OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Authorities were searching the rural property Monday of an Oklahoma couple arrested in connection with the disappearance of their 9-year-old nephew in 2006, but didn't disclose what new information led them back there to look for his body.
A court hearing is tentatively scheduled Tuesday for Rex and Rebecca Clark, who were arrested Friday after authorities obtained a warrant linked to the disappearance of Colton Clark, who was also the couple's foster son. Assistant District Attorney Paul Smith has said the arrest warrants allege first-degree murder, child abuse, child neglect and conspiracy to commit a felony, but no formal charge had been filed by late afternoon Monday.
Seminole County Sheriff's investigator David Hanson declined to say why authorities reopened the case seven months ago or where they got the information that led to the arrests, citing the fact that charges had not yet been filed.
"We have interviewed a lot of people," Hanson said. "I believe we have a very strong case against them. There is a lot of evidence that has come to light."
Seminole County District Attorney Chris Ross said Monday he did not know whether Rex and Rebecca Clark had hired an attorney. A relative of the Clarks who answered the phone Monday ended the call when told it was from The Associated Press. He did not respond to a subsequent voice mail.
Colton and his older brother lived with their aunt and uncle after their parents terminated their rights to the boys. Colton was reported missing on April 20, 2006, prompting investigators to launch a wide-scale search across 2,500 acres using helicopters and search dogs. At the time, authorities said his aunt reported that Colton didn't want to attend a counseling session, and investigators thought he may have run away in part because his backpack was gone.
Smith said Friday that Colton is presumed dead and that investigators were searching the couple's rural Seminole County 5-acre property, about 65 miles east of Oklahoma City, for his remains.
The Sheriff's Office had medical examiners and other professionals on hand Monday as they searched, Hanson said. He said the search could take just a few more days or could even last a month or more.