Authorities executed a search warrant on an Austin police officer’s house on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into the murder of Samantha Dean, a 29-year-old pregnant woman who was shot to death on February 4th, 2015.
Officer Vontrey Clark, who had “social ties” to Dean, has officially been the subject of an investigation by his very own colleagues since March. Investigators left his residence with DNA samples, several pairs of shoes and “essentially every electronic device in the house,” Clark’s attorney, Bristol Myers, wrote in an email.
Bastrop County deputies found Dean’s body lying next to her late model Dodge Charge in an abandoned shopping center parking lot in the early hours on February 4th.
An autopsy report revealed that Dean, a crimes counselor at the nearby Kyle Police Department, was shot multiple times to the head, while she was seven months pregnant.
Detectives have determined that Dean was shot in a different location than where her body was found. Police say her car was found with the door open and without backseats. Officers found her body with a bag over her head.
Immediately after news broke about the murder, Austin police released a statement that they had put one, unidentified officer on paid leave to determine if he was the father of Dean’s unborn child — a decision made by Police Chief Art Acevedo. Weeks later, reports confirmed the unidentified officer to be Vontrey Clark. Myers then went to the media on behalf of Clark to squash any attempts to paint his client as a suspect:
“Officer Clark had nothing to do with the death of Samantha Dean. If investigators believed so, they would have searched his home and his vehicles and obtained a DNA sample from him,” Myers said in a statement. “None of that has happened, and at this point I don’t think investigators have any hard evidence pointing to any single suspect.”
But that was three months ago.
After the search of Clark’s home on Tuesday, its clear that investigators now believe Clark had something to do with Dean’s murder. Myers still maintains that the items police were looking for, they did not find and that Dean’s killer remains a “mystery.” The contents of the search warrant will remain a mystery as State District Judge Julie Kocurek sealed the warrant for at least 30 days because of the ongoing investigation.
The nature of the case, and the circumstances of the murder have led the FBI to get involved in what appears to be a supporting role. Former federal prosecutor, Johnny Sutton provided some context in a statement to the Austin Statesman:
“A lot of times that help is requested in situations where the FBI has experience and resources that the locals may not have, such as the ability to research and investigate electronic communications,” he said.
One thing is clear from following the actions of the Austin Police Department, they are keeping a tight lip on the flow of information regarding this case. Most, if not all of the public information regarding one of their own and the primary suspect of the murder, has been released from “sources within the department,” and not through public press releases.
Obviously, having an officer under murder investigation is not a fact that the department wants to advertise. However, the longer the information is suppressed, the more explosive it could be later. PINAC will be following this story closely.
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