Samantha Clarke disappearance case reclassified as an abduction and homicide investigation

The disappearance of Samantha Ann Clarke is now considered an active abduction and homicide...
The disappearance of Samantha Ann Clarke is now considered an active abduction and homicide case by the Town of Orange Police Department.(WVIR)
Updated: Jan. 15, 2021 at 3:52 PM EST
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ORANGE, Va. (WVIR) - More than a decade since she went missing, Samantha Clarke’s case remains open and police in the town of Orange remain dedicated to finding her. On Friday, January 15, the Town of Orange Police Department announced it was moving the investigation into a new phase.

“Due to new information and advances in investigative and forensic technology, Samantha’s missing person investigation has been reclassified as an active abduction and murder investigation,” OPD Chief James Fenwick said.

It’s a major step in the case, and one Fenwick says was the result of new evidence. Due to the security of the ongoing investigation, he cannot disclose what the evidence was. He says the reclassification will not change the way his investigators go about the case.

“Digging for clues, digging for answers, talking to people, really none of that has changed,” Fenwick explained. “What has changed, obviously, is the technology.”

Clarke went missing after leaving her home shortly after midnight on September 13, 2010. Police began looking into the case on September 15, after a missing persons report was filed. To date, Samantha has not been found or recovered.

Samantha Ann Clarke (Source: Orange County Commonwealth Attorney)
Samantha Ann Clarke (Source: Orange County Commonwealth Attorney)

The disappearance was, and still is, a shock to the small town.

“We still have the community where people feel like they can leave their cars unlocked at night,” Fenwick said. “So, for something that for this to happen, and then for to go on the length that it has, that is certainly frustrating to the family, certainly frustrating to the community and equally frustrating to us.”

That frustration hasn’t stopped investigators from digging.

“Every week, I get updates,” Orange Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana O’Connell explained. “It’s been really worked on tirelessly by this, this very small police department and the resources have been not skimped.”

Chief Fenwick echoed O’Connell’s claim: “We have expended, you know, untold amounts of resources in this case, and will continue to. That is of no concern. We’re going to do what we need to do to be able to get answers for Samantha’s family.”

The Town of Orange Police Department still believes someone in the town knows something about Samantha’s disappearance that could break the case wide open.

“They may be the key that breaks this whole case open,” Fenwick explained. “They may be the key that helps a grieving mother have peace in her life. They may be the key that helps a grieving soul, you know, have peace.”

Samantha is described as being approximately 5′4″, weighing around 145 pounds at the time of her disappearance, with brown hair, and brown eyes. Clarke had three tattoos at the time of her disappearance: a Playboy bunny on her right arm, two dolphins on her lower back, and a Tigger tattoo on her right ankle.

The department is asking anyone with more information on Clarke’s disappearance to contact them at (540) 672-1491.

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