Trail To The Truth: Missing Clark Creighton
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – 20 years ago, James Clark Creighton, a Princess Anne man disappeared.
Princess Anne Police say the cozy town, is keeping quiet on a major secret, but Clark’s sister is making it her mission to expose the truth.
Grief For Over Two Decades
“If you went missing who would look for you? How long would they look? I started looking immediately, I look to this day. I feel the same way that I did that day, just 20 years worse.”
Two decades of grief, anger, and vows to find her brother’s killer.
An unexplainable disappearance that’s consumed the life of Janet Sydnor, the sister, of missing 63-year-old James ‘Clark’ Creighton.
No one has seen or heard from the Princess Anne man… since winter of 2000.
“Well it was Christmas and he was due for Christmas dinner and he never came. All day I waited for him to walk up the driveway and he never came so the next morning I took my two small children and we went up to his apartment,” explained Sydnor.
Walking into his apartment, Janet was greeted by silence, missing pills from his recent prescription refill, and leftovers that never made it to the fridge.
“That’s when I first thought this isn’t good, but I waited and I came back the next day and everything was the same, obviously no one had been there. I went immediately to the Princess Anne Police Department and filed a missing persons,” said Sydnor.
Missing Person Report Filed
“His slippers were missing, a tan winter coat, and some ceiling tiles were moved. Nobody heard from him, nobody’s seen him,” said Detective Sue Dize, with the Princess Anne Police Department.
It was below freezing when Clark disappeared.
Police say he last seen walking around Deal Island Road and Bowland Hill Circle.
A 15 minute walk from his apartment that would be difficult to do… only wearing slippers.
“I felt enraged and sick, what has happened to him? Why? Where is he at? People just don’t not come home,” said Sydnor. “I was thinking time is of the essence, we’ve got to start looking for my brother.”
The Clock is Ticking
And so the search began.
After the 72 hour mark passed, detectives found themselves with no leads, confusing interviews, and the possibility of not finding Clark alive.
“They walked several other fields and wood lined areas throughout the Deal Island area and everything’s been negative,” explained Detective Dize.
Losing Hope and Following Dead End Leads
Fast forward to 2021, the case became nothing more than a binder, filled with tips, that piled up over the years.
That was until Detective Sue Dize officially took over the investigation.
“She’s been hurt. Her brother is gone, and people either lied to her or they’re not telling her the truth, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I told her, I can’t guarantee I’m going to find your brother, but I’m going to work my hardest to find him,” Dize shared.
A Glimmer of Hope
And that reassurance was exactly what Janet needed, after years of feeling like she was searching for the Trail To The Truth… alone.
During our interview, she told me Clark was addicted to drugs and living with AIDS.
It raised concerns, that his case may have been less of a priority to police.
Detective Dize explained, that wasn’t the case. “His drug use means nothing to us. That’s nothing here nor there. He’s a person, we’re looking for a person whether he did drugs or not it does not matter.”
But in some ways it did matter.
Police believed the community he surrounded himself with, knew what happened.
The Truth Mixed With Rumors
Some say Clark was shoved into a car… wrapped in a bloody sheet or his body was disposed of in the marshes of Deal Island.
“We were told possibly the Rock Creek Church area or Rock Creek Cemetery area,” said Dize. “We walked through there, myself and quite a few other officers, we went probably 50 to 60 feet in.”
Visiting the area… you could see just how hard it would be to find someone among the trees.
“It’s not right, I’ll never be right. There’s no closure, it’s just it could end. It’s a good book, but I have no ending. So I’ll eventually find him if there’s anything that can be recovered,” said Sydnor.
A Task Too Big For One Person
And the hope of that recovery… doesn’t come without exhausting every resource.
Which is why Janet reached out to the Maryland Missing Network Facebook Page, hoping to spark leads, by canvasing Clark’s face across social media.
“I’ve thought about it pretty long and hard and I don’t think there’s a worse hell you can put a person through,” said Kat Johnson, the founder of the Maryland Missing Network. “What’s really sad is a lot of these families just cling to hope for many, many years.”
Will social media reveal answers?
Clark’s photos flooded the page… but even with help from those behind the keyboard, there were no answers.
And now… 20 years later… Janet no longer pretends that her brother is just missing.
She’s accepted the fact that he’s nothing more than a memory, one that she is trying to keep alive, while trying to put his body to rest.
“You think you can’t cry on something for 20 years, let me tell you, you can. But I’m passed crying, those tears are long dried up. When I find him will I cry? Possibly, because then maybe it’ll be finished. But it’s just got to be finished, and we’re so close,” Sydnor shared.
You can help solve the 20 year riddle — the reason to speak up
Police say it’s never too late to speak up. If you know anything about the case, you’re asked to call Princess Anne Police at (410)-651-1822.