Missing East Deer woman's husband arrested

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

The husband of a missing East Deer woman is in custody after a police search for him on Friday ended in Deer Lakes Park.

Police from West Deer, Indiana, East Deer and Allegheny County sped to the park to take Thomas Edwin Clark, 50, into custody at about 7:15 p.m.

Six officers surrounded him as he lay on the ground on next to one of the lakes across a small bridge. When he was helped to his feet, Clark had his hands cuffed in front of him, and his lower forearms appeared to be bloody or blood-stained.

The gray haired, goateed Clark was placed on a gurney by a paramedic unit. He did not appear to receive any medical treatment before being whisked away by an ambulance.

“I think this was some attempt on his part to take his life,” said Lt. Andrew Schurman, Allegheny County Police spokesman.

He did not offer a reason as to why Clark would try to kill himself; however, his wife Jill Clark, 50, remains missing.

She has been missing since her co-workers at the Penn Hills Post Office told police that she did not report to work on Tuesday.

Police said Thomas Clark told them she left their house at 508 W. Ninth Ave. between 2 and 3 a.m. Tuesday after the couple argued and has not seen her since.

Schurman said police could not locate Thomas Edwin Clark earlier in the day when they executed a search warrant at the East Deer house he shared with Jill Clark.

He said an alert to be on the lookout for Thomas Clark's vehicle, a black pickup, was issued and the vehicle turned up in the park. It was later impounded by police.

“A police officer found the vehicle in the parking lot and we started from there,” Schurman said.

A K-9 unit from the Northern Regional police force was brought in and tracked Clark into the woods.

“He didn't flee; he was just sitting there,” Schurman said.

He said Clarke would be held on a mental health commitment or possibly arrested, although he would not say what the charge would be.

Meanwhile, police continue to search for Jill Clark.

“We know she left without a cellphone, medicine, ATM or credit card,” Schurman said.

He said finding Clark is the top priority and that police believe she could be in danger and be harmed.

Schurman said police believe both Clarks were drug users.

“She's a relatively new addict, maybe just within the past two years, and sometimes, addicts go on benders and go missing for a couple of weeks,” Schurman said. “This could be her first trip down that road.”

Tom Clark told WPXI on Friday that he was distraught over his wife's disappearance and is putting up posters in the hopes that someone will find her. He also said that he hired an attorney.

The small red brick house, neatly landscaped with various plants in the front yard, was the focus of police for most of the afternoon. They arrived before 3 p.m. with a forensics van from the Allegheny County Crime Lab and spent time talking with neighbors as well as going through the house. At one point, one of the forensics team members came to the van to retrieve paper bags and flattened boxes, apparently to transport possible evidence from the house.

Schurman said interviewing neighbors is standard procedure. He said they were asked if they heard or saw anything in regard to the arguments or disturbances at the Clarks' house, but none did.

The neighborhood seems quiet and is made up of similarly well kept houses such as the Clarks'. One East Deer police officer said, while he patrols the neighborhood regularly, he has not had to respond to any major disturbances there.

Jill Clark is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing about 170 pounds, with brown eyes and brown and gray hair. She was last seen wearing a red shirt, jeans or jean shorts and sandals.

Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call county police at 412-473-3000.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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