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Oct 9, 2011 11:00 PM by Matt Stafford

A mother's search for answers

"It's the last point of reference where I know my son was," says Janet Clark, while scouring an eastern Pueblo County ranch.

The ranch -- South of Highway 50, off of 62nd Lane -- is a place that brings mixed feelings for Clark; she feels closer to her son -- 35-year-old Benjamin Clark -- who went missing 2 years ago, but there's also a heaviness too. That's because she doesn't know what happened to him, and there's nothing she wants to know more right now.

"For six months I though Ben was maybe in a witness protection plan; alive and maybe on the lamb," Janet's mind would go anywhere except for the reality that she dreaded the most. "I didn't think he was actually dead."

Benjamin's car was found - on fire - just days after he went missing. He wasn't found. The car was found was on the same eastern Pueblo County ranch that Janet is searching two years later.

"I knew my son loved his car, so for anyone to have burned his car was making a very bold and violent statement against him," says Janet; that's when the reality became apparent to her.

"I knew he was dead, actually," says Janet. "I felt that that was probably what had happened."

Months later - in April 2010 - the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office announced that a skull and other bones had been found less than a mile away from where Ben's car had been found burning. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed the bones belonged to Benjamin.

"I think it was a violent homicide," says Janet.

"The majority of the investigation was being conducted between April of 2010 and March of this year," says Capt. Jeff Teschner with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office. Since then Capt. Teschner says information coming in has slowed to a halt; leaving a lot unknown. Investigators can't really even say yet if Benjamin was murdered.

"We've received no evidence to indicate that Ben had met with any foul play," explains Capt. Teschner.

"I don't see how it could be anything but foul play," says Janet. She's continuing to search for answers -- as well as comfort -- to know what really happened to her son. Two years has been too long to wait for this mother.

Pueblo investigators say they are looking for a Pueblo County man who may have information about the case. They say Danny Salazar is not a suspect; just someone they would like to talk to. Sheriff's deputies haven't been able to find him. Salazar has a warrant out for his arrest on a domestic violence charge. If you have any information, call the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office (583-6125) or call Pueblo Crime Stoppers (542-7867).

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