Details of Disappearance Lubahn was last seen at her residence in the 17600 block of Cranbrook Avenue in Torrance, California at approximately 12:00 a.m. on March 31, 1981.
Her husband of ten years, Michael Clark (called Michael Clark Lubahn at the time; he later dropped his last name), stated he went to sleep at that time, and she was gone when he woke up at approximately 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. She has never been heard from again.
On April 6, her red 1979 Audi Fox was found abandoned at the now-defunct Red Onion Restaurant in Redondo Beach, California. The restaurant manager stated it had been there all week.
Clark stated that on the night of her disappearance, he and Lubahn argued and she said she wanted to sell the house. He suggested Lubahn had left on her own because she wanted time to herself. He said he didn't report her disappearance for several days because of this theory.
He said after Lubahn's disappearance, someone came to the house while everyone was out, went through the mail and took some clothing. He also claimed he got hang-up calls on the holidays.
Eight months after Lubahn's disappearance, Clark began dating another woman. He divorced Lubahn in absentia in 1984, three years after she was last seen, and married the woman he'd been dating since 1981. They divorced twenty years later.
Both Lubahn and Clark attended North High School and married just after graduation. They had two young children in 1981, and Lubahn was studying architecture at El Camino College while Clark worked as a house painter.
Lubahn was having an affair with a college classmate at the time of her disappearance, and Clark found out about it not long before she went missing. She left all her personal belongings behind at home, she never picked up her last two paychecks from her part-time job, and she hasn't used her credit cards or Social Security number since 1981.
Authorities initially thought she had left of her own accord, although her family stated she would never have abandoned her children.
In April 2011, Clark was arrested and charged with Lubahn's murder. Photos of him are posted with this case summary. He was offered leniency if he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and told where he'd put his wife's body, but he refused.
There was no physical evidence in the case against him and the prosecution's case was largely built around the inconsistent statements Clark made about Lubahn's disappearance. He went to trial in October 2012 and testified in his own defense, saying his wife had simply left him and at the time he assumed she would come back.
He said the marriage was "in good shape" in spite of Lubahn's affair, and his defense attorney argued there was no evidence to prove she was even dead. Witnesses testified that Clark didn't seem interested in locating Lubahn and did little to find her. He was convicted of second-degree murder.
In January 2013, after more than thirty years, Clark finally admitted to having killed his wife. He stated he killed he unintentionally during an argument, which coincides with the prosecution's theory of how the murder happened.
Clark initially claimed he weighted his wife's body and dumped it in the ocean, but he later changed his story and said he'd buried her. He sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Authorities intend to search for Lubahn's body.
Foul play is suspected in Lubahn's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.
- Torrance Police Department
Updated 10 times since October 12, 2004. Last updated December 17, 2013; two pictures added.