Duane Clark buried a baby in his backyard

But authorities say no crime was committed

"I only remember bits and pieces," Duane said. "I don't remember when she found out or when she even told me anything."

As the interrogation continued, the cops suggested Duane had a reason to be upset over the third child: the couple's financial problems.

"No matter how much we really didn't have food, a hundred bucks, two hundred bucks a month, it's always worked out," Duane countered.

Duane Clark and his wife,  Tiffany Clark
Hennepin County Sheriff
Duane Clark and his wife, Tiffany Clark
The clandestine grave where Duane Clark buried his third child
Crystal Police Dept.
The clandestine grave where Duane Clark buried his third child

When the police asked what kind of relationship he had with his wife, Duane said, "Okay. I love her. Still do."

Then he changed the subject. "I'm mad that I brought any of this up," Duane said. "I should have just kept my mouth shut."

Duane acknowledged that his wife sees that evening differently.

"She looks at me as if I'm a monster and it's my fault," Duane said, because he should have stopped "the whole thing."

"I know she hates me for what happened," Duane explained. "'Cause I hate myself for what happened."

But he denied being angry about the third pregnancy, which he insisted he didn't remember at all.

"You're fucking lying to me, that's what you're doing," Detective Hodge said. "You're lying to me."

Duane stuck to his story and posed a question of his own to the investigators: "But if that was the case, why was it when it was born, why would I be running around the house frantic on what to do?"

"Because I don't think that happened," Hodge said, saying neither one of them wanted the baby. "You're absolutely wrong," Duane answered.

The cops asked whose idea it was to bury the dead baby.

"It was both of ours," Duane said. "We didn't know what to do. We didn't know what to do."

And so the interrogation continued with the cops hammering Duane Clark for not calling 911, for claiming not to have known about the pregnancy, and for lying; Duane kept responding that he didn't know about the pregnancy, that he didn't hear the baby cry, and that he was telling them everything he could remember.

"Do you know what you're looking at here, Duane?"

"No," Duane answered. "I don't."

"You're looking at murder," Hodge said.


Police released Duane and Tiffany Clark shortly after the jailhouse interviews. There wasn't enough evidence yet to formally charge either of them with a crime. As soon as Tiffany Clark got out of jail, she filed for a restraining order against her husband. The petition, filed March 5, detailed the domestic disputes preceding Duane's confession. Duane denied Tiffany's allegations but agreed to the issuance of a restraining order, which also forbade Duane from having unapproved contact with the children.

Meanwhile, police worked to gather evidence that could refute or corroborate Tiffany's claims. They dug up the baby buried in the backyard, which the Hennepin County medical examiner determined was a 30- to 38-week-old fetus at the time of death.

Investigators confirmed that Duane Clark took the fourth baby into North Memorial Hospital, but no one at the hospital ever contacted Tiffany to ask for her version of events. That baby was taken by the state.

The cops also seized the family's home computers and Duane's laptop, which police found had been used to access Planned Parenthood's website a month before the third child was buried.

"This would support Tiffany Clark's claim that Duane had been researching abortion prior to the delivery of the baby that was buried," noted Crystal Lt. David Oyaas in a police report.

Police also interviewed Duane's young girlfriend, Trisha Jean Johnson, who told investigators that Duane demanded a sexual relationship to let her live at the Brooklyn Park apartment. He threatened consequences if she refused.

"That I couldn't live here and that I would lose my kid and he would take her away from me," Johnson recalled.

Duane controlled the young woman's finances and would hit her, even punching her in the stomach while she was holding her daughter, Johnson told police.

"There was a time where he was drinking where he said, 'I know how to hurt people and not have it be shown,'" Johnson said.

Duane would strangle her during sex and "keep going" when she told him to knock it off. He took other sexual liberties with his young lover.

"He just jumped right in and then put it in my other hole and just was going for it," Johnson said.

Duane was a loner and a hard drug user who was only close with his dealer. Duane did "coke, meth, everything," Johnson said. (Tiffany also told police Duane introduced ecstasy into their bedroom.)

Johnson recounted her reaction to Duane's story about Tiffany "burying the baby alive." She said she was immediately skeptical.

"How could a woman that just gave birth to a baby dig a hole?" Johnson wondered.

She quickly suspected Duane was involved based on his insistence that he needed to "unbury" the child "so he wouldn't get in trouble."

Before Duane left the apartment that afternoon to tell Crystal police his story, Johnson accompanied him and Kalina Rasmussen to the truck and said farewell.

"I hope you still love me," Duane told her. "I'm only doing this for you."

