Marquis Martin Found; Investigation Still Ongoing
Just outside of Wilmar, Saturday, March 7, the search for 26-year-old Marquis Martin ended when a body, that was later identified as Martin, was discovered at approximately 7:05 a.m. and pronounced dead on the scene by the Drew County Coroner at 9:40 a.m.
Martin, who has last seen on surveillance camera at Murphy's USA gas station on 425 in Monticello on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9:21 p.m., was later reported missing to a Monticello dispatcher on Tuesday, Feb. 11, after failing to show up to work on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 9 and 10.
The community of Wilmar quickly came together, holding a prayer vigil the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 12, to uplift and encourage one another in the wake of Martin's, disappearance.
On Friday, Feb. 14, the Drew County Sheriff's Office, alone with volunteers from the community began their forest search around 10 a.m. with Sheriff Mark Gober stating that the time that the areas being searched, were just areas to eliminate. The searches continued off and on throughout the following weeks, until today.
On Saturday, March 7, after being missing for just a few days shy of a month, a call came into the 911 dispatch office from a citizen stating they had found a body in a creek just outside of Wilmar. An Arkansas Game and Fish officer was on the scene moments after the call came in and was there when Drew County Sheriff's Deputies and Arkansas State Police officers arrived.
After pronouncing Martin deceased at 9:40 a.m., the body was recovered and transported to Stephenson Dearman Funeral Home in Monticello while awaiting transport to the Arkansas State Medical Examiner's Office at the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock.
Martin was employed at the McDonald's in Monticello, where he had just finished a shift before going missing, and at Drew Central Schools as a Paraprofessional in the Special Education consortium.
Martin grew up in the halls of Drew Central Schools and returned after a few years post graduation. According to Trudy Jackson, Drew Central Elementary School principal, Martin brought an infectious smile and personality to the school and would mentor the students in In School Suspension during his lunch and breaks throughout the day. He said he spent a few days over there.
"He would mentor those children that were over there and talk to them about making better choices and making something of themselves in their lives," said Jackson, at the prayer vigil held in February. "He is a hard worker. He did a senior project with Sylvia Ngar, when he did his Senior Project he worked with her and the special needs kids in the consortium and he fell in love with those kids. He got the opportunity to come back and work with those kids every day and he is making a difference in their lives. I pray to God that he will have that chance again. Just know that you are in my prayers and all of Drew Central has you in our prayers because you are our family, he is our family and we are family at Drew Central."
The loss of Martin from Drew Central's Pirate Nation and the community of WIlmar will reverberate for a while.
"Mac Daddy is all our children," said Wilmar Mayor Toni Perry, at the prayer vigil in February. "All the little kids, the same thing that has happened to your child, the same love I have for Mac, I have for every child in Wilmar, Arkansas and almost every child in Drew County. Because I stay at Drew Central. These are our children and we live in a world that takes us through things we never even thought we would have to go through."
"I experienced his love when he came to church," continued Perry, "and he never walked in that door and not hug. That boy is full of love and if we could love half as much as him we would be having it going on in Wilmar."
This investigation is still ongoing, anyone with information regarding the death of Marquis Martin is urged to contact the Arkansas State Police at 870-226-3713 or the Drew County Sheriff’s Department at 870-367-6211. You can submit anonymous tips to firstname.lastname@example.org or the Monticello Police Department’s tip line at 870-723-LEAD (5323).