Louisiana man charged with first-degree murder and first-degree feticide in deaths of woman and her unborn baby

By Dave Andrusko

Lyntell Washington

Lyntell Washington

The deaths of Lyntell Washington and her seven-month-old unborn baby, allegedly murdered by a married co-worker afraid his wife would find out, are unimaginably tragic.

If anything could possibly make the senseless death of a woman, once voted “Teacher of the Year,” and her unborn baby even more heartrending, it is that police say the alleged murderer, Robert Marks, dropped Washington’s three-year-old daughter off in a Baton Rouge parking lot near her mother’s abandoned vehicle.

Marks attorney insists his client is innocent.

Baton Rouge police have a very different opinion. According to the Washington Post, they

believe Washington, an instructional specialist at Brookstown Middle, was pressing Marks to acknowledge the unborn child, something police have speculated he was trying to hide. In a text message to Marks quoted in a police affidavit, Washington asks him if he was trying to avoid responsibility for “our unborn child.”

Robert Marks

Robert Marks

An autopsy showed that Washington died of a gunshot wound to the head. The search for her began June 9th after her 3-year-old daughter was found wandering near her car on Newcastle Avenue in Baton Rouge. “Blood was found in Washington’s abandoned car,” according to the Advocate.

“Washington’s badly decomposed body was found June 14 by sugar cane workers between Roseland and Ramah in Iberville Parish,” The Advocate reported.

When Marks was arrested last Friday, “Marks was already in custody on charges related to Washington’s 3-year-old, including aggravated kidnapping and desertion of the child,” The Post’s Elahe Izadi reported. “He now also faces first-degree murder and first-degree feticide charges.”

WAFB reported

According to the probable cause report, the child told investigators that “‘Mr. Robbie’ hurt her mother and was now sleeping.” It also revealed the child was with her mother and Marks “when she heard a ‘bang’ and after the bang her mom was ‘shaking.’ She also stated that her mom’s in the lake and that it was dark outside when her mom got hurt.”

Baton Rouge police spokesman L’Jean McKneely told the Advocate, “We continue to press [Marks] for information and still no answer and still no emotion,” adding

“The only two words I can come up with is heinous and senseless. Anybody that can commit that type of crime to a female that is pregnant with your child is something that I can’t describe. It’s something that you don’t have word for.”

The 40-year-old Washington’s death has shaken the East Baton Rouge Parish schools community, Izadi reported. (In Louisiana, a Parish is equivalent to a county.)

Superintendent Warren Drake said they were “deeply saddened” by the “tragic loss” of Washington and her unborn baby.

“Ms. Washington was a treasured member of our team, and will be remembered for the impact she had on the many lives she touched through her work in our district,” Drake said in a statement. “We will continue to offer support to Ms. Washington’s co-workers and students during this difficult time.”

Lana Williams taught with Washington at her previous school. She told the Advocate Washington “was one of the most generous people I knew.”

“When she was actually teaching, even when she was low on money, she was doing everything she could for her students, buying materials and bringing them in,” Williams said.

LaTafta Spivey [a friend of Ms. Washington] told the newspaper she last spoke with Washington in March. “You’re going to be an aunt!” Washington told Spivey at the time, the Advocate reported.