DREW COUNTY, Ark. – The mother of a man who was killed says she wants the Drew County sheriff to recuse himself and his office from the investigation, but the sheriff isn’t budging.
Marquis Martin, 26, disappeared in February of 2020. His body was found weeks later in March near an overpass in Drew County. His killer has not been captured.
“I’m going to get justice for my son,” Martin’s mother, Lakisha Williams, said. “I believe he was executed.”
Documents show the Arkansas State Crime Lab determined Martin died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Williams believes a photo circulating on social media with an oversized stuffed monkey labeled with racial slur shows her son’s face.
“I can see his cute little nose laying there. That little hole. His cute little nose. Then I can see the eye and I can see the mouth,” Williams said of the photo.
She also believes the image came from the family of the person who is supposed to be finding her son’s killer. Drew County Sheriff Mark Gober confirmed one of his sons posted the photo on Snapchat.
“I want the sheriff to excuse himself off the case,” Williams said.
There are still questions on if the photo is authentic or doctored. A photo forensic expert questioned by KARK 4 News could not definitively say.
Williams is sure, however, saying, “It is Marquis. I believe in my heart it’s Marquis.”
Gober contends the photo has been altered and said his son apologized for posting it. He also claimed his son wasn’t in Arkansas at the time of Martin’s disappearance.
The sheriff told KARK 4 News that a lot of rumors started because of politics, calling the claims “completely false” and saying other authorities agree.
“The State Police has been assisting since he was reported missing. The Facebook allegations are completely false and have no merit. The prosecutor nor State Police believes the Facebook rumors,” Gober wrote in a prepared statement. “Anyone with direct knowledge or information may contact this department or the State Police in Warren, Arkansas.”
The sheriff said he is talking with other law enforcement agencies about the Marquis Martin case but would not comment on whether he is considering recusing himself or his office from the investigation.
Williams says she doesn’t trust Gober and that Arkansas State Police investigators need to take over the case so she can close this chapter and finally move on.
“They don’t do anything unless he [Gober] gives them [Arkansas State Police] the ball,” Williams claimed. “I believe in my heart God is going to get justice.”
Officials with the Arkansas State Police released a statement on the case, reiterating the authority of the sheriff.
“The Drew County Sheriff’s Department remains the lead investigative agency on this case. Consistent with the Arkansas State Police long-standing practices and protocol, the lead investigative agency is the point of contact for any news media inquiry, regardless of whether the state’s Criminal Investigation Division has provided limited assistance.”Arkansas State Police
Gober noted that he has investigated nine homicides since taking office and this is the only one he hasn’t been able to solve. He calls the case complex.
The Drew County Prosecutor says he’s aware of social media rumors surrounding the case, but he doesn’t comment on pending cases.
Williams is planning a protest that is scheduled for Friday at 9 a.m. at the Drew County Sheriff’s Office.