Do you remember your first love? Your high school sweetheart? Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could have a second chance with that person? Cindy Thompson had that chance in 1982. She was newly divorced with two children and starting over again in her early twenties. A chance run in with her high school love, Mark Davis, would change the trajectory of her life in ways she couldn’t have imagined at the time. With all the drama of a lifetime movie, this is the story of the Epitome of Evil.
Cindy Thompson had dated Mark Davis throughout high school, but the couple had broken up towards the end of high school. According to Cindy’s best friend, Cheryl, they had broken up because Cindy was ready to settle down and Mark was not. (Betrayed, 2020). Mark moved on with a new girlfriend, Carol Sanders, while Cindy moved on with Ken Woodward. Cindy married Ken and they had a son and daughter together. However, after six years, the marriage crumbled. Cindy found herself suddenly single, without a home, and unable to care for her children. She moved in with her friend Cheryl in her hometown of Lake Orion, Michigan. She found work as a waitress but decided the best thing for her kids was for them to live with her ex-husband as he was able to provide more stability.
She happened to run into Mark in town and the sparks flew instantly. Her feelings from high school came rushing back. According to Cindy’s sister, Mark told Cindy that he and Carol had been split up. (Betrayed, 2020). However, Mark continued to live with Carol Sanders and carried on relationships with both women. Even without this not so well-kept secret, there was plenty of drama amongst the group of friends. Cindy had become friends with a woman named Barb that she worked with and Barb’s boyfriend disliked Cindy and Mark. Mark was known to drink alcohol and smoke weed, and Barb’s boyfriend was a former police officer. He felt the couple were “low lives” and made no secret of his dislike. (Betrayed, 2020). Nancy Davis, Mark’s mother, also makes her feelings of dislike for Cindy well known. (People V. Ege,2009) Nancy didn’t feel like Cindy was good enough for Mark since she was divorced and had lost custody of her children.
In October 1982, Cindy and her friend Barb found two females inside Cindy’s apartment ripping up t-shirts and a watch case that Cindy had bought for Mark for Christmas. (People V. Ege, 2009) One of the females was identified as Carol Sanders and the other as Deborah Dunn, a friend of Carol’s. According to Deborah, Cindy had “gotten Mark some Christmas presents and Carol did not want him to have those, so she was taking them back” (People V. Ege, 2009).
The drama would only intensify when Cindy learned she was pregnant in the summer of 1983. Although this would be Cindy’s third child, it was Mark’s first. He was thrilled to learn she was pregnant and excited to be a father, but he had to come clean to Cindy that he was still with Carol. In all of my research, it’s hard to determine if Mark actually left Carol at that point but it seems both women knew about each other after that point. It seems Mark continued both relationships. Mark’s mother was infuriated by the news of Cindy’s pregnancy and frequently called her derogatory names. According to Cindy’s friend Cheryl, Nancy was friends with Carol’s mother and wanted Mark and Carol to marry. (Betrayed, 2020).
Friends of Carol and Cindy state that in the fall of 1983, Carol made several comments about Cindy including that she was upset about the pregnancy, she wanted Mark to convince her to have an abortion, and that the baby would be deformed. Carol allegedly told Mark that if Cindy insisted on having the baby that Carol and Mark should adopt the baby. Carol’s friend would later state “she didn’t understand Cindy and why she wanted this baby so much, she goes she just makes me so mad I could kill her and she hit the steering wheel” (People V. Ege, 2009).
In December of 1983, a man and woman forced their way into the home of Cindy’s sister and grabbed Cindy. Cindy and the woman fought while the man held Cindy’s sister and fourteen-year-old niece back from intervening. However, the man and woman didn’t realize Cindy was on the phone with her friend. Cindy shouted to the phone for her friend to call the police, prompting the couple to run out of the house. Cindy told her sister the woman was Carol Sanders. (People V. Ege, 2009).
