Parents arrested for murder after son vanished 29 years ago released without charge

An elderly couple arrested on suspicion of murdering their son have been released without charge, police say.

Charles and Doris Clark were held in September in connection with the death of their son Steven, almost 28 years after he went missing.

The 23-year-old mysteriously vanished on Dec 28, 1992, after going into a public toilet in Saltburn, North Yorks, while his mum was in the nearby ladies.

Doris, 82, returned home when her son failed to emerge after she had waited outside for him.

Her husband Charles had gone to a Middlesbrough game at the time of his son’s mysterious disappearance.

Doris reported Steven missing. She and Charles, 78, were due to answer bail on December 13 last year before they were both released under investigation.

Doris told the Mirror shortly after their arrest: “This has been such an ordeal. We don’t know what happened to Steven.

“That is the problem when someone goes missing, you have no idea. It is the same now as it was then. We’ve had 28 years of not knowing.”

In a statement, Cleveland Police said on Tuesday: “Two people arrested on suspicion of the murder of Steven Clark have now been released from the investigation without charge.

“The investigation into Steven’s disappearance is still ongoing, and detectives continue to appeal to the public for information to assist the case.”

Det Chief Insp Shaun Page, the man leading the investigation, told how the cold case review team had followed ‘a significant number of lines of enquiry’ since the launch of the murder probe last year, which followed a review of the original case.

He added: ” We are continuing to investigate Steven’s disappearance and people can continue to contact us with information.

“There is no proof of life and we believe Steven has come to serious harm, and the case continues to be classified as one of suspected murder.”

The Clarks had always denied any wrongdoing and told how they had tried to help solve the mystery of their son’s disappearance.

The couple, both former police officers, have agreed to appear in an ITV documentary about the case, and Doris was filmed close to the spot where she had last seen her son.

At the time Charles said: “We have no evidence at all of Steven being dead. I think he is alive – so let’s look for him. He went for a walk on the beach and was then seen two or three days later by a lot of people. He was alive in Redcar two or three days later, from the police statements (at the time).”

He said that he ‘never had a row’ with Steven, and does not know why he went missing. “I don’t know why he disappeared.

It is a very unusual situation. We are in the hands of the police,” he added.

Asked if he thought it was unusual to film a TV documentary while under investigation, he added: “We did not seek legal advice. We are
looking for Steven.

“He is missing. They are putting a TV documentary together to find him, and I don’t know any more than that.”

The Clarks still live in the home in Marske-by-the-Sea, three miles from Saltburn, which they shared with their son at the time of his disappearance.

A mystery letter writer who named Steven’s ‘killer’ in a 1999 message to police came forward after the Mirror published extracts for the first time last year.

Steven left home without his wallet, spectacles or any cash.

One new witness told detectives that saw him at 3-4pm on Dec 28, 1992, close to his family home.

That sighting came after he went missing. Police described it as ‘significant’. Steven was described as having a ‘distinctive’ gait.

A car accident as a child had left him with a limp and he had a disability affecting his left hand.

The Clarks were not available for comment at their home today.