Human remains found late last year in the Santa Clara River wash belong to a Reseda man who was reported missing almost a year ago.
Jennifer Clark, whose son Christopher vanished on July 24, 2018, received a phone call she had been dreading.
“The woman for the (Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner) coroner called me yesterday and said, ‘Are you sitting down?’
“I told her I was, and then that’s when they told me. And, they said they had most of his remains and that I had to pick them up,” Clark said Thursday.
Each day since Tuesday, coroner spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani has been arranging for a DNA expert to explain the lengthy process behind determining whether the remains were those of Chris Clark.
For six months, Jennifer Clark — who supplied investigators with her own DNA — has been waiting to hear whether the samples were a match.
She now has some degree of closure, she said, at a time when she needed it most, struggling with cancer and receiving palliative care.
On July 24, 2018, Chris Clark had contact with his family in Reseda and, soon after that, he vanished. He was described as 5-foot-9, about 175 pounds, with a 1-inch scar on the back of his head.
The only thing investigators had to go on was that his car was found in the parking lot near Black Bear Diner, on Valencia Boulevard, near Magic Mountain Parkway, several days after he disappeared.
On the morning of Dec. 5, deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station responded to reports of remains found in the Santa Clara River wash.
It was a skull.
Jennifer Clark learned Wednesday for the first time that investigators also had a femur and other remains.
The missing man’s mother sent them not only samples of her own DNA, but also sent them two of her son’s teeth. The teeth were found among Chris Clark’s personal items examined by family members.
Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau are investigating the death, Clark said, noting she spoke to them Wednesday.
“The coroner also told me there is not enough physical evidence to determine the cause of death,” Clark said.