Marcus David Walsh, almost 2, April 4, 2013, Avon, Warren County, Illinois

Marcus David Walsh, Age 1

Murdered April 4, 2013

Avon, Warren County, Illinois


Mom contacted me and asked me to confirm that I work on unsolved homicides. When she told me Marcus’ name and I looked it up with a quick Google search, I found one article. Yes. Just one. The article clearly stated that this young Marcus was just one month way from turning two. Two years old. Two.


The report from WQAD Local Channel 8 clearly stated that the autopsy results indicated Marcus was murdered by strangulation; asphyxia. Two. Murdered. So what happened?


Marcus’ mom dropped her baby off at his father’s house. His father lived with his then girlfriend whom he married three months after Marcus’ death, then soon after divorced. She has remarried and sold the house soon after as well. She had four kids then of her own.


The next morning, however, they called her with the unimaginable:. Marcus was dead. When Mom arrived there, the police were already on sight. She saw her baby’s lifeless body on the floor. The adults in the house said they woke up and that’s how they found him. According to mom, the step-mom failed the lie detector test.


The autopsy result was that Marcus died of asphyxia – Strangulation. Marcus was murdered. Just as horrific, it would take an entire four months to get the autopsy results. Four months of not knowing why your baby is dead. Today, almost seven years later, the family still does not know why or how Marcus was murdered, nor by whom.


Mom had nowhere else to turn. She would now plan the funeral of her one year old boy instead of planning his second birthday party plans. Marcus David had his funeral at the Trenton Cemetery in Rural Dahinda.


Who lived in the house? Who was there at the time of her sons murder? The dad, his girlfriend turned wife and her four children, the oldest I believe, being ten - all minors.


Illinois State Police took over the Investigation. Then, radio silence.



On the five year anniversary of his murder, the Illinois State Police and the State Attorney in Warren County would remark that there was no new evidence. No charges.


Marcus’ father, apparently didn’t handle his death very well. While we do not know the circumstances, I do believe it’s more than worth noting this article. The Register-Mail explains what happened.


*****


“GALESBURG -- A volunteer Williamsfield firefighter was sentenced to jail time and probation Wednesday for his involvement in setting several fires in Knox County.


Blake T. Walsh, 24, appeared Wednesday afternoon in Knox County Circuit Court where Judge Scott Shipplett passed down a sentence of six months in jail, all of which Walsh had served prior to his sentencing, and 30 months’ probation.


Before the prosecution and defense gave their recommendations, Assistant State’s Attorney Elisa Tanner called to the stand Carl Kraemer, detective at the Knox County Sheriff’s Department.


Kraemer, who has handled the case since Walsh’s arrest April 16, told the court Walsh was suspected of being involved in 19 fires, 17 in or around Williamsfield and two in Galesburg, beginning in late October 2013.


During a field fire in November, which burned 80-100 acres of a 300-acre corn field after harvest, the man who called 911 was determined to be on a phone belonging to Walsh. On more than one occasion, Kraemer said, Walsh called in fires he had set before responding to them from the Williamsfield Fire Department.



It was not until the April Dumpster fire behind the Galesburg Shoe Department, 2779 Volunteer Drive, when police were able to make an arrest based on witnesses accounts of a truck matching Walsh’s at the scene.


Walsh would later confess to setting eight of the 19 fires, describing the “rush” of setting fires and responding to them, Kraemer said.


The fires began with debris in a ditch, but built up to hay bale fires, field fires and Dumpster fires.


Once the crimes matured to include hale bales, they progressed from one hay bale to as many as a dozen before eventually moving on to the two Dumpster fires in Galesburg.


After Kraemer spoke, defense attorney Jim Harrell called a number of Walsh’s family members and friends to the stand. One after another, they described Walsh as being a good man who likely set the fires in response to the death of his son several months before the arsons.


Walsh wiped his eyes as one of his brothers, who served with him in the WFD, described the distance that grew between Walsh and his family after his son’s death in April 2013.


They all told the court they would help Walsh stay in line with his probation, should Shipplett grant it.


Giving her recommendation, Tanner told the court it was pure luck no one had been hurt by the fires set by Walsh.


“He is trained to protect the public from fires,” Tanner said, “but what he was doing was setting the very fires he was supposed to protect the public from.


Adding that the loss of a child, no matter how damaging it can be, should not excuse Walsh from his actions, Tanner suggested a six-year prison sentence in the Department of Corrections with two years of probation.


Harrell told the court Walsh was never out to hurt people, he was desperately trying to find a way to deal with his “depressive episode” brought on by his loss.


Harrell recommended six months in the county jail, allowing Walsh to walk that day for time spent, and the maximum term of probation.


Before passing down the sentence, Shipplett told Walsh that being a firefighter meant preventing fires, not setting them.


“You would probably know where and when to set a fire,” Shipplett said, adding that knowledge would allow him to set fires where people were least likely to get hurt.


Taking into account Walsh’s depression over the loss of his son, Shipplett’s sentencing was in line with Harrell’s recommendation. In addition to the jail time and 30 months of probation, Walsh was ordered to seek treatment and pay restitutions, to be calculated at a later time.


Stating that “the rush of police enforcement is something you crave,” Shipplett also told Walsh he is not allowed to have a police scanner in his possession and must provide GPS data from his location via a cell phone to his probation officer.


After the proceedings, Walsh changed from his orange Knox County jumpsuit into street clothes and joined his family outside the Courthouse.” – The Register-Mail


*****


His father started several fires across Knox County, Illinois.


It was clear that his son Marcus was murdered at his home. The question is, what happened to Marcus?


Today, the radio silence continues. No charges. His Dad has since divorced from his wife and she moved in with someone else with her four children and remarried. Mom, waits as she recounts the last moments of her baby’s life, with no answers.



If you have any information on the death of Marcus Walsh, please contact the Illinois State Police District 7 for Knox County (217) 785-0653


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