Youngstown, Ohio investigators believe a rented SUV may lead to answers in the deaths of Marquis Whitted and Kyleria Day

Youngstown, Ohio investigators believe a rented SUV may lead to answers in the deaths of Marquis Whitted and Kyleria Day

The wages of sin

January 12 10:54 AM

The place on McCartney Road where a young police officer, Youngstown Police Sgt. Michael Cox chased a man in a car and the on foot changed little as Cox and his partner drove in a cold, steady rain toward the Pennsylvania border. It’s been about a week since Marquis Whitted and his girlfriend, Kyleria Day, both 19, died when someone fired shots at a car Whitted was driving on Interstate 680 North.

Cox, the lead investigator on the case, and his partner, Detective Sgt. George Anderson, in the days following their presence at the crime scene on January 5, did a lot of work on the case. They listened to recordings of jailhouse calls from inmates at the Mahoning County Jail to see if they could pick up any nonsense about the killings, but they couldn’t find out anything there.

After finding video of Whitted’s car the day after the murder and the SUV they believe was involved in the killing heading toward the interstate, investigators are looking for more video evidence in the meantime. They know where the two were before they were killed, but they have no idea where they were headed when they were shot.

One thing they did learn, however, was that the SUV they believed Whitted was following was a Volkswagen Tiguan, and they found that the Tiguan rented by a car rental agency in Sharon, Pennsylvania, had been reported stolen and spotted in town.

In fact, the SUV had been involved in a pursuit the day before with officers from the Neighborhood Response Unit but they ended the pursuit due to traffic conditions at the time. The SUV fled.

Investigators may not know where the SUV is yet, but they have a lead from the car; The name of the woman who hired him in Sharon. She lives in New Castle. So both investigators decided to take a road trip across the border to see if they could find or talk to the SUV.

They will have a guest accompany them as well. As part of a series of stories about homicide investigations, Chief of Detectives Capt. Jason Simon agreed to allow a reporter from WKBN to accompany investigators on the case from the time investigators are called until the case is solved or goes cold. The first drops of rain began to fall as the car Cox drove pulled away from the station on Boardman Street toward the East Side and, eventually, the Keystone State.


The plan as the two drive east on rain-strewn McCartney Road is to hope to see the Tiguan at the New Castle address, but if it’s not there, they’ll talk to whoever they can find. Before heading there, Cox calls a friend in the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office to reach out and get some connections in case he needs law enforcement help while he’s there.

He certainly needed help with the chase he recounts. That’s when he was a member of the Polish Village Police Department and they chased a man through Struthers, then Campbell until his car ran off the road at McCartney and Struthers-Liberty roads in the dead of night and Cox and others had to look for him. for him. He somehow found the man in the pitch dark and managed to take him into custody.

The two head to New Castle’s North Hill area, which Cox describes as their version of Fifth Avenue in Yougstown. He knows the lay of the land well; His wife is a native of New Castle.

The rain intensifies as they cross the state border and slows slightly as they enter the neighborhood, which is full of old brick homes all with beautiful lawns. A few of them still carry Christmas decorations.

“These are beautiful homes,” notes Anderson.

“It’s a well-kept neighborhood,” Cox answers.

“This is like the North Side,” Anderson says.

They found the address that was listed on the SUV rental application, and the SUV was not there. However, there is a man on the front porch, which is strange in itself because it’s not daytime for sitting on the porch. Investigators drive by the house, turn around, then stop in the street and walk to talk to him. There are tiki torches on the porch and Cox sits in a chair next to the man while Anderson knocks on the door. Nobody answers the blows.

Investigators spoke with the man for about 10 minutes before he got up, walked off the porch and into the car, making sure to pull up the hood of his sweatshirt to ward off the rain. He gets into the driver’s seat of the car parked against traffic and drives away. Cox and Anderson wait a few minutes before returning to their car.

They learned that the mother of the person who rented the SUV lived at the house and that the man was there to borrow money. Since there was no one at home, he decided to wait. The fact that he’s leaving probably means he’d rather not hang out with a couple of out-of-town cops to get his money. Investigators find the woman’s Facebook page, and under “about” information, she lists her workplace. The two decided to visit this place next.

The rain is falling hard now as the investigators drive to the woman’s workplace, only to discover when they get there that she no longer works there.

“She hasn’t worked here in three years,” says one manager.

Anderson laughs. “She hasn’t updated her Facebook,” he says.

Investigators manage to find out where the woman’s mother works and decide to visit her. It’s lunch and the woman is in the lunch room with other employees before she is told that there are two detectives who want to talk to her. She entered the hallway and asked, “How did you find me?”

“We are the police,” Cox says.

While speaking to her, Cox emphasized that her daughter was not in trouble but that he needed to talk to her about a case he was working on, although he was quick to add that if she decided to leave town, she could be in trouble. problem.

The mother calls her daughter. The daughter told her she had just gone to the store on her way home. Her mother tells her to go straight home and wait for the investigators. When Cox and Anderson returned home, the woman stopped right behind them.

Detectives get out of the car and talk to the woman inside. They come back about 15 minutes later. The woman tells them she rented a friend’s Tiguan, and Cox believes her. But she does not know any of the suspects in the case.

So Cox and Anderson have some answers, but not the ones they were hoping for.

“You go down this road and sometimes you don’t even know it. But now, this is all we got,” Cox says.

There is one last mission for Cox before driving back in the rain to Youngstown; Stop by Mary’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant on East Long Avenue, for some chicken and rice. Anderson pleads, saying he has lunch waiting for him at the detective office.

Cox gets his lunch and a Coke, and the couple returns to Ohio. Just before they returned to US 422, a handwritten note on a piece of wet paper taped to a utility pole declared in large black letters, “The wages of sin is death. Christ loves you.”

The investigators pass the sign and continue through the rain. In this case, they hope that the penalty of sin will amount to a prison sentence. They don’t know yet who will be responsible for paying.

This story is the third in a series of stories about the killings on Interstate 680 in January 2023.

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