Details of Disappearance
Colton resided with his aunt and uncle, James Rex Clark (who goes by his middle name) and Rebecca Faith Clark, at the time of his disappearance; they had obtained legal custody of him after he was taken from his parents.
Rex and Rebecca reported they last saw him at their Wewoka, Oklahoma home at approximately 1:00 p.m. on April 20, 2006. Colton's aunt and uncle stated they noticed he was missing when it was time to go. His backpack and his favorite red shoes reportedly disappeared also; they theorized he had run away from home. Tracker dogs were unable to trace Colton's scent away from home.
Rex and Rebecca stated Colton was mistreated by his parents, both of whom had substance abuse problems. He and his older brother, Homer (also known as Austin), came to live with their aunt and uncle three years prior to Colton's disappearance, and had their names changed. The boys were both homeschooled.
Because of their living situation, both Colton and his brother were legally wards of state. Caseworkers from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) repeatedly tried to meet with the boys, but each time they scheduled a meeting, Rex and Rebecca would cancel it.
The DHS finally insisted on seeing the children and a caseworker was going to come over on April 20. Rex and Rebecca stated Colton was frightened of the DHS and jumped out a window before the caseworker arrived, and they never saw him again.
Police stated Colton's guardians seemed uninterested in finding him and didn't appear to be worried about him. They also referred to him in the past tense. Rex told police he had trained both his nephews in survival techniques and thought Colton could live on his own for months.
The Clarks initially agreed to take a lie detector test, but changed their minds and wouldn't go through with it. Rebecca stated Rex was taking psychiatric medication and she thought that might influence the results of the test.
Homer was removed from his aunt and uncle's home shortly after Colton disappeared. He was adopted by another family, changed his name again and moved to Tennessee. He now goes by the name T.J. Sloane.
In April 2016, Rex and Rebecca were charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, child neglect and conspiracy in Colton's case. Photos of Rex and Rebecca are posted with this case summary. According to the arrest affidavits and search warrants filed, Homer told investigators that he and his brother had been severely abused by their aunt and uncle: they were shocked with an electric cattle prod and beaten with extension cords and broomsticks.
Homer said that sometime in early March 2006, Rex and Rebecca accused Colton of stealing a turquoise ring and, when he denied it, they beat him severely for almost 45 minutes. Homer woke up at 2:35 a.m. and saw Colton lying under a sleeping bag on the couch afterward, his face severely bruised and bloodied. He wasn't sure whether Colton was breathing at the time.
Homer went to sleep again, and when he woke up a few hours later, at 5:15 a.m., both Colton and the sleeping bag were gone. Rex was awake and already dressed, something Homer thought was odd, since he usually didn't get up that early in the morning. Rex and Rebecca initially said they didn't know where Colton was. When Homer suggested they call the police, Rex said they were not going to call anyone and then kicked Homer in the abdomen.
Later, Rex and Rebecca told Homer that Colton's biological father had come and picked him up, and threatened to kill him if he ever told anyone. They made Homer rehearse multiple false stories to explain Colton's disappearance. He was eleven years old at the time. He never saw his brother again.
The Clarks were tried for murder and four counts of child abuse by injury against Colton and his brother in October 2017. Homer was the only witness. After three hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Rex and Rebecca of all counts and recommended a sentence of life in prison for both of them. Rex and Rebecca appealed, but their convictions have been upheld.
Foul play is suspected in Colton's disappearance due to the circumstances involved.