Duane Clark buried a baby in his backyard

But authorities say no crime was committed

The prosecutor notes the "significant" fact that the Clark children described "mutual" abuse between their parents, rightly pointing out that the Crystal city attorney charged both Clarks for the domestic dispute in early March. But Townsend ignores that the city attorney dropped charges against Tiffany.

That doesn't take into account the similar accounts of abuse Trisha Jean Johnson gave to investigators, the threat against Laue and her child, or Duane's potential motivation for not wanting children: financial problems, which would have been exacerbated by a fourth child (third with Tiffany).

Townsend focuses on what she characterizes as a "powerful motivation" for Tiffany to fabricate her story about the forced miscarriage: sadness over Duane leaving her for Trisha Jean Johnson, evidenced by computer files where Tiffany laments her husband's absence.

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

By contrast, Townsend devotes no space to Duane's motivations for either not wanting the child or for turning himself in to police, which cops suggested during their interrogation could've been an attempt to gain custody of the children or pre-empt domestic assault charges.

In saying Tiffany's version can't be corroborated, Townsend glosses over the fact that Duane Clark's laptop was used in July 2008, a month before the baby was born, to access Planned Parenthood's website, which police believe supports Tiffany's assertions. Her denial also skims over the fact that someone used Duane's computer to Google: "in mn if you don't report a birth and death of a child is the leagal action."

Duane Clark declined to be interviewed for this story. Tiffany Clark did not return messages seeking an interview and her stepfather, John Ruhland, said he would advise her not to comment. Her mother did not return numerous messages.

Although Duane and Tiffany made radically different statements to police investigators about the fate of their third child, they agreed on one point: that the baby was a boy.

DNA testing, ordered by the county attorney's office, confirmed that the baby was Duane and Tiffany Clark's. It also showed that the baby buried in the backyard was actually a girl. 

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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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