A new report put out by the state commission for Children and Youth outlines the days and months that followed Colton Clark's disappearance.
The 10-year-old went missing in 2006 from the home of his Aunt and Uncle, Rebecca and Rex Clark in Seminole. According to the report, DHS was notified on March 24, 2006 of allegations of abuse, but were unable to contact the Clarks for nearly a month. Eventually the Clarks told workers Colton had gone missing.
Over the next few months, DHS pushed at least three times to have his brother, Austin, removed from the Clark home, each time the Seminole County DA refused citing a lack of evidence. DHS says there was nothing else they could do.
“Here we are 10 years later trying to Monday morning quarterback a case from ten years ago trying to find out who knew what when,” DHS Communications Director Sheree Powell said on Thursday.
Eventually, workers said an old dog bite on Austin's leg needed medical attention. A full physical exam performed while tending the bite found signs of severe abuse -- which led to his removal from the house. He then told police the Clark's threatened him into lying about Colton's disappearance by calling him names like "pervert" and "broke" and that Colton had gone missing at least a day before the first call to DHS. Austin said he woke up and [Colton] was gone.
“The workers were very creative I think in using that old dog bite to try to find a way to physically examine the boy to get him out of the environment,” Powell said.
But family members blame DHS. Over the phone today, Colton's half-sister Raven Womack said, "Do I think DHS did wrong? Yes. I pretty much think they're at fault for this."
She didn’t rule out a lawsuit against DHS but said because she was only a half-sibling the official suit would be Austin’s decision.