His family feared the worst after Marcus "Anton" Lesane went missing two weeks ago, and on Wednesday those concerns were confirmed when his body was found stashed behind a vacant home in Northwest Baltimore.
Police confirmed that a body found Tuesday morning in the 2600 block of Loyola Southway was that of Lesane, a 27-year-old who had been living in Southwest Baltimore and was last seen April 10 with a friend. He had been shot.
A resident who regularly sweeps the alley found his body in the rear of a crumbling vacant home, according to police and residents. A spot of what appeared to be blood could be seen in the backyard next to a pile of garbage — including a sign for a now-closed bar called the Preakness Lounge, a big screen-television, a storm door and a pile of wood.
Residents said the body could not have been there long; they said police have been walking foot patrols in the area and the neighbor who found the body is vigilant about looking after the alley.
On the end of the block where the body was found, most houses are vacant. Elzie Cheek, 72, who moved here 13 years ago around the time her husband died, said only one home was uninhabited when she arrived. Now, almost all are empty.
Cheek said most people were renters, and slowly streamed out of the neighborhood. Boards went up over windows, porches collapsed, and weeds and ivy sprang up.
Still, she said, she enjoys the quiet that comes from being one of the last left. "All them kids," she said, motioning up the street, "they make a lot of noise."
The only other residents on this stretch of the block are Latanya Jackson and her family. Standing on the porch, she said affordable housing is difficult to find. She grew up in the area, and so there was a certain comfort factor.
Still, the abandoned homes cause uneasiness. "It's quiet, but it's also a bad thing. You never know what is going on in these abandoned houses," Jackson said. "I've got kids. I'm trying to keep my kids safe."
"Look what you get," said Troy Lewis Sr., 47, sitting next to Jackson on the porch. "They dumped a dead body here."
Jackson, 32, said she grew up with Lesane, whom she and others knew as "Chip," at the Lexington Terrace public housing complex.
Capt. Stanley Brandford, commander of the homicide unit, said police have questioned the last person seen with Lesane, and homicide detectives served a warrant on the person's residence that led to drug charges, court records show. No one has been charged with Lesane's disappearance or death, and a motive has not been disclosed by police.
"We're exploring motives that could lead us down very different paths," said a police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi.
The family has their own theories about what happened, which police would not confirm, and for those reasons quickly presumed that he was dead.
Lesane's vehicle was found two days after he went missing, with the keys dangling out of the door — a possible invitation for someone to steal the car. Lesane had run up several drug arrests and convictions, and his brother, Robert, acknowledged in an interview last week that he was "doing a lot of little things in the street, doing things they shouldn't have been doing," including associating with dangerous people.
Their mother, Mozita, had come down to Baltimore from Pennsylvania two weekends ago, but was overcome with grief returned home. Her phone on Wednesday went straight to its voice mailbox, which was full.
"I keep crying and I can't stop," she said last week. "Where is my son? I can't find my son. Where is he?"