In February of 1984, Cindy moved to a house her friend Barb owned in Pontiac, Michigan. Mark had begun to move some of his belongings into the house as well, leading most who knew the couple to believe that he was going to commit to Cindy and raise their child together (Betrayed, 2020). However, the couple didn’t get the chance at a happily ever after.
In the very early morning hours of February 22nd, 1984 Mark Davis went to the home of Cindy Davis and found her lifeless body. Cindy had been murdered with such brutality that it’s almost unthinkable. She had blunt force trauma to the head, multiple stab wounds, and her body had been disemboweled. (Betrayed, 2020). Her fetus had been ripped from her body and her organs were lying beside her on the floor. (Ege V. Yukins, 2007). Both the mother and child were deceased.
Mark was initially the prime suspect. Twenty percent of maternal deaths in the United States are a result of homicides according to studies in New York and Chicago, making it one of the leading causes of death for pregnant women (ABC News, 2007). The boyfriend or husband of the victim is commonly the perpetrator. Mark did not have any blood on him, despite being the person to find the body (Betrayed, 2020) and no physical evidenced tied him to the crime. Just prior to Cindy’s murder he was at Carol’s home drinking and smoking weed.
Carol Sanders is also interrogated after people in town inform police of her hatred for Cindy. She says she was home all night, an alibi that her friend Carol Deer and Mark Davis verify. Mark states he was heavily intoxicated, but remembers Carol being home and going to sleep early. They even investigate Cindy’s ex-husband, the boyfriend of her friend Barb who disliked Cindy, and Mark Davis’ mother. They were not able to secure any concrete evidence. (Betrayed, 2020).
Cindy’s murder case goes cold. However, her family is persistent in getting justice for Cindy and her baby. In the early 1990’s they convince detectives to take another look. Looking at autopsy photos, police notice a bruising pattern on Cindy’s cheek that they hadn’t noted before. Forensic Odontologist Dr. Allan Warnick is consulted and determines that the bruising is a bite mark. Testing is done on several friends, family members, and suspects involved in the case. Dr. Warnick determined that there was a 3.5 million to one probability that the mark on Cindy’s cheek was made by Carol Sanders, now known as Carol Ege. (Fisher, 2008). Carol was arrested and charged with first degree murder in 1993.
The bite mark would not be the only evidence against Carol at trial. Several witnesses testified against Carol. Richard Lingnau testified that he was the man who accompanied Carol to Cindy’s sister’s house in December of 1983. He stated that Carol promised to pay him $300 to kill Cindy, but the plan was foiled when Cindy told her friend to call the police. (People V. Ege, 2009).
Friends of Cindy testified to the physical altercations in which Carol was very aggressive with Cindy. (People V. Ege, 2009). A police officer confirmed responding to a physical altercation between the two women in December of 1983. (People V. Ege, 2009). This included testimony that just a few days before the murder, witnesses saw Carol on Cindy’s porch arguing with her, which Cindy described to her family at the time as an altercation. (People V. Ege, 2009).
Timothy Apker testified that he had attended a party in December 1983 in which he spoke to both Carol and Nancy Davis, Mark’s mother. According to Timothy, Nancy had said that Cindy was “a scumbag and the baby was gonna be deformed” (People V. Ege, 2009). Apker also testified that Carol later asked him to kill Cindy and offered to pay him money. According to Timothy, Carol indicated that she already had charges against her, but she hated Cindy so much she would kill her herself if she couldn’t find anyone else to do it. (People V. Ege, 2009).
Carol’s own alibi, Carol Deer, testified against her at trial. Carol Deer testified that Carol Ege had asked her to be an alibi for her. She also testified that Carol had told her she wanted Cindy to die and that she did not want the baby to be born. She also allegedly admitted to Carol Deer that she and Richard had gone to Cindy’s sister’s house to “try to cause her to lose the baby and that didn’t work out” (People V. Ege, 2009).
