BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A woman’s boyfriend is facing 50 years in prison after her body was found with bruises and a gunshot wound in a wooded area of a Baltimore park days after she went missing.
Marco Holmes has been found guilty of the second-degree murder of his girlfriend, Tonja Chadwick, after dumping her in Daisy Field in early 2017.
Chadwick left her aunt’s house on Jan. 28, 2017 around 6 p.m. and was going to meet Holmes at the apartment that the couple had recently moved into. She left her four-year-old son with her family over the weekend, which was the last time Chadwick’s family heard from her, according to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.
Chadwick’s aunt said Holmes came to her home unannounced the next day and told her that Chadwick never showed up to their apartment the night before. Chadwick’s aunt then began to call the victim’s cellphone, but calls went directly to voicemail.
On Jan. 30, 2017 around 9 a.m., the victim’s aunt called Chadwick’s phone again. This time, a maintenance man from Mannasota Manor apartments answered the phone and said he had found it near one of the apartment buildings. The apartment complex is less than a mile away from Holmes’ apartment in the 4700 block of Parkside Garden Drive.
Chadwick’s aunt then contacted police to report that her niece was missing. She also tried to call Holmes several times, but he never answered the phone, officials say.
The next day, homicide detectives found two large stains of suspected blood — which officials say appeared as if someone attempted to scrub them clean — on the carpet in Chadwick’s home. Detectives also found blue latex gloves in the apartment and noticed the bedding from the victim’s bed was missing. The victim’s purse with her identification and credit cards was also in the apartment.
DNA testing later showed that one carpet stain contained the victim’s blood, the state’s attorney’s office reports. Traces of DNA from Holmes and Chadwick were found on the gloves.
Cellphone records linked Holmes and Chadwick to the home until just before 10 p.m. on the day that Chadwick dropped her son off to her aunt. The state’s attorney’s office says the victim’s phone remained at the apartment while Holmes’ phone connected to a cellphone tower near Daisy Field, located near the 300 block of North Hilton Street — the same area where Chadwick’s body was eventually found on Feb. 2.
Officers found the victim in the woods wrapped in a white blanket and a purple sheet. Chadwick had been buried under leaves and large tree branches and had noticeable signs of injury to her face, prosecutors say. A trash bag with various cleaning items and bed sheets belonging to the victim’s son were found nearby the next morning.
An autopsy revealed that Chadwick suffered a single gunshot to the forehead, as well as injuries to her hands and bruising to her biceps, according to the state’s attorney’s office. Holmes’ DNA was also found on Chadwick’s fingernails.
Holmes was arrested on a violation of a probation warrant. Holmes told police that he and the victim had gotten into an argument on the night of the murder. He also told detectives that he left Chadwick in the apartment and went to stay at his cousin’s house.
However, video from a laundromat captured a lengthy physical altercation between Holmes and Chadwick the night she was murdered.
“This case is heartbreaking. Domestic violence has not only claimed the life of a young woman, but also condemned a young boy to grow up without his mother,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “I’m thankful for the diligent efforts of Ms. Chadwick’s family to discover her whereabouts, locate her phone, and report the incident to the authorities. These efforts were critical to the swift investigation and resolution of this case.”
Holmes was also convicted of use of a firearm in a crime of violence, as well as, wearing, carrying or transporting a handgun. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison. Holmes will be sentenced July 18.