Parents of man who vanished in 1992 remain under suspicion of murder

Elderly parents of disabled man who vanished in 1992 remain under suspicion for his murder after cold case detectives bring no charges but bail couple ‘until December’

  • Steven Clark, then 23, vanished during walk with parents in North Yorks in 1992
  • Family were at Saltburn Pier when Steven went to toilet but was not seen again
  • His parents Charles, 78, and Doris, 81, arrested last month after cold case review
  • Couple, from Marske, insist they have nothing to do with Steven’s disappearance
  • The pair were at a police station hoping to be told no charges would be brought
  • But they were rebailed earlier today at the police station in Redcar, North Yorks

The elderly parents of a disabled man who mysteriously vanished almost three decades ago – and has never been found – are still under suspicion of his murder. 

Former police officers Charles and Doris Clark today answered their bail at a police station in Redcar, North Yorks, following the disappearance of their son, Steven, in 1992.

The couple, aged 78 and 81, insist they had nothing to do with Steven’s disappearance and have vowed to clear their name. 

They had hoped to be told no charges would be brought against them as they walked hand in hand into the station this morning to meet the lead detective in the case.

But they emerged an hour later with their solicitor looking grim-faced.

Mr Clark said he had been advised not to comment, but said: ‘We’ve been bailed, we’re still under investigation and have been told to report back here in December.’

Steven, then 23, and who was disabled from injuries in a car crash as a child, vanished during a walk with his parents at Saltburn Pier, North Yorks, on December 28, 1992. 

Former police officers Charles and Doris Clark will today answer bail at a police station in Redcar, North Yorks, following the disappearance of their son, Steven, in 1992

Steven, then 23, vanished during a walk with them at Saltburn Pier, North Yorks, on December 28, 1992

Last month, cold case detectives and specialist officers relaunched the investigation. Five police cars and vans, a crime scene investigation vehicle and an incident command unit were seen parked outside the semi-detached house, in Coast Road

He was said to have gone into male public toilets, while his mother went into the ladies, at the end of the town’s Victorian pier.

Steven, who lived in nearby Marske-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, was never seen again. 

Over the years Charles, 78, and Doris, 81, made several appeals for information in a bid to find their missing son.

But last month, cold case detectives and specialist officers relaunched  the investigation.

They were seen in the back garden of the couple’s Markse-by-the-Sea home, where a forensic tent was set up along with a cordon on an alleyway at the side of the house.

Five police cars and vans, a crime scene investigation vehicle and an incident command unit were also seen parked outside the semi-detached house, in Coast Road. 

Police also searched undergrowth next to a path along the rear of Bydales School in Marske. 

Speaking at the time of the search, in September, Ms Clarke said: ‘It’s just absolutely ludicrous. There’s nothing more to say, it’s surreal.’

Asked if they denied murdering their son, she replied: ‘Absolutely, yes.

‘It’s just too hard to believe really, but we have to believe it and suffer the consequences.’

She said being on bail was ‘horrendous’, adding: ‘There’s nothing I can say, except for the shock of being arrested.

‘It’s difficult isn’t it? ‘You get so tense and upset, we’ve just got to get on with it, I’m afraid. There’s nothing we can do, just wait and hope we get through it.’

Speaking on the doorstep as they arrived home in the evening, Mrs Clark added: ‘We’ve just got back, we’ve been there all day.’

Police were seen in the back garden of the couple’s Markse-by-the-Sea home, where a forensic tent was set up

Alongside the multiple police vehicles and the tent, a cordon was set up in an alleyway at the side of the house

Police also searched undergrowth next to a path along the rear of Bydales School in Marske

Cleveland Police issued an appeal for information last month following the cold case investigation

It comes after police asked an anonymous letter writer, who contacted officers in September 1999, to get in touch again.

Police said their records showed the letter was assessed by officers and the information was recorded.

However, the force refused to reveal the content of the letter or why it is now seen as important more than 20 years after it was sent.

As a result of this, and due to there being no proof of life, detectives believe that Steven has come to serious harm and a murder inquiry has been launched. 

Detective Chief Inspector Shaun Page asked the letter writer to call Crimestoppers anonymously or the investigation team directly and give them any additional information they may have.

He said: ‘I can’t divulge the contents or topic of the letter, but it was sent through the post and addressed to the incident room at Guisborough Police Station.

‘The person who sent it may know more that could help our inquiry team.They obviously felt compelled to write the letter seven years after his disappearance and I would like to hear from them again now.

‘It’s clear from the response that we have had overall from the public that a lot of people knew Steven from living in Marske. I would like to thank the local community for their co-operation in this investigation so far.

‘We do still want people to come forward and tell us if they knew Steven or if they have any information that would benefit the inquiry.’

Anyone with information can use the Cleveland Police section of the Major Incident Public Portal via https://mipp.police.uk/, call Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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