Oklahoma prosecutors allege abuse before boy's disappearance

AP News
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Posted: Apr 12, 2016 9:02 PM

WEWOKA, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma couple arrested in the 2006 disappearance of their 9-year-old nephew had beaten the boy until he lay motionless on a couch and then threatened the boy's brother into repeating a rehearsed story to authorities, prosecutors allege in an affidavit filed Tuesday.

Rex and Rebecca Clark were serving as foster parents to the brothers when Colton Clark disappeared in April 2006. In the affidavit filed by prosecutors, Colton Clark's older brother detailed abuse he said the couple inflicted on the siblings, saying they used broomsticks and extension cords to beat the boys and at times used a red-and-white cattle prod to deliver an electric shock to the boys' genitals. The brother told investigators that around the time Colton disappeared, his aunt and uncle had beaten Colton so badly that the older brother wasn't sure whether his younger brother was breathing.

Rex and Rebecca Clark have not been formally charged in Colton's disappearance, but arrest warrants for the couple filed last week allege first-degree murder, child abuse, child neglect and conspiracy to commit a felony. The prosecutor's office has said Colton is presumed dead, and investigators have been searching the Clarks' property hoping to find his remains. Sheriff's Investigator David Hanson wouldn't say Tuesday whether anything pertinent to the case had been discovered.

The couple appeared in court Tuesday before the affidavit was filed, and Judge George Butner ordered them to return to court next week. Defense lawyer Robert Butler said after the hearing he didn't object to the state holding the pair at this stage.

Later, Butler declined to comment on the affidavit, saying he had not had an opportunity to review the document, which was filed shortly before the courthouse closed Tuesday.

According to the affidavit, Colton's brother said the couple often beat the boys after accusing them of stealing. The brother's current name is blacked out of court documents filed publicly Tuesday in Seminole County District Court.

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 a 2,500-acre search aided by helicopters and dogs. The Clarks said he wouldn't attend a counseling session, and investigators said at first the boy may have run away, since his backpack was gone.

Colton's brother said after Colton disappeared, his aunt and uncle coached the brother to repeat a rehearsed story to anyone who asked. The brother said he feared for his life, according to the affidavit.

Investigators conducted interviews detailed in the affidavit suggesting Rex Clark would wake Colton's brother at 4 a.m. and make the boy describe his sexual fantasies. One person interviewed, whose name was redacted from the affidavit, told authorities Rex Clark sexually abused her when she was a young child and forced her to watch him have sex with a horse.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that a deputy prosecutor, not the chief prosecutor, said last week the boy was presumed dead.