A man suspected of killing two people in Texas has been charged in a previously unsolved slaying of a woman who was abducted from a Bloomington domestic violence shelter 11 years ago, authorities said Monday.
Hennepin County prosecutors on Monday filed a second-degree murder charge against Cedrick Marks, 45, of Killeen, Texas, in the 2009 death of April Pease, who was the mother of one of his children.
Marks is also suspected in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and another man and remains in a Texas jail in lieu of $2 million bbail in that case.
Prosecutors said that the case against Marks dates back to shortly after Pease disappeared on March 16, 2009. A criminal complaint filed in district court says that Bloomington detectives flew to Washington state in January to interview her mother, who told them that Marks was abusive even after her daughter left him. She said he managed to find her at a women’s shelter in Seattle, where she was seeking treatment for drug addiction.
The complaint said that Bloomington investigators also spoke to one of Marks’ wives and one of his girlfriends, Kellee Sorensen, who confessed to helping him find Pease by calling airlines and shelters around the country and posing as her to try to figure out where she was.
Sorensen, 34, of Lynden, Wash., was also charged Monday with second-degree murder for allegedly helping Marks abduct Pease in Minnesota.
After that episode, Pease was transferred to another shelter in Bloomington, authorities said. But Marks managed to track her down again, with Sorensen’s help, and showed up at the shelter one day, attacking Pease while she was outside and forcing her into his car, according to the complaint.
Pease was with her and Marks’ 4-year-old son at the time. The charges against Sorensen said she told police that Marks punched Pease. Sorensen grabbed the boy and returned him to the shelter, the charges said.
Sorensen told detectives that as the three of them drove south on I-35, Pease was yelling for help and screaming until she fell asleep, the complaint against Marks said.
Eventually, Marks turned onto a gravel road and stopped beside an abandoned shack, telling Sorensen to stay in the car. He then dragged Pease outside and behind the shack, where he killed her as she begged for her life, authorities said. Marks was crying as he walked back to the car, and he allegedly told Sorensen that he had killed Pease and removed her hands and teeth to prevent the possibility of identification.
It’s unclear from the complaint whether her body was ever discovered, but one of Marks’ wives told police that she believed Pease’s body was buried somewhere in North Dakota or South Dakota.
In the Texas case, Marks was charged last year in the deaths of an ex-girlfriend, Jenna Scott, and a friend of hers, Michael Swearingin. The pair disappeared from Scott’s Texas home on Jan. 4, 2019. Their bodies were later found in a shallow grave in eastern Oklahoma. Marks was arrested in Michigan, but later escaped and was rearrested after a nine-hour manhunt involving multiple law enforcement agencies, according to local news reports.
Like Pease, Scott alleged in a protective order that Marks was abusive throughout their relationship and had choked her unconscious more than once, according to authorities.
A district attorney in Bell County, Texas, said in a TV interview last year that he intends to seek the death penalty against Marks, a former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who went by the nickname “Spider-Man.”
Bloomington authorities have long suspected Marks was involved in Pease’s disappearance.
After his arrest in Texas last year, Bloomington police said in an interview with the Associated Press that he remained a person of interest in the Pease case. Around the same time, Pease’s mother, Dottie Pease, told a Seattle area TV station that she had believed her daughter might have had a drug relapse, but that given the pending case against Marks she thought it was possible that he might have had something to do with her daughter’s disappearance.
Marks and Pease 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. After her disappearance, Marks got custody of their son.
Several months before the Bloomington kidnapping, Marks apparently posted a rambling message in an online forum detailing the couple’s custody battle over their son.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.