MMA fighter wanted in killings captured after escaping van

CONROE, Texas — An MMA fighter suspected of killing two people, including an ex-girlfriend, was captured Sunday after escaping from a prisoner transport van in Texas, authorities said.

Cedric Marks was taken into custody after a nine-hour manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, Conroe police Lt. Scott Spencer said in a tweet Sunday evening.

Marks escaped from the private prison transport van during a stop at a McDonald’s in Conroe about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Houston, police Lt. Dorcy McGinnis said.

McGinnis said murder warrants were issued Sunday for Marks in last month’s killings of an ex-girlfriend, Jenna Scott, and a friend of hers, Michael Swearingin, who disappeared Jan. 4 and were found buried in a shallow grave in Clearview, Oklahoma, on Jan. 15.

Marks was arrested in Michigan last month on a Bell County, Texas, charge alleging that on Aug. 21, he broke into Scott’s home in Temple, which is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Austin. Authorities say he escaped while being transferred to Bell County to face that charge.

Scott requested a protective order against Marks last July, accusing him of choking her unconscious twice, Temple television station KCEN reported.

“Each time he allowed me to regain consciousness and then he choked me out again,” Scott said in an affidavit.

The protective order request was denied.

She also reported to police that Marks had broken into her home in August while her daughter, who was 9, was there. She said he took her cellphone to prevent her from calling 911.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office’s initial tweet about the escape said Marks was facing three “pending murder charges,” but it didn’t immediately respond to requests for further information about those charges.

Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, say Marks remains a person of interest in the 2009 disappearance of April Pease, who was the mother of one of his children. The two were involved in a fierce custody dispute in Washington state and Pease, who had a drug problem, went to live in a Bloomington women’s shelter because she said she was afraid of Marks. Like Scott, Pease alleged that Marks had choked her unconscious on more than one occasion, according to a court custody investigator. Pease went missing in March 2009 and Marks got custody of their son.

Pease’s mother, Dottie Pease, told KCEN last month that she had believed her daughter might have had a drug relapse, but that given the developments in Texas, she thought it was possible that Marks might have had something to do with her daughter’s disappearance.

Two women were arrested in Michigan on charges related to Marks.

Maya Maxwell is charged with evidence tampering and is jailed in Bell County, Texas, on $150,000 bond. According to an arrest affidavit, she told detectives that she drove Swearingin’s vehicle to Austin in an attempt to hide it from investigators. It was found abandoned in the city Jan. 6.

Ginell McDonough, who is Marks’ wife and the mother of two of his two children, is jailed in Muskegon County, Michigan, on an obstruction of justice charge. She is accused of allowing Marks and Maxwell to stay in her home between Jan. 5 and Jan. 9.

Jail records do not list an attorney for either woman.

Marks compiled a record of 31-28-0 during his professional MMA career, which began in 1999, according to mixedmartialarts.com . His last fight was in September.

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