BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Baton Rouge man is sits in jail, charged with murder a week after the woman he was having an affair with vanished. One of her close friends believes the relationship ultimately cost the pregnant teacher her life.
Robert Marks, 39, had nothing to say Friday as he was taken to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. His charges were upgraded to first-degree murder and first-degree feticide for the death of 40-year-old Lyntell Washington and her unborn child.
Those charges came on top of charges of aggravated kidnapping and child desertion Marks faces for allegedly abandoning Washington's 3-year-old in a parking lot near her vehicle.
Those who knew Washington best paint the assistant principal at Brookstown Middle as a master manipulator who had the former Teacher of the Year in his sights.
"[Lyntell] was in love with her killer. She didn't know it at the time but she was in love," said Melissa Mason, who was a friend of Washington's. "She put him on a pedestal. He swept her off her feet because he was a really nice guy."
Mason said Washington had been involved with Marks for about a year and from what she could tell, he was exactly what the single mother was looking for. It was her understanding that Marks was unhappy in his marriage and going through a divorce, details Washington overlooked because she believed he was such a great person.
"He was complimentary and a gentleman. Just nice and funny, you know. He made her laugh and she was happy," Mason added.
The happiness faded as Mason said her dear friend found out rather than a new love, she was actually the other woman.
"She was angry and like any person who's been deceived that's what she was," Mason described. "How far she was going to go, I don't know but whatever it was he just tried to stop it."
Gone is the man Washington had fallen for. In fact, police said he appears to be unconcerned about the death of the woman he loved, the same woman they say was carrying his unborn baby.
"He has no emotion," said Cpl L'Jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department. "We continue to press him for information and still no answer and still no emotion."
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Looking at him Friday, Mason said she is convinced Robert Marks killed her friend. She only wishes there was some kind of warning sign or clue that something like this would happen.
"I don't think we missed anything. It's just that he was just who he was and we had no way of seeing that or knowing that. Some people are masterminds at deception and sometimes people know how to pretend," Mason said.
The relationship was a dangerous game Mason said her friend unfortunately paid for with her life.
There was a GoFundMe set up to help pay for Washington's funeral expenses but it has since been taken down.