Investigators Search Greene County Lake for Samantha Clarke

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Samantha Clarke Samantha Clarke
Divers preparing to enter the lake Divers preparing to enter the lake

Divers searched a lake in the Greene Acres subdivision in Greene County Thursday for Samantha Clarke, the Orange County woman who has been missing for nearly four years.

Samantha Ann Clarke was 19 years old when she last seen at her home on Lindsey Drive in the Town of Orange. She left home the night of September 13, 2010 with no cell phone, no identification, and no extra clothes - no sign of staying away for long. Police say that makes this case a suspicious one. Early leads in the case led Orange County investigators to search in Greene County. In 2011, investigators searched the Greene Acres subdivision lake several times, but did not find anything to lead them to Clarke.

Thursday, dozens of crews again scoured the lake for any sign of the missing woman. Authorities said this search is an effort to finally conclude whether or not any clues are lurking beneath the water. It was the 12th time the lake has been searched. A nationwide lake searching expert triggered Thursday's search. That expert found there was still 10 percent of the area to search before it could be crossed off the list of places Clarke might be.

Inflatable balloons guided divers to locations along the surface. Green Acres Lake is 32 feet deep in parts, forcing some trained teams to search by hand. Divers plunged in different spots across the lake, but ultimately came up empty handed.

James Fenwick, the police chief for the Town of Orange, called Thursday's search a 'Hail Mary' because it drew teams from all over the state. He said he is now certain there is nothing related to Samantha Clarke in the lake. Fenwick won't say whether there will be another search or where one might be.

Despite the massive effort, Clarke's mother, Barbara Tinder, says law enforcement is keeping her in the dark. She says her relationship with law enforcement is so strained, she didn't know about the search until a neighbor called her.

“I'm really upset because I didn't know they were going to be at the lake today. It's just wrong that they didn't notify me, because they normally notify me,” said Tinder. “I want answers, I want my daughter home if she's still alive. I hope she is still alive.”

A vigil for Samantha Clarke is scheduled for this Saturday in Orange at Taylor Park from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will mark exactly four years since her disappearance.

If you have any information on this case, please call the Town of Orange Police Department at (540) 672-1491, Orange County Sheriff's Office at (540) 672-1200, Crime Solvers at 540-672-7200, or  CUE Center for Missing Persons confidential 24-hour tip line at (910) 232-1687.

CUE Center for Missing Persons Press Release

Orange, VA – September 13th will mark the 4 year anniversary of Samantha Clarke's disappearance from Orange County, Virginia. This Saturday family, friends, advocates, and supports will gather to celebrate Samantha, raise public awareness of her case, and welcome others to come together in her honor. The event will be held at Taylor Park, on West Main Street, in the Town of Orange, in Orange County, from 5pm-7pm. Family members of persons missing from elsewhere in Virginia and West Virginia will be in attendance to show their support, as well as Virginia representatives from CUE Center for Missing Persons.

The event will be an opportunity to increase public awareness of Samantha's disappearance, promote support for her family and loved ones, and hopefully bring forth new information in her case. There will be a balloon release, food, and drink, and much love and light for Samantha.

Our hope is that with the help of media promotion and coverage of this event, Samantha's story will be renewed in the public's mind and generate new information that may help in her case. A current flyer is attached to this press release.

Anyone with information on Samantha Clarke's case is asked to please contact the Orange Co Sheriff's Office at (540) 672-1200, the Town of Orange Police Department at (540) 672-1491, or CUE Center for Missing Persons confidential 24 hour tip line at (910) 232-1687.

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