Steven Clark was a 23 year-old man that went missing in North Yorkshire, England, in 1992. Many questions, including Steven’s whereabouts, are still left unanswered.
Controversially, Steven’s parents were at one point arrested in connection with his disappearance. But the charges were dropped, and there are seemingly no further leads.
So where is Steven Clark? This article looks at this mysterious disappearance, and has a reader’s poll at the end of the article, which we invite you to vote on.
Steven Clark was 23 at the time he disappeared, and was with his mother at the time – Doris. His father was named Charles. His parents had previously served in the Police.
Steven was born in 1969. He was involved in a car accident when he was 3 years of age – where he was hit by a lorry. As a result, Steven walked with a limp.
Doris and Charles stated that he was very different after the accident, although he never needed specific walking aids, but the limp was obvious to all.
Due to his disability, Steven found it difficult to gain employment. While he was known to feel down from time-to-time, Doris stated in a later interview that he wasn’t “depressed”.
Charles and Steven usually went to see their local football team Middlesborough on a Saturday. Charles had always bought their tickets, and had asked Steven to pay for his own.
Steven refused, and Charles ended up going on his own. In a cruel twist of fate, this decision seemed to have grave consequences.
The circumstances of Steven’s disappearance aren’t entirely known. Doris and Steven decided to go for a walk on that fateful day – on a beach between Saltburn and nearby village Marske.
At approximately 3pm, Steven said he needed to use the toilets. Doris initially sat on the wall outside, but then decided to go into the public toilets too. Doris came back out a few minutes later, but there was no sign of Steven.
After waiting for a few minutes, Doris returned home under the idea that her son must have already left himself. But after returning home, Doris realised that Steven was not there.
Charles soon returned from the football, and went on a drive to see if he could see Steven anywhere. After a few hours, it appeared that Steven’s whereabouts were unknown.
The parents have stated that they never saw him again. They soon reported his disappearance to the Police.
The Police investigated the disappearance. There were several reported sightings of Steven in the following days. These were looked into, though came to nothing.
A witness placed Steven in Marske at around 3:45pm – which would fit the timeline of Steven’s family being near the area at 3pm.
However, the Police struggled to generate any leads. Bizarrely, it seemed as if Steven had vanished into thin air, with no one aware of what happened to him.
Doris said that she noticed two men with a little girl had gone into the toilet after Steven. But other than this, she wasn’t able to provide any further assistance to investigators.
The parents did come under suspicion, but they denied any involvement in the disappearance. There seemed to be nothing that linked them to involvement either.
The Police would eventually come to the conclusion that a murder had taken place. They believed this was a reasonable conclusion – but were unable to solve the case.
This disappearance was notable for how few leads there ever were for the Police. It made trying to find out what happened to Steven very, very difficult.
In 1999, a major development took place. An anonymous handwritten letter was sent to the Police, which reportedly provided the name(s) of those responsible for Steven’s disappearance.
It was eventually released to the public in November 2020, with the Police hoping that it might generate new leads. The Police suggested that the person who wrote the letter knew Steven was dead.
As seen, the majority of the letter was redacted. From the events that followed, presumably the letter suggested that Steven’s parents were involved in some manner with his disappearance.
In December 2020, 28 years after Steven’s disappearance, Charles and Doris were both arrested by the Police on suspicion of murdering Steven.
Their garden was dug up and house searched extensively by the Police, who were looking for a body. It was never clear why the Police suddenly launched into this move.
After 17 weeks, the couple were cleared. They were left aghast at their treatment by the Police, and filmed a documentary to show their journey. The documentary’s release led to criticism of the Police.
Following Doris and Charles being cleared, the local Police force said that investigations into Steven’s disappearance would continue.
This disappearance is very strange, with very few facts involved. Everything seems very vague, which gives rise to various theories.
We take a look at the evidence for various theories:
Theory One: Steven was murdered by someone
One of the main theories is that Steven was murdered by someone. The fact that he didn’t return home surely means that something happened to him. At that time of year, it gets dark relatively early.
Steven also had a disability, meaning he may have been vulnerable and too trusting of someone with bad intentions. Sadly, he may have been killed by someone during the night.
But unless it was an opportunistic attack, there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason why anyone would want to do harm to Steven. This is one of the problems with this theory.
Is it possible that the two men who went into the public toilets after Steven had something to do with his disappearance? If this theory is accurate, Steven had to come across someone.
The fact that Steven has never been seen to this day does make it look like something happened. Then again, if he was killed, then where is his body?
Theory Two: Steven’s parents were involved in his disappearance
There is also the theory that suggests Steven’s parents may have been involved in his disappearance. The letter that was sent in 1999 appeared to feature something about the parents, and there was clearly a reason why they were arrested in 2020.
In the absence of CCTV, we only have Doris’ version of events. This may not have been wholly accurate – maybe something happened to Steven before and her and Charles went about their days normally in an effort to make an alibi for themselves.
Steven was known to have a disability and was unemployed at the time – living with his parents. Maybe his parents were finding life with him difficult. Perhaps they plotted his murder, and used a remote location like a beach with not many people around to stage the disappearance.
Also, it could be questioned why Steven would decide to run off after leaving the public toilet. He could have simply told his mother that he wanted to go somewhere himself afterwards. It would be strange for him just to journey on himself without telling anyone.
However, other than speculation, there is nothing legitimate to show that Doris and Charles were involved. They appear to be loving parents, and the fact they have not moved house does suggest they still believe Steven might be out there somewhere.
The absence of a body means too that if his parents were involved, that they would have had to find a way to dispose of Steven’s body. It would be a challenging task, but as ex-police personnel, they may have had a better idea on how to do this than most.
Theory Three: Steven intentionally disappeared and started a new life
Steven was believed to be spotted at approximately 3:45pm, which would suggest that he was still alive after leaving the bathroom. If this is accurate, it raises the possibility that he wanted to start a new life for himself.
It was known that Steven was going through a difficult patch in his life, and there is a chance that he wanted a fresh start. It would explain why no body has ever been found.
But Steven’s pronounced limp meant that he would be recognisable, and intentionally disappearing can be a very challenging task – something that many would struggle to do.
If Steven did intentionally disappear, it is possible that he remains alive to this day. But it begs the question why he would never come forward – he would have nothing to lose by re-emerging after all these years.
Theory Four: Steven took his own life
The only other main theory is that Steven decided to end his life on that day. While this would be a tragic outcome, it would explain why he was never seen again.
As mentioned before, Steven was going through a difficult time due to unemployment, with his disability cruelly holding him back. He may have decided tragically that there was no reason in continuing with his life.
The main issue with this theory is the absence of a body. It is possible Steven waited until night and then went out into the ocean, but even that often results in the body washing up on the shore. Most methods of suicide result in a body being found.
With the above theories in mind, we now invite you to cast your vote on the theory that you believe is most likely in the poll below.
This disappearance is hard to fathom – how is it possible that someone can go into public toilets and never return? There are many elements of this case which just don’t add up.
Steven’s parents have not given up hope. They’ve stayed in the same house – just in case Steven turns up. Doris says she’d give him a “big hug” if he was to come up the path. Sadly, with every passing day, the chances of this become more and more remote.