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35 comments
Dismuke Ayanna
Dismuke Ayanna

Bitch are you crazy? No sweetie we haven't All buried a baby in a backyard.....i wish i knew you so I could punch you dead ass in the face....

dr.al
dr.al

Hunter may not have his biological father in his life, but, he has Papa, Grandpa, uncle Justin and "dad" Neil. Wants to grow up and be like uncle Justin! I only wish the other kids had these influences in their lives. Melissa is a fantastic mom and I'm a blessed to have such an amazing nephew. Its a shame hunter has Duanes genes, but, he will continue to grow up with values, morals, respect and the love of & for his family!

Linda_McMahon
Linda_McMahon

I think we've all buried a baby in the backyard at some point in our lives.

Gay Ted
Gay Ted

This type of behavior is more common in the "Coon Community"..It's known as "keepin it real".

Johnbrick34
Johnbrick34

Gotta ask yourselves what more does Hennepin County need to charge this case out

bright612
bright612

Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that the baby was stillborn and no crime was committed regarding the birth. It still seems logical that to bury a human being in one's yard is in itself a criminal act. Citypages ran a story, "The Last Kennel," on January 6,1999 about pet cemeteries. From that piece: "It's illegal to dig a hole for your pet in the back yard or toss it in somebody's dumpster." So...illegal to bury your dog in your yard, but no charges filed when you bury a child? Is this not tampering with a body, at the very least?

Trefoil
Trefoil

Could this article have more irrelevant details (i.e. Mr. Clark's sexual proclivities, the condition of Ms. Laue's home)? More ethical violations (i.e. printing children's names)? More illusions about "evidence" that doesn't meet standards required for court? Nice attempt at journalism, Mr. Pratt. Perhaps you should reserve your skills for the opinion areas of online media. And "Shame on you" City Pages, for allowing this to be published, much less with so much fanfare. And "Shame on you" too, Crystal Policy Department for facilitating the leaked correspondence. Your future relationship with the County Attorney's Office has now been tarnished for years-to-come. But kudo's to Hennepin County Attorney's Office for demonstrating courageous judgement in what surely was a heart-wrenching decision. And, gratitude to Hennepin County Child Protection for what appears to be a successful termination of parental rights for the infant that was surrendered.

Jessica Warren
Jessica Warren

keep your head up melissa and dont you worry none of us gave any thought to this article other than the shame that prosecutor should feel for not prosecuting them!!! KEEP WORKING HARD MELISSA YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL BE IN MY PRAYERS!!!

kelly
kelly

They both agree that the baby in the back yard was a boy, when in fact it was a girl. Shouldn't the authorities be looking for the baby boy ?! Keep his name out there and lets get justice !

Melissa
Melissa

I first off; I want to say that I am very disgusted with parts of the article. I was put out there to look like white trash and a whore when I was 17. I never “logged onto yahoo chat to look for a good time.” Also saying that I live in a “public housing unit” as well as being “seated in a cramped living room.” We were never seated in my living room for one, and for second who are you to say that it is cramped?! Where I live and how I live never should have been in the article. It has nothing to do with this story at all! I am doing the best that I can for my child. I graduated high school with my class, with a newborn baby, with no help from Duane. I have a full time job, take care of my son and make sure that he has everything that he needs in life. But, of course none of that made the paper. I look back and wish that I would have never talked to Gregor Pratt. This is Duane’s whole ordeal and not mine. I am living my life without him and raising my son without him. I don’t need my son to be link to him at all. I made the mistake by talking to the media and I will never make that mistake again! I did not know what kind of monster Duane was. I can’t change the past and I wouldn’t either. I have the most beautiful gift that anyone could have ever given me and that is my son. He is my pride in joy! I’m glad Duane walked away. That’s the best thing that he could have ever done. I now have a wonderful boyfriend of 4 years who has stepped up and has taken the role as a father to my son.

Trayvon Kasel
Trayvon Kasel

Dig a really big hole and throw some donuts in it. When these two fat azses go in to retrieve them just fill it in.

Suck
Suck

You suck.

Singe
Singe

This turd gets to reproduce FIVE TIMES and I can't even get a girlfriend. What the hell.

Lisanderson1
Lisanderson1

A very sad story of major dysfunction for all the people involved. Not only were these individuals toatlly messed up has human beings, but everyone around them were just as messed up. Duane should have had a vassectomy years ago if he didn't want to father any children. Sadly, there are so many folks just like Duane and his family that keep the tragic cylcle of abuse and stupidity ongoing, except that they may not murder their offspring. I hope his other chidlren are able to live as far away as their parents as they can get - this would be a great follow up story, Mr. Pratt.

Drop45
Drop45

Classic battered woman syndrome. This man is a monster. I hope she gets the help she needs to heal and become a whole person.

JM
JM

Crystal seems aptly named.

Mikeipina
Mikeipina

If the baby "drowed" in the toilet then it would have been born alive. Of course she wasn't getting prenatal care; that which could have prevented this in the first place. Which means he knew not only about the 4th but 3rd pregnancy. Murder if you ask me.

