A Chicago man accused of killing a missing mom hauled her body around for days in a blue bin apparently taken from her apartment before dumping her remains into an alley trash container, prosecutors allege.
DNA evidence found on the recovered bin, as well as evidence of blood in the missing woman’s apartment, blood on a penny found in the man’s van and blood in a hotel room where he stayed, led authorities to charge Marvin Bailey, 34, with murder in connection with the death of Chaunti Bryla, 43, who was last seen March 15.
Bryla’s body has yet to be recovered.
According to a court document obtained by PEOPLE, Bailey is the half-brother of Bryla’s 10-year-old son — Bailey and the boy share the same father — and Bailey briefly shared an apartment with the missing woman until an argument two weeks before she disappeared caused her to demand that Bailey move out. The argument occurred between Bryla and Bailey’s girlfriend.
Authorities who tracked Bailey’s movements relied on his alleged use of the missing woman’s ATM card, store surveillance video showing his Walmart purchases of bungee cords and ties, and ride-share records documenting his use of a Lyft to help move the blue bin from one location to another, the document states.
Bailey’s attorney, assistant public defender Marijane Placek, said in court Wednesday that the case against her client was “absurd” and built on a series of “coincidences,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The number of coincidences is an overwhelming amount,” said Judge Charles Beach II, who ordered Bailey held in Cook County jail without bail on a charge of first-degree murder.
On the day she was last seen, Bryla was dropped off at her Chicago apartment building by a taxi driver who watched her go inside, according to the court document obtained by PEOPLE.
Around 12:19 a.m. on March 16, Bailey rode an Uber to the apartment — and 13 hours later, after riding Uber to the Walmart where he and an unnamed witness are seen on store surveillance buying the bungee cords and ties, Bailey and the witness together carried “a large and heavy blue bin” from Bryla’s apartment, according to the document.
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Later that same day, the document alleges, Bailey and the witness returned to the Walmart and used Bryla’s ATM card to obtain $100 and two Red Bull drinks; were seen on store video at a Home Depot buying a dolly; returned to the Walmart to buy more tie-down straps; and rode in Bailey’s green van to an apartment building “comprised of mostly vacant units,” where the apartment caretaker saw them dragging the dolly “with a large, heavy object on it,” later identified as the blue bin.
Early the next morning, March 17, Bailey allegedly used Bryla’s ATM card at a Dunkin’ Donuts to make two withdrawals of $202.50 each.
At 10:10 a.m., police performed a traffic stop on the green van, from which Bailey and the unnamed witness both allegedly tried to flee; officers detained them, but they were released without any citations after Bailey and the witness said they were on their way to Home Depot “to get a chain saw,” according to the court document.
Police did not search the van.
At 1:06 p.m., Bailey allegedly made two more withdrawals from Bryla’s ATM card — for $203 and $303 — at a Days Inn, and then checked into a nearby King’s Inn. A Lyft driver later met Bailey and the unnamed witness back at the apartment building where they’d been the previous day, observed them with the dolly and the large bin, and was told by Bailey that he’d been evicted and “had to take everything including his meats.”
At the Kings Inn, “the weight of the bin was such that it took both the defendant and witness No. 3 to drag it up the flight of stairs,” said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy in court Wednesday, reports Chicago TV station WGN.
On March 20, Bailey was seen on surveillance video pulling the dolly with the blue bin in an alley toward dumpsters behind an Advance Auto store — and then back toward the Kings Inn with the dolly and no bin.
Bryla’s aunt reported her missing that same day.
A worker at the Kings Inn who knocked on Bailey’s door before Bailey checked out reported smelling an odor “unlike the normal smells in the hotel,” and described it as “a cleaner or air freshener type fragrance” that did not match the hotel’s usual cleaning supplies.
On March 25, another worker from a nearby business observed “a large black bag” weighing down cardboard boxes in an alley dumpster, with a large blue bin left in the same alley nears the Kings Inn.
On March 29 police recovered the bin, and a cadaver dog detected the odor of human remains on the bin, the location where it was found, and in Bailey’s hotel room.
Prosecutors said the dumpster’s contents were taken to an Indiana landfill, and the black bag has not been found.
Bailey was arrested Nov. 25, according to the court document, and “made no admissions to his involvement in the victim’s disappearance.”