A British aristocrat and a Florida rapist are hardly a likely pairing; which is why the missing person case of Constance Marten and Mark Gordon enthralled the public this week.
In early January, Marten and Gordon went missing with their newborn baby, who was born in the back of their car just two days prior. They set the car on fire with all their belongings inside on the hard shoulder of the M61 motorway in northwest England and ran.
First they traveled to Liverpool, then to Harwich in Essex, to Colchester and on to East Ham station in east London. The police were constantly about two days behind them, before the trail went cold completely. Today, police confirmed the couple has been found and arrested — but the search for the baby continues.
A socialite going missing is odd in any respect. But this one is directly descended from the 3rd and last Baron Allington, once lived in a £34 million country house and has links to British royalty: her father was a page to Elizabeth II and her grandmother was friends with Princess Margaret. If that wasn’t upper-class enough for you, Marten was once “babe of the month” in the high-society Tatler magazine.
Known to friends as “Toots,” thirty-six-year-old Marten worried friends when she dropped out of East 15 drama school in 2016. Friends say that she “lost interest in drama.” Could they have been more wrong?
They also claimed that while they were studying together, Marten was in an unstable relationship with a man her classmates had never met.
Enter: Mark Gordon. He was born in Birmingham, England, but grew up in Florida, where he was convicted of attacking and raping a woman in the 1980s at just fourteen years old. The file described Gordon “placing a nylon stocking over his face to conceal his identity since he lived next door and was known by her.”
“The suspect was armed with a kitchen knife as well as a pair of hedge clippers and after the victim came out of her bedroom to investigate the dogs barking, came across the suspect lurking just outside her bedroom door.
“The victim was held for a period of approximately four-and-a-half hours against her will by the armed intruder.
“It should be noted that during the commission of the crime, the victim’s two small children were sleeping in their bedroom.”
Gordon served twenty years in prison before being deported back to Britain with his mother and half-siblings in 2010. Since meeting Marten in 2016 — the same time that she dropped out of school — the pair have had a whirlwind relationship, in which time Marten became totally estranged from her family.
Though she was born into extraordinary privilege, when Marten was nine, her father had what he described as an “awakening.” He later explained that a voice in his head had told him to discard the £115 million family fortune, shave his head and fly to Australia. He did exactly that, and while standing on a cliff-top with a group of Aborigines had an out-of-body experience that he said made him realize, “everything in my life materially was a completely empty shell.” He decided to hand it all in, live in a truck and train in head massage.
So how have the pair lived mainly off grid since 2016? Marten’s trust fund, from which the police claim that the pair withdrew a “substantial amount of cash.” Since being located just hours ago, Constance Marten and Mark Gordon have been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter, as police say they must now consider the possibility that their infant “has come to harm.”
Britons were fixated this week as the manhunt dominated the airwaves. Hopefully they show some restraint and don’t turn to amateur detective work as the search for Marten and Gordon’s child continues.