30-Jan-17 – The arrest of a suspect in the death last year of a popular River North bartender was aided by social media, a Los Angeles crime journalist, and mobile phone video of the incident. The video showed the suspect’s face more clearly than surveillance cameras could at the 7-Eleven at State & Hubbard Streets.
On January 23, police in Minneapolis caught up with the suspect. He has not yet been formally charged but will be brought to Chicago, most likely this week, according to Marques’ cousin, Drexina Nelson.
While looking at 7-Eleven surveillance video, Nelson noticed someone on the sidewalk near the convenience store take out a mobile phone as if to snap a photo or shoot video. With the help of an anonymous tip, the video was located and a frame from it sent to police.
Suspect spotted on Facebook
Nelson says for some time they have known the identity of the suspect – who they believe lives in Chicago – and have seen him active on Facebook.
“We’re very excited about the fact that he’s been captured but it’s bittersweet because at the end of the day it still won’t bring back Marques. I think reality has set in like, ok, this is great but now we’re kind of like, wow, what’s next? Now it’s time for us to work on healing and try to move forward.”
Nelson credits Los Angeles-based crime journalist Billy Jensen, whose website, The Numerous Solutions of Billy Jensen, focuses on “unsolved crimes, citizen detectives, and crowd-solving.” She believes a photo of the suspect on Jensen’s website led to the arrest.
Jensen started by placing ads on Facebook and Twitter that were targeted to a specific audience.
Armed with a better photo of the suspect, showing a distinctive hairline, Jensen then looked through mugshots.
“After a few thousand pictures, I had a good match. But I needed to confirm so I walked the block and asked people if they recognized the man in the still image from the video. I got confirmation of the name. I packaged everything up and delivered it to the detectives on the case.”
Nelson had praise for Chicago police. “I’m very happy that with all of the unsolved crimes that have been going on in Chicago, we were afraid that this was going to be one of them. The detectives stepped up and really made it happen.”
The taxi driver who accidentally ran over Marques has settled in the lawsuit filed by the family against multiple parties. According to Evan Smola, an attorney with Hurley McKenna & Mertz, the law firm representing the family, they are still suing 7-Eleven, Inc., based in Dallas, and its local franchise, Kala 1341, Inc. The lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court claims negligence and wrongful death.