National tour honors missing Ascension man

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It’s been more than five years since Ashley Marks reported her husband missing to authorities in Ascension Parish.

The last time she and her two sons saw Troy Spencer Marks was on June 4, 2006.

On that day, the family of four went to church in Baton Rouge and then drove to their Ascension Parish home, where they swam and played T-ball.

“It was a good last day,” Ashley Marks said.

Since then, Marks said, she has done everything she can to find out what happened to the father of her 9- and 11-year-old children.

One of Marks’ efforts is paying off Tuesday when the Community United Effort Center for Missing Persons, also known as CUE, comes to Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge on its eighth national “On the Road to Remember Tour.”

This year’s tour honoree is Troy Marks.

“Each year, the group picks one missing person from around the country to spotlight their story and to spread awareness of missing people in general,” CUE founder Monica Caison said. “Marks is the first Louisiana resident to be chosen as an honoree for the group’s trip.”

Caison, who started CUE in 1994 after meeting families of missing persons, said Ashley Marks contacted her group years ago about her now ex-husband’s case.

“I’ve seen her struggle up close,” Caison said.

It can be especially hard for a missing man’s case to catch the attention of the media and, in some cases, the serious attention of authorities, Caison said.

“There is a thought by people that men can take care of themselves,” she said.

Troy Marks was last seen on June 6, 2006, in the area of North Dourgenois Street in New Orleans, where he was working while living in a halfway house in Gretna, Ashley Marks said.

About a month later, Troy Marks’ company vehicle was found in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge apartment building, Ashley Marks said. The windows of the pickup truck had been shot out, she said.

Ashley Marks said her former husband was a recovering drug addict who might have relapsed before he disappeared. During previous relapses, however, Troy Marks always kept in touch with his family, she said.

“I never expected him to be gone this long,” Ashley Marks said. “Even when Troy was using, he never hesitated to call home; he was always in communication.”

Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said his office worked on the case with the Baton Rouge Police Department, which is now the lead investigating agency because Tony Marks’ vehicle was found in the city.

Baton Rouge Police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said the department’s homicide division is investigating the case but does not have any leads.

Investigators have interviewed people Troy Marks was acquainted with but have no evidence that points to foul play, McKneely said.

Ashley Marks said she’s not going to stop looking for her ex-husband.

“I can’t do that to my kids,” she said. “They can’t grow up believing dads just walk away.”

Caison said she is traveling across the country to make sure no case, including unsolved homicides, fades from memory and to remind the public that all families are in need of resolution.

Her “On the Road to Remember Tour” started Friday in Lumberton, N.C., and will end Saturday in Wilmington, N.C.

Caison, Ashley Marks and friends and family connected to other local missing person cases — including the case of Sylviane Lozada, the Brusly High School teacher reported missing in East Baton Rouge Parish in July — will be at Healing Place Church, 19202 Highland Road, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Advocate staff writer Steven Ward contributed to this report.

Missing man

Troy Marks

MISSING SINCE: June 6, 2006

MISSING FROM: New Orleans

DATE OF BIRTH: March 2, 1967

HEIGHT: 5 feet, 8 inches

HAIR: Blond

RACE: White

WEIGHT: 175 pounds

EYE COLOR: Blue