No one's heard from Marcus "Anton" Lesane in days. He is black, stands just shy of 6 feet, weighs 150 pounds, has a thin mustache and drives a Buick, which was found abandoned on Sunday with the keys dangling from the lock of the door.
Try as they might, his family can't muster much optimism about his mysterious disappearance.
"I really don't think he's alive, honestly," his brother, Robert, 29, says as he drives around the city checking vacant homes and wooded areas. "If we can find his body … I think we're real close to it. I know he's in the city."
Their mother, Mozita Lesane, waits anxiously by the phone. She's at work in eastern Pennsylvania, where she's lived since moving from Baltimore after her boyfriend's job was transferred. When she learned Marcus was missing, she drove down to Baltimore. Her stay was brief.
"I was going crazy down there," she says, speaking on the phone from her car during a lunch break. "Everybody I look at looks like my son. I'm here at work, and I want to keep myself busy. I keep thinking of my son."
She says his birthday is this month. She struggles with tense.
"He would've been … " she says, pausing. "He'll be 28 years old."
It's not so much that he's missing but the circumstances of his disappearance that worry his mother. She says that he was a good kid who worked hard and was raising a 3-year-old son. But he was also associating with some people they consider to be dangerous. Robert acknowledges that Marcus was "doing a lot of little things in the street, doing things they shouldn't have been doing."
He won't delve into specifics, but court records show that Marcus had a half-dozen drug possession or distribution charges, and a handful of convictions.
Police confirm that homicide detectives have taken over the investigation of the case from the missing-persons unit. Asked if police share the family's belief that Marcus is dead, Capt. Stanley Brandford says he's "not presuming that." Homicide investigates critical missing-persons cases and kidnappings, in addition to killings.
"It's still an active investigation. We're still looking for him," Brandford says. "There's things we're doing to actively locate his whereabouts, and there's some info we don't want to get out there."
Marcus had told his mother in a phone conversation that he was getting ready to go pick up an extra shift at work at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. He had recently started working at a local supermarket.
"Go ahead, make that extra money," she recalls telling him.
He took the car he and his girlfriend shared, and at about 8:45 p.m. came back home and handed her a pack of cigarettes. There was a friend with him, and he said he'd be right back. As far as his family knows, he hasn't been heard from since.
That friend has since been arrested on an unrelated drug charge, police said.
When Mozita moved to Pennsylvania, Marcus came to stay with her for a time. She said she paid for an apartment and cell phone for him. She tried to keep him "out of that life."
"I kept them busy. We did everything on the weekend. I kept money in their hand," she says of her children.
But Marcus was drawn back to Baltimore.
Now his cellphone is going straight to voice mail. The Buick, found parked off of Pennsylvania Avenue, has been towed away for evidence. Mozita believes the keys were left in the door as an invitation for theft, and the unwitting person found driving it would be on the hook for the killing.
Robert, meanwhile, picked up a gun charge while driving around Saturday. He says he was giving a ride to two people when his car was pulled over for driving without headlights; police say they found two handguns, a .45-caliber that was listed as stolen from Pennsylvania, and a .380-caliber.
He said the guns weren't his and that they were not related to the search for his brother. Robert had to post a $100,000 bond and get his car from the impound lot.
Mozita, meanwhile, waits for a call she does not want to receive. A cheeseburger that she cooked Sunday but couldn't bring herself to eat remains wrapped in aluminum foil. Everything she sees reminds her of her son. She overturned pictures of him so she will not see them. She does not open a laptop that has his picture as the desktop background.
"I keep crying and I can't stop," she says.
"Where is my son? I can't find my son. Where is he?"
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