Physical evidence was lacking in this case. Other than the bitemark, there was no forensic evidence to link Carol to the murder (Chicago Tribune, 2004). In 1987, an ex-boyfriend of Carol Ege had notified police that he had potential evidence in his storage locker which was placed there by Carol. Investigators found a hammer and a knife with a bent and broken tip. (People V. Ege, 2009). Cindy’s body was exhumed and some of the blunt force trauma wounds were similar to the hammer found, suggesting it may be the weapon. However, no DNA evidence was linked. (People V. Ege, 2009). The medical examiner testified that “any common kitchen knife could have caused the victim’s stab wounds” (People V. Ege, 2009). Investigators believe that the tip of the knife was broken and bent when the knife severed Cindy’s spinal cord (Betrayed, 2020).
In January 1994, nearly ten years after Cindy’s murder, Carol Ege was found guilty of her murder. She was sentenced on January 28th, 1994 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Murderpedia, 2020). However, the peace the family and loved ones of Cindy find in this conviction is short lived.
In 2005, a federal judge sets aside Carol’s conviction based off unreliable evidence (Fisher, 2008). The forensic odontologist, Dr. Allan Warnick, is found to have a questionable track record of being wrong. In several other cases, Warnick’s expert opinion had been refuted and, in some cases, proven to be wrong. (Fisher, 2008). In this case, a pathologist and forensic dentist would both testify that the mark on Cindy’s face wasn’t even a bite mark. (Chicago Tribune, 2004) The testimony claimed that the mark was made by pooling blood during a natural part of the death process called liver mortis. (People V. Ege, 2009).
In Carol Ege’s second trial the same evidence was presented with exception of the bite mark evidence. Despite the seemingly lack of physical evidence, Carol Ege was convicted of murder again and sentenced to life without parole on November 28th, 2007. (Murderpedia, 2020) Carol continues to appeal her case. Although the courts upheld her conviction, a Michigan court did state “This is a troubling case. The crime is horrific. The initial investigation was deficient. Defendant was not charged until nine years after the murder. There are others who are logical suspects. No one saw the defendant at the scene the evening of the murder. No physical evidence links defendant to the crime except testimony that a mark on the victim’s cheek is a bite mark that is highly consistent with the defendant’s dentition” (People V. Ege, 1996).
Some people believe that Carol Ege is a victim of a flawed justice system and shoddy forensic science (Fisher, 2008). However, Cindy’s family describes Carol as “the epitome of evil” (Betrayed, 2020). Cindy’s sister describes in the episode of Investigation Discovery’s Betrayed that covers the case that watching Cindy’s three and five year old children lay roses on their mother’s casket at her funeral and how the brutality of the crime prevented the family from having an open casket. (Betrayed, 2020). Cindy and her unborn child were viciously and violently taken from this world and for what? Carol Ege is housed at the Huron Valley Correctional Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
People V. Ege (2009) State of Michigan Court of Appeals; Retrieved at: PEOPLE OF MI V CAROL EGE :: 2009 :: Michigan Court of Appeals - Unpublished Opinions Decisions :: Michigan Case Law :: Michigan Law :: US Law :: Justia
McRoberts, F., Mills S., Marriott J. (2004) From The Start, A Faulty Science; Chicago Tribune; Retrieved at: FROM THE START, A FAULTY SCIENCE - Chicago Tribune
Murderpedia (Accessed in 2020) Carol EGE; Retrieved at: Carol Ege | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers
Fisher, J. (2008) Bite Mark Evidence; Forensics Under Fire; Retrieved at: Forensic Science (edinboro.edu)
Michigan Department of Corrections (2020) Retrieved at: CORRECTIONS - Corrections (michigan.gov)
ABC News (2009) Murder is One of Top Causes of Death for Pregnant Women; Retrieved at: Murder Is One of Top Causes of Death for Pregnant Women - ABC News (go.com)
Betrayed (2020) Kiss of Death; Betrayed; Investigation Discovery; Season 4 Episode 4