The Austin police officer who has been the prime suspect in the murder of a woman believed to be the mother of his unborn child was finally fired this week.
But only because Vontrey Clark slipped out of the country, making his way to Indonesia, a county that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
Clark, 32, had a sexual relationship with Samantha Dean, who was seven months pregnant when she was found murdered on February 4.
Prior to her death, the 29-year-old told colleagues that if she was found dead, Clark would likely be the killer.
But that information was not made public until earlier this month, more than five months after her murder, when a search warrant was unsealed that included other mounting evidence that points to Clark as the prime suspect in the murder.
However, in the eyes of police, that still was not enough probable cause to arrest him, so Austin police ordered him to attend an in-person interview on July 18 for which he never showed, prompting internal affairs to schedule a Dismissal Review Hearing on July 23rd, for which he also did not show.
Turns out, Clark had traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia on July 17, four days after the warrants were unsealed.
In the search warrant documents obtained by KXAN on July 13, Clark admits to investigators that he had an ongoing affair with Dean, dating back six or seven years and he believed he was the father of Dean’s unborn child.
The report mentions that Clark kept his affair with Dean secret due to his relationship with Laura Tuten, his long time girlfriend and owner of the house in which the search warrant was executed in May.
Dean, a victim services coordinator for the Kyle Police Department, about 20 miles south of Austin, was found shot to deathon Feb. 4th in an empty parking lot in Bastrop County.
The warrants, which remained sealed for nearly two months, indicate that Clark “insisted that Dean have an abortion” because “his life would be ruined and he will lose his family” if she gave birth.
After investigators interviewed Dean’s co-workers, they learned:
“Dean had communicated to these employees if she turned up dead, Clark would be responsible.”
Further evidence shows journal entries penned by Dean and comments that she had made to a colleague, reveals “Dean’s state of mind and a possible motive for Clark to kill Dean or have Dean killed.”
One journal entry describes a somewhat disturbing encounter between Dean and Clark in which “Clark handcuffed Dean and blindfolded her during sex. He was in uniform and kept his gun on, and Dean felt at one point Clark was going to murder her.”
Authorities have also seized at least four prepaid cell phones which they believe were for the “sole purpose of facilitating the commission of the capital murders of Dean and Baby Dean.”
Records also suggest that one phone was tracked from Houston on Feb. 3rd to the murder scene. The last communication between phones took place at 12:11 a.m. on Feb 4.
The documents suggest that Clark was communicating to his alleged accomplice, Kevin Watson, via his Play Station gaming console.
The Texas Ranger lead investigator wrote, “Watson and Clark are discussing pertinent details of this capital murder investigation through voice over Internet chat by use of gaming consoles.
Watson was scooped up by authorities and is currently in jail on drug charges, but remains a suspect in the murder investigation as the trigger man.
Kyla Fisk, Watsons girlfriend, was also arrested for tampering with evidence after she allegedly discarded the hoodie worn by Watson on the day of the murder.
The fourth suspect in the murder conspiracy is 29-year-old Freddie Lee Smith, who is a known member of the Hoover Gangster Crips. Clark is suspected of calling Smith on the evening of January 22nd using one of the prepaid phones which were seized as part of the investigation.
Surprisingly, with the mounting evidence gathered in the case, no one has been formally charged. A legal term known as “law of parties” requires proof that a suspect “solicited, encouraged, directed, aided, or attempted to aid” someone else in the commission of a crime.
Questions still remain about Clarks whereabouts on the evening of Feb. 3rd as he told authorities he was having issues with his girlfriend (Laura Tuten) and left the house around 9:30pm. He maintains that he parked at the school across the street and walked around the building. However, surveillance video shows no sign of Clark that night.
Although the authorities haven’t taken the leap to charge Clark with murder, they have found some administrative loop holes to terminate and distance themselves from the suspected murderer. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, who routinely makes national news for backing his officers bizarre behavior, announced at a press conference that Clark would be “indefinitely suspended,” the police equivalent of a termination.
“I am only imposing disciplinary action for administrative policy violations that do not involved possible criminal conduct by Officer Clark in order to maintain the integrity of and not jeopardize the criminal investigation,” continued Acevedo in the disciplinary memo.
Acevedo even takes a moment to challenge Clarks dignity, in a sort of pot-kettle projection.
If you have any dignity, any semblance of humanity, Mr. Clark, get back on that plane and come back to Austin
Clark’s defense attorney plans to ride his clients ship until it is completely underwater. In a statement to the press, Bristol Myers doubled down by claiming Clark is just a victim of APD’s harassment.
Today’s firing was inevitable as soon as Chief Acevedo pulled Officer Clark off the street and subjected him to constant surveillance back in February. The Chief’s slanderous remarks today confirm that. Over these last few months, his administration has alleged one trifling policy violation after another against Officer Clark, none of which merited a firing. These latest allegations are a stretch of both the facts and policy, and should be easy to overturn at arbitration, if we choose to proceed with it. Internal affairs already had the phone records they claim Officer Clark didn’t produce. The bank records at issue in the suspension memo were not records that he had legal authority to obtain. This firing would be much harder to reverse if the Chief had the political luxury to wait for Officer Clark to be charged with a crime. But based on everything in the internal affairs investigation, and everything made public thus far, there still doesn’t appear to be enough evidence to do so.
The confusion over his FMLA leave stems from Human Resources providing Officer Clark with an incomplete form for his doctor to fill out. That paperwork was amended and resubmitted as required to obtain FMLA leave, and Officer Clark is not AWOL. If Officer Clark truly intended to slip out of the United States undetected, there are more clandestine methods than booking an international flight in his own name and using his own passport.
So perhaps all this confusion will be cleared up by mid-August when he is expected to have returned from his trip, perhaps even cured from the medical condition for which he was seeking treatment.
That is, if he does return.