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One Of The Unsolved Murders From My Area Of The World.

The Marsh Murders

By Jason Ray MortonPublished 2 years ago 4 min read

Over the years, if you lived in my area, there is one cold case or another that will occasionally become the subject of bar chatter or water cooler banter. Having met and worked with the person that was the only arrest in the case, ever, this one is definitely a case I'll always remember. The unsolved murder of Brenda Marsh and Earl Marsh still haunts the area.

It was in April of 1983, April 18th to be exact, when just after 6:00 o'clock that evening, Bill and Norma Marsh went to the home of their son Earl Marsh. Earl, at just eighteen years old, was a farmworker and renting a small one-story house for himself, his wife, and three-month-old son, Josh. They had been married for almost eight months.

Earlier, that afternoon, Brenda had not shown up for her shift at OSF St. Mary's Hospital in Galesburg, where she'd been employed in the dietary department for the last two years. Young Brenda was well-liked by those that she worked with and the people who knew her, and her parents had been called when she didn't come in. Her mom, Kathleen Mahnesmith, called the Marshes so that they could check on the young couple, according to reports.

Upon arriving, Norma Marsh could already hear the crying baby inside the home. When nobody answered the door the Marshes contacted the owner to see if he had an extra key. The owners gave them permission to break a window to gain entry if need be. After prying a padlock on the back door, which was locked from the outside, Norma, Earls' mother, entered first.

The horror began when in the dining room, her son was found lying face-down in a pool of blood, dead from a shot in the chest. Early died from a wound to the chest caused by a .22 caliber round. His wife was found on the opposite side of the room, face-up, after being strangled with an electrical cord, believed to be from a lamp. The cord was still wrapped around her neck twice and Brenda had been stabbed in the chest eighteen times, believed to have been after she died. The grandparents located baby Josh in his crib in the same room, unharmed, though he was suffering from dehydration and shock. The poor child had cried himself hoarse but had survived. As Norma took the baby and somehow maintained her composure enough to call the police, her husband looked in the fridge to see if he could find milk for the poor infant.

The murders and the brutality shocked and saddened the Warren and Knox County Illinois area. Both families were left devastated as Warren County, and the Illinois State Police all worked the case. The young couple was buried next to each other at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens.

When I was just finishing high school and had taken a job working telephone soliciting I met a man a few years older, Jeffery Raymond, who worked right down the aisle of phones from me. We got to know each other a bit. A year later, 22yr old Jeffery Raymond was arrested after making incriminating statements on tape. He had told a tale of meeting two people at a party who intended to rob the Marshes. Jeffrey allegedly went with them, to the home, where Earl opened up the front door and was immediately assaulted. The two unnamed parties then took Jeffrey back to Lake Storey and dropped him off. After being charged as an adult with two counts of murder, only to have the charges dropped three months later, Jeffrey Raymond died at the age of 25, less than three years after the only arrest in this case.

It's been nearly thirty years since the tragedies that struck the families of Earl and Brenda, and the mystery lives on. Since the arrest in 1991, many have told stories of rumors that this person or that person committed this heinous crime. Barroom chatter if it's remotely believable would have some believing that a former patch president of a motorcycle club was there and orchestrated the brutality that night. But, that's just barroom chatter.

Hopefully, one day, the answers will be found that could give the families peace.

If anyone has information about this crime, call the Warren County IL Sheriff's Office at 309-734-8506.


About the Creator

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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