Missing since 2009, April Pease's body has never been found

By Chris Harris
March 19, 2020 11:27 AM
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April Pease and Cedric Marks
Credit: Charley Project; Kent County Michigan Sheriff's Office/AP/Shutterstock

A former middleweight MMA fighter already facing two counts of murder in Texas is now charged with a third in Minnesota, where authorities allege he killed his child’s mother for custody before removing her teeth and hands, rendering her body unidentifiable.

On Monday, the 11th anniversary of her disappearance, Cedric Marks was charged with one count of second-degree murder for allegedly killing April Pease, according to a statement from the Bloomington Police Department.

Also charged with Pease’s murder is Kellee Kristine Sorensen, a 34-year-old Washington woman.

The 45-year-old professional fighter became a person of interest in Pease’s disappearance in 2019, following his arrest for the alleged slayings of his former girlfriend, Jenna Scott, 28, and her friend, Michael Swearingin, 32.

The two were killed on January 3, 2019, at a home in Killeen, Texas. Marks has pleaded not guilty in that case.

April Pease went missing back in 2009, according to the statement, which fails to address the nature of the relationship between Marks and Sorensen at the time of the murder.

Marks and Pease had a son while they were living together in Washington.

“In 2009, April Pease and her child relocated to a women’s shelter in Bloomington following several domestic assaults by Marks,” the statement continues. “The investigation revealed that in March of 2009, Marks and Sorenson traveled to Minnesota from Washington and located April Pease at the women’s shelter. Pease was taken against her will and driven southbound on I-35.”

Investigators allege “April was killed at an unknown location by Marks as Sorenson sat in the vehicle.”

Pease’s body has never been found.

The Star-Tribune, citing the criminal complaint, reports that, before the alleged murder, Sorensen told police Marks grabbed Pease from the vehicle, put her in a chokehold and dragged her out of sight. She allegedly told police a crying Marks later returned, saying he killed Pease and then removed her teeth and hands.

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According to the paper, detectives met last month with Marks’ wife, Ginell McDonough, who allegedly said Marks had confessed to killing Pease, saying he did it in order to gain sole custody of his son.

The statement from police says investigators in Bloomington, Minnesota, never gave up on finding the truth about what happened to Pease.

“Our thoughts are with her family as they reflect back on the eleven painful years since she went missing,” it reads. “…We would also like to recognize our detectives, both current and now retired, who worked on this missing person case that today lead to murder charges. They never gave up on trying to find April and hold those responsible for her disappearance accountable.”