Samantha Clarke Still Missing 10 Weeks Later - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Samantha Clarke Still Missing 10 Weeks Later

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Samantha Clarke has been missing for over 10 weeks. Samantha Clarke has been missing for over 10 weeks.

There is a woman in Orange County approaching the holidays wondering if she will ever be able to celebrate them again with her daughter. Barbara Tinder's 19-year-old daughter, Samantha Ann Clarke, disappeared 10 weeks ago.

Clarke's name has been in the news, but certainly not received the kind of national attention given to Morgan Harrington. That is odd, considering there are enough similarities, that if the Today Show was interested in one, they ought to be interested in the other. But that has not been the case for Clarke's family; their tragedy has played out very differently, and very quietly, at home in Orange.

Barbara Tinder's world is spinning out of control. One question haunts her: where is Samantha?

"She's a sweet girl," said Tinder. "She's got a beautiful smile as you can see in all the fliers we've been posting."

Clarke vanished sometime after midnight on the night of September 13, 2010. She told her 14-year-old brother that she was leaving and she would be home in the morning. So one of the first places police searched were the dense woods only a few steps from her front door.

"The only thing we know that she left with was her key," said Orange Police Chief Jim Fenwick.

When Dan Harrington, Morgan Harrington's father, of heard about the case, he reached out to Tinder.

"I mean she didn't have a clue," he said.

"It's very hard, each day goes by it gets harder and harder," said Tinder. "I think somebody's done killed her cause my daughter wouldn't go this long without contacting me."

"I knew in my heart on Sunday, Morgan was dead," said Harrington. "My daughter would not have run away."

Two missing person cases and a common denominator, but Samantha's case is getting only a fraction of the attention Morgan's received.

"Was Morgan's case more high profile because of who we are?" asked Harrington.

Maybe; a public relations firm also offered free help to the Harringtons, and he had other advantages.

"My people that I work with at the hospital were very supportive and do what you need to do, and salary continued," Harrington explained.

Time off work is not an option for Barbara.

"But, I mean, my mind hasn't been there, but I have to go try to work cause I mean I still got to live life," she said.

As for the investigation, Orange Police have support from the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Fenwick has also asked Virginia State Police for help, but has not asked them to lead the investigation.

"Anytime we hear of a major crime occurring, we often do reach out to the local police chief or to the local sheriff and offer them whatever resources or assistance they may have," said state police Spokesperson Corinne Gellar. "It is not in our position to just walk in and take over a case."

"At this point, again, we don't know if we have a crime," said Fenwick. "If it gets to a point where we feel it's necessary to turn it over to them, or to whoever, then it will be done."

But in Harrington's case, the University of Virginia immediately asked state police to take over. Still Harrington says that is not enough; from the beginning, he and his wife appeared in front of the camera.

"We pushed police," said Harrington. "I think that what we did is that we made ourselves available and we made ourselves vulnerable."

"I go out and post up pictures of her wherever I can go to post them up," said Tinder.

This is the first time Tinder has gone to the media.

"We feel that it's important for her to get the human element of there," said Fenwick. "Out there to make everybody realize that Samantha Clarke is somebody's daughter, just the same as Morgan Harrington."

Both cases remain open. Police have found Harrington's body and investigators are still working to find her killer. Orange police are still hoping Clarke will be returned alive.

Reported by Sharon Gregory
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