Docs: Woman jailed in Muskegon dumped dead man’s car

Muskegon County
maya maxwell booking photo 011719

MUSKEGON, Mich. (KXAN/WOOD) — A woman in the Muskegon County jail helped dump a dead man’s vehicle in Austin, Texas, authorities say.

Maya Maxwell is facing a charge of tampering with evidence in the disappearance of Michael Swearingin. On Thursday, police in Temple, Texas confirmed they found Swearingin’s body in Oklahoma, along with the body of 28-year-old Jenna Scott.

Maxwell is the girlfriend of 44-year-old Cedric Marks. Marks, who previously dated Scott, was arrested on Jan. 8 in Grand Rapids for allegedly breaking into Scott’s Temple, Texas home in August. KXAN reports the crime happened a few days after Scott filed to renew her personal protection order against Marks, which a judge denied Sept. 17.

Maxwelll was booked into the Muskegon County jail three days after Marks.

According to a Bell County arrest affidavit obtained by KXAN, Maxwell became a person of interest in the case for “having last seen Swearingin’s vehicle.” The affidavit says Maxwell told detectives she knew Swearingin’s vehicle had been stolen and that she helped dump it in Austin on Jan. 3 “in hopes to conceal it from law enforcement.”

So far Temple police have not identified Marks as a person of interest in Scott and Swearingin’s homicides.

‘I AM TERRIFIED OF THIS MAN’

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

“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,” she stated in the filing.

In her signed statement, Scott said 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 the Killeen, Texas boxing club where he worked.

“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.” 

Three days after the filing, Killeen police said Marks came and reported Scott had assaulted him in July, court documents showed. However, the police officers found during the investigation that Marks mixed up when and where he said the assault happened. Additionally, Killeen police found that the attack that happened in January 2016 was provoked by Marks. The incident led an officer to file an affidavit for Marks’ arrest for falsely reporting to a peace officer.

On Aug. 10, a Temple 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. 

Eleven days later, officers were called to Scott’s apartment after she said Marks had broken into her home and taken her cell phone. 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. 

Video of the incident backed up Scott’s story. Police requested charged interference with an emergency call and burglary with intent to commit another felony.

EX-GIRLFRIEND’S DISAPPEARANCE

Police have also not identified Marksas a person of interest or a suspect in the case of his former girlfriend’s disappearance. 

April Pease disappeared from Bloomington, Minnesota in March 17, 2009. Family members say she moved there for a substance abuse program and to get away from Marks.

When asked about Marks’ potential connection to her daughter’s disappearance, Cedar Springs native Dottie Pease said she cannot rule it out.

Officials from the Bloomington Police Department in Minnesota said Tuesday they were in contact with Texas law enforcement.

FAMILY TIES

Marks’ had custody of his son with Pease as well as his child with his wife, Ginell McDonough.

McDonough is charged with harboring a fugitive by allowing Marks to stay in her home from Jan. 5 until his Jan. 8 arrest, knowing he was wanted in Texas.

Muskegon County Prosecutor DJ Hilson says both children are safe. Michigan officials told KXAN that the children are not in state custody, but that arrangements were made for them to stay with friends or relatives. 

The original version of this story was first published on KXAN’s website.

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