CONROE, Texas – After a nine-hour manhunt, authorities captured a prisoner who escaped from a private prisoner transportation company.
Cedric Joseph Marks, 44, was found hiding in the trash can in the backyard of a home located in the 1000 block of Windswept Drive.
The MMA fighter, who is considered dangerous and accused of killing at least two people, was hiding less than a mile from the McDonald's where he initially escaped from.
Marks and nine other prisoners were aboard a van operated by Texas Prisoners Transport Services when they stopped at the McDonald's in the 800 block of North Loop 336 West.
“There were two guards and 10 prisoners in the van when they stopped at McDonald's on the north loop to feed the prisoners, and at that time, Cedric Joseph Marks was able to escape the van and fled south of the location,” explained Conroe Police Chief Jeff Christy.
He said there was only one guard in the van at the time of Marks' escape. At 7:20 a.m., Conroe Police received a phone call from the transportation company that an inmate had escaped.
Video from a nearby restaurant, time-stamped at about 7:19 a.m., appears to show Marks briskly walking down an ally in an orange jumpsuit.
Marks was originally captured in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by U.S. marshal’s on a warrant regarding burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony in Temple, Texas. The 44-year-old, who is also an MMA fighter, had a warrant out in connection with the murder of two people from Temple, Texas, which included an ex-girlfriend.
"We urge our citizens to allow law enforcement to conduct this investigation and do not attempt to assist or search for Cedric Marks," said Lt. Dorcy McGinnis, of the Conroe Police Department, early in the day when Marks was nowhere to be found.
Law enforcement urged people in the north area of Conroe between Texas 105 and North Loop 336 to stay indoors and avoid the area until it was safe.
Officers were on the ground and in the air. They brought in K-9s and a drone. Conroe police said 17 local, state and federal agencies were on the case, Christy said.
“After an extensive K-9 search and new video surveillance emerged, law enforcement regrouped and began a grid search from the original location,” explained Christy.
Officers made their way to the intersection of Timberlane and Windswept Drive around 4 p.m. It was around that time that a homeowner, who had been out of town, arrived at his garage, saw the police presence and asked his neighbor what was happening.
“At that time, I saw officers with a K-9, and I flagged them down and I asked them to sweep my backyard,” said the neighbor, who wanted to conceal his identity. “And so that’s when they caught him in my backyard. The prisoner didn’t fight back or anything, he was in the trash can. All the officers came and arrested him, took some photos back there, but the prisoner was quiet the whole time.”
“He threw his hands up as far as he could and surrendered. He was worn out,” explained Christy. “He was squatting in a 55-gallon trash can all day, he was pretty tired.”
Marks was taken into custody around 4:40 p.m., at which point some neighbors started cheering.
“They did a good job, and I know they’re observant because they didn’t eat anything. They were working hard and finding the person,” said Darwin Lopez, who lives on the street.
Detectives are currently interviewing Marks, along with the nine other prisoners and two guards.
Christy said once the investigation is complete, the findings will be presented to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
The question remains, how did Marks get out of the restraints?
“He had leg restraints and hand restraints that were attached, the three together. It’s unknown at this time how many of those were connected when he escaped, or how he was able to remove any of those if so,” said Christy, who explained Marks had belly restraints on as well.
KPRC Channel 2 News reached out to Texas Prisoner Transportation Services and left a message.
The private company is based in Taylor, Texas, and advertises on its website that it provides nationwide transports.
The company, which started in 2011, states on its website that all “transportation specialists,” are trained on how to use traditional metal restraints.
Officials with the company state, “All detainees/prisoners moved by TPTS transportation specialist(s) are moved in full restraints (waist chains, leg irons and handcuffs). We interconnect prisoners for additional security.”
THE ORIGINAL ALLEGATIONS
Marks was en route to Bell County as he was being extradited from Michigan to face allegations of burglarizing the home of a former girlfriend, Jenna Scott, according to KCEN-TV.
The burglary was in August of last year, and according to an affidavit, the two had investigations against each other for assault-family violence crimes in Killeen.
Scott told police during one incident when Marks was not allowed to be in her home, he became upset about attempts to call 911 and threatened her, the affidavit stated.
The affidavit said that he told Scott, "You know what I am capable of... your entire family and all of your friends will need witness protection if you call the police."
Court records said Marks threatened Scott every time she attempted to end the relationship.
However, Scott and her boyfriend, Michael Swearingin, were both found dead Jan. 15 in rural Oklahoma after being missing for a couple of weeks, KCEN-TV is reporting.
Recently, Maya Maxwell was also extradited back to Texas from Michigan on a charge related to their disappearance. KCEN-TV said Maxwell is accused of taking Swearingin's car to Austin in an attempt to hide it.
Marks' wife, Ginell McDonough, is facing charges of harboring a fugitive, as she's accused of allowing Marks and Maxwell to stay with her while authorities were looking for them, KCEN-TV said.
Later, McGinnis said Marks has warrants for the murders of Scott and Swearingin.
WATCH THE NEWS CONFERENCE ABOUT MARKS ESCAPE:
An ex-girlfriend of Marks, Amanda Pease, has been missing since 2009 in Bloomington, Minnesota. According to reports out of Central Texas, the Scott and Swearingin cases have Bloomington police taking a second look at Marks, although he had an alibi 10 years ago.
Marks has been a longtime MMA fighter. According to tapology.com, an MMA news website, Marks was known as "Spiderman" when he was fighting professionally. His last fight was in September of last year.