Guest
Guest

You Google your first dates???

Cashhuge.com
Cashhuge.com

my classmate's sister-in-law brought home $15004 the prior month. she makes money on the internet and bought a $384500 house. All she did was get lucky and use the clues revealed on that website top of this comment

Rick
Rick

Both Tiffany and Duane Clark need to be sterilized ASAP. No way in hell should these losers have the ability to breed

Nigel Parry
Nigel Parry

Why was it necessary to recount the activities of these next door monsters in such lurid detail? This sad story of dysfunctional violence doesn't do anything to make anything better. It's not an expose that will help us stop this next time, it's just a narrative journey into pointlessness.

swmnguy
swmnguy

There's no question Duane Clark will wind up in prison, or dead long before his time. Whatever is wrong with him is the kind of thing that only gets worse. You have to wonder, "Worse than this?", but yes; worse than this. Our legal system isn't perfect, and sometimes it isn't even very good. But we must remember that our system tends to do the worst in the most sensational and outrageous cases. That's too bad, but it's far worse to legislate or enforce laws on the basis of the most extreme situations. Maybe prosecutors can't prosecute anyone in this situation. But these people flagrantly can't act right, and it doesn't look like they're suddenly going to become functional human beings. Also bear in mind they have to live every day being themselves. Nobody's getting away with anything here, in the larger sense.

thinkbeforewriting
thinkbeforewriting

So, the prosecutor sends a letter to the police department listing the reasons why they can't prosecute Duane. The prosecutor does not need to list the reasons why Duane is likely guilty, because the police already know those reasons... they're the ones who recommended it to the prosecutor. Tiffany is a completely unreliable witness, and without physical evidence, you can't convict someone of murder if you can't prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that there has even been a murder. There is no way that that standard is being met here. There's too much confusion and not enough physical evidence to prove murder. This may change in the future; some new technology may allow them to reopen the case later with more physical evidence, etc. But now Duane has a list of holes to poke in any argument the prosecutor tries to make against him in court thanks to an "anonymous" police tipster and Gregory Pratt. It is entirely possible that Duane's eventual lawyer may have overlooked a point that prosecutor listed in his response to the police. Thanks to Gregory and our friend at the police station, there is no chance of that now. Making it that much harder to successfully prosecute a wife-beating baby killer. Which is why these documents are "confidential". You can only take someone to trial for murder once. If you lose, it doesn't matter what physical evidence or new testimony comes out, you can't charge them with that murder again. So when you do it, you want to make sure you're going to win. The basis of the entire case for murder against Duane was the word of Tiffany who has every reason in the world to lie to cover herself. The prosecutor is doing their job by not taking a case they can't win in spite of political pressure. Despite the author's attempt to the contrary, the prosecutor is one of the very few people in this entire story who comes out not looking like a moron. Wish the author and the "anonymous" informant at the police department could say the same. It's not about what you believe, it's about what you can prove. So congratulations, Gregory, you've helped keep Duane out of jail, continuing to spread anger and fear. Hope it was worth it.

K Fishburn
K Fishburn

Aaron Ruparts mom should have done this

Karen
Karen

And that's all he needs is a great family around him use all just need to be there for him and never let that scumbag near him and make sure he has the best life ever he will always have his dna but fuck it that's not wat makes a great person its the people around him

JD Whiting
JD Whiting

what a big racist asshole you are

Melissa
Melissa

Thanks Jessica! That really means a lot. I was shocked about the whole situation but more shocked when I found out that they werent going to prosecute them. I think it's messed up. I dont understand how someone can walk into the police station and say that there is a baby in their back yard and get away with it. It doesnt make sense to me at all!

Karen
Karen

Hold ur head high and ur middle finger higher once ur son is happy nothing else matters :)

MomL
MomL

From the ages reported it looks like Tiffany would have only been 17 also when she was first pregnant. Count your blessings- you could have been stuck with this monster.

swmnguy
swmnguy

It is porn. But I suppose it's worthwhile to remind the rest of us that all is not necessarily well around us.

Melissa
Melissa

There is no need to worry about my son being around him. I will NEVER let that happen. I was always worried that he might change his mind and start coming around but, I don't have to worry about that anymore. We are so much better without him. Thanks for the encouraging words, Karen. It means a lot. :)

Melissa
Melissa

Thanks Karen! My son is happy, I dont think he could ask for anything more. I have and will continue to give provide for my son and give him everything he needs. I couldnt have asked for a better son.

Melissa
Melissa

MomL, there is no way I would have stayed with that man. I dont put up with crap like that. He threatened me and my son once and that was enough for me to call the cops. No way was I go to stand for that. No one should have to put up with that.

 
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