Mold-covered kit found in Ford Heights evidence room links inmate to 2006 rape

Chicago Sun-Times, SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE

Ford Heights, IL

A convicted felon eligible for release next week may spend more time behind bars after a mold-covered criminal sexual assault kit from four years ago was discovered in an unplugged refrigerator of the Ford Heights Police Dept., linking the man to the 2006 rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Marquis Deering, 27, of Ford Heights, is charged with criminal sexual assault, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office release. He was originally a suspect in the case and records show DNA was a match to the DNA found on the victim.

Marquis Deering has been charged with criminal sexual assault after a mold-covered criminal assault kit from four years ago was discovered in a Ford Heights Police Dept. evidence room.

Marquis Deering has been charged with criminal sexual assault after a mold-covered criminal assault kit from four years ago was discovered in a Ford Heights Police Dept. evidence room.



The rape kit was one of seven found in an evidence room at the former Ford Heights police station in May 2009, the release said. The seven rape kits sat in an unplugged refrigerator in the room and were covered in mold on the outside when police found them. The evidence inside, however, had not been destroyed.

The sheriff's office has been the only presence in Ford Heights since April 2008 after the village gradually lost their 16 police officers because it could not afford to pay them, the release said.

In the evidence room, 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 were registered with the state as having been seized.

Each of the sexual assault kits were sent to the Illinois State Police crime lab for processing, and in Feb. 2010, investigators were informed one of the seven kits had come back with a positive match to Deering.

The victim --then 13 years old at the time-- was interviewed by police. She said in Jan. 2006, she and a friend were walking in Ford Heights when Deering pulled up in a white van and invited her to take a ride with him. She said she had to be home for dinner but he said she'd be back by then.

Once in the car, he handed her a cup of a suspected alcoholic beverage. She 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 would have to drink more or she'd "wind up in a ditch," the release said.

The victim 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 home and then described 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 told family she had been raped and they took her to St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, where police originally 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, with 15 arrests 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 release from the Pinckneyville Correction Center on March 26 but police went there to get a DNA sample and to interview him.

When informed of the accusation, Deering laughed and gave another girl's name as the victim. When told of the other victim, he said he'd been a "good Samaritan" who found the teen 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 obtained a search warrant and got it anyway.

Investigators later found the home where the alleged rape occurred and, through its owner, learned 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 woman and doesn't need to rape women for sex, the release said.

On Wednesday, Deering was charged with criminal sexual assault. He appeared in bond court in Markham 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 at the Ford Heights Police Dept. 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 Dept. of Corrections. He is due in court on April 21 in Markham for a preliminary hearing, the release said.

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