Steven Clark murder probe: The key events after disappearance

It is more than 28 years since Marske man Steven Clark vanished.

The 23-year-old went into public loos on Saltburn sea front after a family walk and has never been seen by his parents since.

He was reported as missing but the case was take a dramatic twist almost three decades later when police launched a murder investigation following a cold case review.

Steven’s parents Doris and Charles, now aged 81 and 78, were arrested on suspicion of his murder but have since been released without charge.

Here’s a timeline with everything you need to know about the case as the search for Steven’s body and clues to his disappearance continues:

December 28, 1992

On a family walk to Saltburn, Steven went to use public loos on the seafront.

He went in to the gents whilst his mum Doris used the ladies – when he didn’t come back out, she assumed he had returned to the family home in Marske. He did not – and they have not seen him since around 3pm on that day, the Bank Holiday Monday after Christmas.

Steven’s parents Doris and Charles reported him missing.

Steven Clark as a child with his mother Doris
Steven Clark as a child with his mother Doris
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

1993

A year later, a missing persons appeal was filmed by London Weekend Television for a broadcast presented by Alastair Stewart and Fiona Foster.

An appeal that same year was also shown on Carlton Television.

The couple regularly speak to The Gazette in the following years about their hopes of finding their son.

2010

Steven’s parents spoke to The Gazette in 2010, 18 years after his disappearance.

Charles and Doris Clark told how no day gets easier in dealing with their heartache.

“Everybody says ‘how sad, it’s been 18 years’,” said Mr Clark. “But it doesn’t change how you feel. It’s exactly the same as it was when he first became a missing person.”

Mrs Clark said: “He just literally disappeared. We went for a walk together. He decided to nip into the gents, I popped into the ladies and when I came out and waited for quite a while to see if he was there, or if he was coming out, nothing happened. He didn’t appear and we haven’t seen him since.”

The mum and dad said they still hoped and believed that despite the time that has passed they will one day have answers.

2020

Detectives working in the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Cold Case Unit re-opened the case, treating Steven’s disappearance as a murder inquiry due to there being ‘no proof of life.’

September 15, 2020

Doris and Charles Clark were arrested by detectives on suspicion of murdering their son.

Dorris and Charles Clark
Dorris and Charles Clark
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

September 16, 2020

The couple told Teesside Live their arrest was ‘absolutely ludicrous.’

September 17, 2020

Detectives leading the murder investigation appealed for an anonymous letter writer to come forward and speak to the force.

On September 24, 1999 a handwritten letter relating to Mr Clark’s disappearance was posted to Guisborough Police Station.

Det Chief Insp Shaun Page appealed for the letter writer to call Crimestoppers anonymously or the investigation team directly and give them any additional information he or she may have.

Specialist search teams began working in Marske carrying out searches in the area in an attempt to find Mr Clark’s remains.

September 18, 2020

Police at the home of Doris and Charles Clark
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

The focus of the police search switched to Mr and Mrs Clark’s Marske home. Specialist officers began their investigations in the back garden of the semi on Coast Road.

September 23, 2020

A significant development was hailed by police after a potential witness came forward.

A woman reported seeing Steven on Monday, December 28, 1992 in the late afternoon – the day Steven is said to have disappeared after visiting toilets in Saltburn on a trip to the town with his mum.

The potential witness was out with her family and reported that Steven passed them as they were walking on the High Street towards Marske Square.

The man, believed to be Steven, was walking in the opposite direction towards The Ship Inn and it hadn’t yet got dark.

September 25, 2020

(Image: PA)

More details about Steven’s early life were released by police.

In addition to media appeals, officers also began driving a van emblazoned with the latest appeal for information around the streets of Marske.

Their focus was on potential sighting of Steven on Marske High Street on Monday, December 28, 1992 between 3pm and 4pm.

October 12, 2020

Steven’s parents had their bail extended until a date in December as officers continued the investigation.

October 20, 2020

Steven Clark as a child
Steven Clark as a child
(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

A £10,000 reward for information was put up by independent charity Crimestoppers.

Ruth McNee, regional manager for the North East at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “After all these years, it it’s so sad to think that no one has come forward to say exactly what happened to this young man.

“We are hoping that someone who may have been sitting on information about Steven’s murder will now have the courage to do the right thing and tell us anonymously about who is responsible for Steven’s untimely and unsolved death.

“We are appealing to anybody who may have witnessed what happened or who knows about those who were involved or may have been his acquaintances. You can tell our charity what you know 100% anonymously. Always. What you tell us can make all the difference.”

November 12, 2020

Police revealed sections of a mystery letter sent to officers after Steven disappeared in the hope the handwriting would identify the sender.

The letter received by police in 1999
(Image: Daily Mirror)

They said the writer may be well educated and seemed to have exact details about Steven.

December 3, 2020

The anonymous letter writer came forward to police in what was described as a major breakthrough in the case.

December 9, 2020

Doris and Charles Clark were released under investigation as the probe continued.

December 28, 2020

Video Loading

Police released new video footage of Steven on the 28th anniversary of his disappearance as part of the re-investigation.

It was the first film of Steven released by Cleveland and North Yorkshire Cold Case Unit working on the investigation and showed a short clip of Steven was taken from a training video for the Redcar branch of the Rathbone Society charity in the 1990s.

February 15, 2021

Doris and Charles Clark, who are both former police officers, released from the investigation without charge.

April 13, 2021

(Image: Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)

Police started to conducted searches in the area around Saltburn Bank, hunting for clues and evidence as the investigation continues.

April 22, 2021

Doris and Charles Clark will appear in an ITV documentary called ‘Accused of Murdering Our Son – The Steven Clark Story’ which gives their account of being suspected of his murder.

Accused of Murdering Our Son -The Steven Clark Story’, ITV, 9pm, Thursday April 22 and available on ITV Hub

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