceased," the affidavit said.

"Maxwell reported that she heard a struggle when Marks entered the rooms with both individuals," the affidavit said.

She provided information about where the bodies of the two friends were buried, the affidavit says.

Marks was named in a capital murder warrant in connection with the killings on Feb. 3, the same day he escaped from a prisoner transport van in Conroe.

He was on the run for about nine hours before he was recaptured.

He remains in the Bell County Jail in lieu of bonds totaling more than $1.75 million.

He's also charged with interference with an emergency call, false report, and violation of a protective order, according to online records.

Maxwell is held in lieu of $500,000 bond.