Sept. 11, 2014
Almost four years to the day 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke went missing, crews from across Virginia searched a Greene County lake looking for any clues in her disappearance. Clarke's mother says at this point in the case, she wants answers not only from police, but from the man she believes knows where her daughter is.
Samantha went missing from her Orange County home in 2010. Her mother, Barbara Tinder, says she has spent every day of those four years wanting to know where her daughter, and best friend, is.
"She was with my all the time. Everywhere I went she was with me," Tinder said.
On Thursday, a dozen police forces scoured the lake in Greene Acres subdivision, looking for anything that may tell them what happened to Samantha.
"Even though we've been at this lake numerous times, our experts in this matter have determined that the lake has not yet been 100 percent clear," said Orange County Police Chief James Fenwick.
Fenwick says nothing in particular spurred the search, other than the Orange Co. Commonwealth's Attorney's desire to make for certain no evidence is in the lake so police can continue the investigation elsewhere. As crews wrapped up their efforts Thursday afternoon, Fenwick said they did not find anything of significance.
"For most people the simple answer is drain it" said Fenwick "To drain the lake would be 10 times more man power, as well and financial and possible legal battles."
Tinder was surprised when CBS19 told her about Thursday's search, and says over the past four years her daughter's case has not received the attention it deserves.
"It's been rough. I have no communication, I have nobody for support. She's not getting the media that everyone else has," said Tinder.
Tinder thinks there is one person who can help find her daughter; Randy Allen Taylor. Taylor was convicted of killing Nelson County teen Alexis Murphy, and was named a person of interest when Samantha first disappeared.
"Randy Taylor come and picked her up. He called here six times," Tinder said. "Why would you call my daughter six times if you ain't trying to lead her on or try to talk her to come out the house, or try to do something?"
Taylor has maintained his innocence in Samantha's case, and police say Thursday's search had nothing to do with Alexis Murphy. Tinder, however, is certain the cases are linked.
"I know Randy Taylor knows where she is. I don't care what anyone says, I know in my heart where she is," said Tinder.
Investigators maintain that the case is "solvable". While they admit the circumstances surrounding Clarke's disappearance are suspicious, they say the investigation will remain a missing person case until recovered evidence indicates otherwise.
If you have any information, please contact the Town of Orange Police Department at 540-672-1200 or Orange County CrimeSolvers at 540-672-7200.