Published Nov. 16, 2005Search Continues For Missing Man
Nearly a month after first disappearing from his home in rural Pleasanton, the search continues for a missing Linn County man.
Richard Clark was last seen leaving his home at approximately 6 p.m. Oct. 16. Despite days of searching during the next few days, Clark was not discovered in the immediate area following his disappearance.
On Friday, Clark’s daughter, Kim Eastwood, said that rumors that he has been found were false and that the search continues on a national level. The most promising lead, she said, was from a truck driver in Ohio who claims to have eaten supper with a man hoping to return to Kansas City.
The possibility that Clark was seen in Miami County soon after his disappearance have proved untrue, said Eastwood.
There have no information about Clark’s location in the last several weeks. He has been registered on the National Missing Person’s list. Details about Clark can be obtained from that website at www.theyaremissed.org.
Anyone with information about Clark’s whereabouts are asked to call 9-1-1.
Published Nov. 23, 2005Looking For DadAfter A Month Of Searching, Richard Clark Of Pleasanton Remains Missing
By Kevin Kinder Staff Writer
On the quaint, country home at 13086 Quinn Road, a sliding glass door cuts a picturesque scene into Linn County.
From the door, one can see plenty. Horses nibble at the last green tufts of summer grass. Orange leaves from bare trees float around on the sweet autumnal air. A lonely communication tower, bold and red, juts upward from the rich soil.
Kim Eastwood finds her mother, Sook Clark, staring out the window with ever growing frequency. But Clark is not watching the horses, nor hoping to catch a glimpse of the deer that so freely roam through the wooden hillside. Clark is scanning for her husband.
Though the days grow shorter and the nights turn chillier with each setting of the sun, Eastwood and Clark still have hope that Richard Clark might walk back toward the house he left on Oct. 16.
The last few days have brought no new leads. There are no new sightings or promising reports that might indicate where he might be. And with the passing of each day, the coldness of the night brings with it the notion that Richard might be in the middle of it. “I want to know if he’s dead and in heaven, or out there in it,” says Clark between tears, “It gets so cold out there.”
Away From Home - But Where?
Richard had walked away from home once before. On his nightly walk with his family down a quarter-mile driveway, Richard always walked behind. He was just independent that way, says Eastwood.
Walking one evening with Kim’s husband Dean, Richard walked slowly up the road and toward a gate on a field to the north. He turned around, then repeated the process. Dean, watching from afar, soon lost track of Richard.
When he came back to the house, Richard was covered in burs. “He’d cut through the woods, somehow,” Eastwood said.
Such a proposition was a scary one for Richard, who likely suffers from Alzheimer’s Eastwood was planning to take her father to a neurologist for testing the week after he went missing. And though likely suffering from the early stages of a crippling mental disease, Eastwood said her father was otherwise in good physical shape.
During a Sunday walk, Richard lagged behind and lingered near the mailbox. The sun was setting on a warm October evening, and Richard was wearing only a T-shirt. Just a few hundred yards from his home, his family felt comfortable leaving him to return on his own. While walking down the driveway, Eastwood turned to look back. “He was standing there, looking to the north,” she said.
It was October 16, 2005. It was the last glimpse Eastwood had of her father.
At about 7:30, Richard had not returned as was not in the immediate area of where he left from. Eastwood called her church. She called the sheriff’s office. Crews began looking immediately after receiving the call. But a canvass of the area did not yield any signs of Clark.
A Search Continues
During the next few days, a massive manhunt combed the area for clues or for the missing man himself. No trace was ever found. Search crews, organized largely by county rural fire chief Bernard Streeter, covered approximately nine square miles by horseback, four-wheeler and foot.
Search and rescue dogs from Kansas and Missouri assisted on the scene, as did members of the Kansas Highway Patrol, county fire crews, sheriff’s department and other volunteers. Highway patrol helicopters, equipped with thermal imaging cameras, scanned the areas surrounding the area northeast of Pleasanton where Clark went missing from. No sign of the man was ever retreived.
It doesn’t make sense to his daughter. Clark was wearing a watch. He was carrying a wallet. None of those items have turned up anywhere. “There’s no evidence,” said Eastwood, “Logic says he’s not in the woods.”
Two credible reports indicated that Clark had indeed left the area and went elsewhere. The first lead came from Louisburg, where a customer at the Price Chopper grocery store there was convinced that Clark had entered that building. Eastwood reviewed six hours of surveillance tape. She never located her father, though she admits she could not see the woman who reported him there, either.
The second sighting was made by a truck driver in Ohio. A man there reported he saw a man, looking for food, who was searching for a way back to Kansas City to see family. Eastwood believes the description of the man seen there was consistent with her father’s appearance and demeanor. The trucker, who was not headed in this direction, supplied the man with food and sent him on his way.
And while it may be comforting to know that Clark might have been spotted in Ohio, there is still so no resolution. “How’d he get there?” asked Eastwood. “There are endless questions you run into.”
No one has stepped forward with confirmation that they likely gave Clark a ride.
Eastwood knows her father might be in Ohio. She knows he might still be in the woods. She knows he might not be in either of the locations. What she does know is that her father is still missing. “I’m shooting in every angle,” she said.
Recently, Eastwood has begun calling national television shows like Montel Williams and other programs that might take an interest in her story. Through contacts made by Eastwood, Land Line, a national trucking industry magazine, has posted information about Clark in an effort to alert observant truck drivers to the cause. Clark has also been recently listed on the national missing adults registry at www.theyaremissed.org.
None have generated the words Eastwood is seeking. None have proved to the be secret ingredient to finding her father.
There are good days, and there are bad. Some days, she sits home and cries, knowing she may never find her father again. Other days, she wills herself into determination, telling all this will be the day her father is found.
Despite the questions, there are some things she knows. Richard likely will not know his name. Someone will have to recognize him, she says. He’ll stand out as someone wearing just a plain T-shirt on a winter day. “The person who finds him,” said Eastwood, “Is going to find someone confused, lost, tired and scared.”
There is still hope, says Eastwood. “He’s such a giving person,” she said. “He’s out there reaping the benefit of what he sowed.”
Until that final confirmation comes in, though, there is only waiting. Through tears, Eastwood says repeatedly not knowing anything is worse than knowing that he is dead. “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” she says. “We have to put closure on this.”