BELTON, Texas (KWTX) Two Central Texas families, whose lives were forever change when their loved ones were found dead, spoke out Monday afternoon.
Credit: Bell County Jail Photo, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office
The father of Jenna Scott, Jonathan Scott, and the mother of Michael Swearingin, Deborah Daniel Harrison, both spoke with KWTX after meeting with the Bell County District Attorney. That meeting was held hours after the man charged with killing their children returned to Bell County.
Both said they were relieved Cedric Marks was caught, nine hours after he escaped custody north of Houston on Sunday.
“He is a very capable individual and is not to be underestimated,” Scott said, after his meeting with the DA.
Swearingin’s mother said they are preparing for a long journey ahead.
“What else could go wrong. We are grateful he is back in Bell County,” Harrison said. “We are grateful for all law enforcement has done. We know we are in for a long haul.”
Marks, the man at the center of the case, involving the two friends disappearance and death was booked into the county jail late Sunday night.
It was not until Sunday, that according to a press release from Conroe Police, Marks had active murder warrants out for his arrest, related to the disappearance and deaths of Jenna Scott and Michael Swearingin.
It was the first time a law enforcement agency tied Marks to the murders.
“We knew it was him for a long time. It was not formal, but personally I knew it,” Harrison said.
He is also facing a third murder charge, but it is unclear whom that is connected to.
Marks had been in transport from Michigan since Jan. 31.
His bonds total $1,766,500.
Online records showed his bond was set at $16,500 on charges of interference with an emergency call, making a false police report and violation of a protection order.
The two biggest charges carry the highest bonds.
Maj. TJ Cruz with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department said bond for the burglary charge is $250,000 and the murder of multiple persons is carrying a bond of $1.5 million.
Short-lived break for freedom
In his final hours of transport, Marks was able to make an escape from the van that he was in. According to the Montgomery County Sheriff Facebook Page, he escaped in the 800 block of N. Loop 336 in Conroe.
Lt. Scott Spencer with the MCSO said Marks was not in their custody, and that the private transport company that was transporting him stopped for food when he made his escape.
According to Conroe police, there were two guards in the van transporting 10 prisoners and only one of the guards got out to get food.
It is unclear how Marks was able to escape.
Cameras on a nearby business captured the moments Marks wandered around, looking for a place to hide.
Law enforcement response was intense, video showed multiple police officers and sheriff's deputies running in a parking lot of nearby Walmart, as well as the shoulder of Interstate 45 with police K9's.
The company that was transporting Marks, and the other prisoners, was Texas Prisoner Transport Services.
According to the company's website, they transport all level of offenders and their guards are armed and "all of TPTS ‘s vehicles are equipped with a 12-gauge Mossburg shotgun. Each transportation specialist carries a pepper spray canister as well. In the state of Texas, TPTS transportation specialist are licensed to carry handguns, as required by state law."
As for moving detainees, the company website states, "all detainees/prisoners moved by TPTS transportation specialist are moved in full restraints (waist chains, leg irons and handcuffs). We interconnect prisoners for additional security. All transportation specialists are fully trained on the appropriate use of traditional metal restraints."
It is unknown of restrained Marks was at the time of his escape.
Bell County Judge David Blackburn said Monday they county contracted the company in 2016 and it expires in Aug. 2019.
Repeated calls and requests for comment from people at the businesses Taylor office were not responded to.
Background on the case
Marks, 44, who calls himself “Spiderman” when in the MMA cage, has been all over the country during his adult life, records show.
In 2017, Marks' mixed martial arts career ended and he started teaching it in Killeen.
He met Jenna Scott and, after a rough two years, she asked a judge for protection saying, "Marks threatens and hurts me and told me he had gotten away with murder before,” records show.
Scott and her close friend Swearingin were last heard from on Jan. 4. Swearingin’s car was later found south in Austin.
Their bodies were found 12 days later in rural Oklahoma.
Marks was arrested in Michigan just a couple days later with another girlfriend.
Maya Renee Maxwell, 26, who was arrested on January 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 released Wednesday says.
Maxwell was returned to Bell County late Tuesday night and Marks’ legal wife remains in jail in Michigan.