The Austin Police Department (APD) today terminated VonTrey Clark, who is suspected in the murder of Samantha Dean, the former Kyle Police Department victims service coordinator who was found dead in Bastrop in February. She was seven months pregnant at the time.
Clark, 32, was fired for withholding information during an internal investigation and associating with known felons. Three people who are also suspects in the murder were either in jail or questioned by authorities, including a man identified as a close associate of Clark's. At this point, Clark has not been charged with a crime in connection with Dean's death but the criminal investigation is ongoing. APD is not the lead investigating agency in the case; the Bastrop County Sheriff's Office began the investigation and later handed it over to the Texas Rangers.
APD has said Clark was put on paid administrative leave since February. An internal investigation revealed a relationship between the two. Court documents recently unsealed give credence to the notion that Clark was the father of Dean's unborn child and did not want her to have the baby.
APD Chief Art Acevedo told reporters during a news conference Thursday afternoon, "[Clark] had admitted he is the father of Dean's child. That's public record."
Acevedo also confirmed Clark is considered AWOL.
"Last week … Mr. Clark was ordered to come into Internal Affairs, specifically last Saturday," he said. "He refused to acknowledge that order. He refused to come in."
Acevedo said Clark is last known to have arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia, a city of about 10 million people in a country which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. According to Acavedo, Clark flew from Dallas to Tokyo to Jakarta on July 17. The city is on an island northwest of Australia in the Java Sea.
While the chief said he is concerned about the choice of the country to which Clark fled, he believes Clark will be back. But Acevedo said in no uncertain terms that Clark did not have permission to leave the country.
"He knows he did not have permisison," he said. "Do not believe for a minute that he has permission to be in Indonesia. When you are on administrative restrictive duty, you must communicate with the department."
Acevedo said Clark requested an FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) but his application was denied becuase he does not comply with the requirements of that law.
"He has been told .. that he is not allowed to leave," Acevedo said. "He is considered to be AWOL because he is absent without leave."
Acevedo said now that Clark is overseas, he is confident federal investigators will be involved.
He said the situation, along with Clark's affidavit, "… paints a picture that makes me angry … it makes me sad … and it paints a picture of betrayal to a profession, to an oath and to the law."
But he stressed that, "These are the actions of an individual not a police officer."
He said the men and women on APD are sickened, appalled and angered by what Clark did.
"We'll continue to do everything we can to … bring this man back," he said.
In a personal plea to Clark, Acevedo said, "I have one final message [for Mr. Clark]. If you have any dignity, if you have any semblence of humanity left in you … left, Mr. Clark, get back on that plane and come back here to Austin. If you're innocent, prove it. Come over here and face the music."