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Police search garden of elderly parents arrested over suspected murder of their son

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-police officers Doris and Charles Clark said they were ‘amazed’ that police searched their home for clues after the pair were arrested over the suspected murder of their son Steven who went missing 28 years ago

The elderly parents arrested over the suspected murder of their son who vanished 28 years ago were “amazed” when police searched their property.

Doris and Charles Clark, both former police officers themselves, were home yesterday after their local force spent five days scouring the back garden.

Charles, 78, said: “I am amazed at the search, I have no idea at all why they did it.

“But I can’t say anything more because I am still under arrest and on police bail.”

Doris, 81, added: “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.”

A friend of the Clarks said they had been through “worse than hell” since the arrest, adding: “I can’t say any more because it is too upsetting.”

The Clarks returned to the £230,000 semi in Marske-by-the-Sea, North Yorks, as Cleveland Police reported a “significant” new witness in the case.

A woman has come forward to say she saw Steven on Marske High Street between 3-4pm on December 28, 1992 – the day he disappeared.

The sighting is after he was last seen by his mum at a public toilet in Saltburn, three miles away.

The Clarks were arrested and questioned following a cold case review over the disappearance of Steven, who was 23 at the time.

Officers were seen with digging equipment at the house Steven shared with his parents.

It is a short walk from the beach on the North Sea coast.

The witness, a woman who was out with her family on the day Steven disappeared, told police he passed them in Marske.

Steven, who limped due to a road accident as a child, was walking in the opposite direction.

Det Chief Insp Shaun Page said: “This is an important development because we know it got dark that day at around 3:45pm.

“This potential sighting puts Steven in Marske before that time.

“We believe Steven was alive on December 28 between 3pm and 4pm close to his home address.

“We have carried out searches in the Marske area and these will be continuing.

“A lot of people knew Steven.

“I again appeal for people to come forward with any information, no matter how small or insignificant they think it is.

“I’d like to hear from anyone who saw Steven on Christmas bank holiday weekend in 1992, which was Friday, December 24, to Monday, December 27.”

The mystery of Steven’s disappearance has fuelled speculation “for years” in the coastal community.

Neighbours described Steven as friendly.

One said: “He was well known, he loved to stop and chat.

“He would go on bus rides and find someone to talk to.

“This is dreadful for his parents.

“They have had 28 years without their son, and now this.”

The Clarks are said to be “quiet but friendly” with many friends who have supported them.

The search of the family home came after the Cleveland and North Yorkshire Cold Case Unit reopened Steven’s case.

They have appealed for the writer of a letter delivered to Guisborough police station in 1999 to come forward.

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