It’s been quite awhile since I did a spotlight case so I thought I’d write about Clark Handa today. I updated his case yesterday and will update again soon because I found some old articles about him on NewsLibrary.
Clark was three and a half when he disappeared from his family’s Fairfield, California home in the middle of the night on August 23, 1984. When his mom came in the bedroom in the morning, Clark was missing from his bunk bed and the window nearest the bed was open. A ransom note was left at the scene, demanding a lot of money — the cops have never disclosed just how much. Clark’s family complied with the instructions on the note, but the kidnapper(s) never contacted them again and Clark’s whereabouts are unknown to this day.
This is a highly unusual case for a lot of reasons. To begin with, ransom kidnappings in the US hardly ever happen anymore. The last ones I can think of occurred in the fifties. (They are quite common in Mexico, but Fairfield is in northern California, quite a distance from the border.) Also, this may never have been a real ransom kidnap, seeing as how the abductor(s) never followed through. The Handas were not wealthy and Clark’s house was a very modest one, which doesn’t fit the profile for a ransom abduction. Furthermore, Clark was asleep in a bedroom with four or five other people (the media accounts differ), and nobody seems to have noticed anything until the child was discovered missing in the morning.
My suspicion — and it is only that, I don’t have a lot of info to go on — is that this was an “inside job.” For what it’s worth, Clark’s parents separated a short time before he disappeared, but the cops don’t seem to think they were involved. I wonder about other members of the family though, or neighbors or family friends, and other people well known to the family. If the abductor was someone Clark recognized and trusted, it would have been much easier to spirit him away without a sound. A well-known botched ransom kidnapping in Canada a few years ago (the child was killed a short time after her abduction, I think, though her body didn’t turn up for months) turned out to have been masterminded by a foreign student who knew someone who boarded with the victim’s family. He had visited the home several times for social reasons and was acquainted with the child. If the abductor was someone who knew Clark and the Handa family, it might explain why they were targeted instead of other families who had more money. Assuming the abductor was really after money to begin with.
One must never say never — especially in light of Jaycee Dugard’s recovery — but I don’t think Clark is still alive. If he is alive, though, he may not remember much, if anything, about his real family. He would be twenty-eight years old today.