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FOUR-YEAR-OLD SUBURBAN
RAPE CASE SOLVED

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Friday, March 19, 2010 — A south suburban man eligible to be released from prison next week is charged with the 2006 rape of a teenage girl, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced Friday.

Marquis DeeringMarquis Deering, 27, of Ford Heights, is charged with criminal sexual assault. He was the initial suspect in the case and records show his DNA was a match to the DNA found on the victim, but the DNA test results sat in an unplugged refrigerator at the Ford Heights Police Department for years.

“What happened to this poor girl is unconscionable,” Dart said. “This entire time, she thought he got away with it. We wanted to do everything we could to show her justice could still be served.”

Since April 2008, the Sheriff’s Office has been the only police presence in Ford Heights. In 2007, the cash-strapped village gradually lost its 16 police officers because it could not afford to pay them. By April 2008, none were left and sheriff’s police began providing patrols and conducting investigations there. That effort has cost Cook County taxpayers roughly $1 million a year since.

In May 2009, sheriff’s police gained entry to an evidence room at the former Ford Heights police station and discovered a cache of weapons and other evidence from years-old crimes.

Sheriff’s police discovered hundreds of bags of narcotics, 188 guns, 22 knives or swords, seven criminal sexual assault kits and one DUI test kit, but few had any reports attached. Among the weapons were an Uzi machine gun, machete, sword and a handgun that had been later used by Ford Heights police. None of the guns had been registered with the state as having been seized.

The seven criminal sexual assault kits, sitting in an unplugged refrigerator in that room, were covered in mold on the outside, but the evidence inside had not been destroyed.

Sheriff’s Police investigators submitted each of the criminal sexual assault kits to the Illinois State Police crime lab for processing. In February 2010, investigators were informed that one of the seven kits was submitted years before and had come back with a positive match to Deering.

The victim, 13 at the time, was then located and interviewed. She said in January 2006, she and a friend were walking in Ford Heights when Deering pulled up in a white van and invited her to ride with him.  She told him she couldn’t because she had to be home for dinner in an hour, but he said she’d be back by then. Once in, he handed her a cup of suspected alcoholic beverages. The victim initially refused to drink it, but Deering forced it to her mouth and it spilled down her shirt. He then implied he had a weapon and told her she had to drink more or she’d “wind up in a ditch.”

She remembered going in and out of consciousness after drinking the beverage and remembered him driving to Chicago Heights. She described a white house, a nickname Deering used to address the owner of the house and then described a bedroom where he took her. When she regained consciousness, she said Deering was raping her in that bedroom.

Deering then drove her back to Ford Heights and dropped her off with friends, telling them she needed a shower. Once home, she informed her family she’d been raped and they took her to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, where police there took an initial report. But because the crime happened in Ford Heights, they turned all reports over to Ford Heights police.

Deering has a lengthy criminal history, having been arrested 15 times since 2001. He has been charged with unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest, drug possession and in 2006, was convicted of aggravated vehicular hijacking. He was eligible to be released from the Pinckneyville Correctional Center on March 26 and police went there to interview him and obtain a DNA sample.

When informed of the accusation, Deering laughed and gave another girl’s name as his victim. Informed of the actual victim, he said he’d been a “good Samaritan” who found her staggering down a street. He told investigators he “never, ever, ever had sex with that girl before.” He refused to provide another DNA sample, but investigators had a search warrant and obtained it anyway.
But using the girl’s descriptions, investigators found the house and its owner, learning Deering brought “several” girls there for sex. Deering later said he did have sex with the victim, but didn’t rape her. He said he has seven children by seven women and doesn’t need to rape women for sex.

On Wednesday, Deering was charged with criminal sexual assault. He appeared in Markham bond court that afternoon, where bond was set at $100,000. Based on statements made by the victim and other witnesses, police are now investigating whether Deering is tied to other sexual assaults.

All other evidence seized at the Ford Heights Police Department has been turned over to state officials for testing to determine if any are tied to other unsolved crimes.

Deering remains in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections. His next court date is set for April 21 in Markham.

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