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Failed to Death: Nicole Clark

6:14 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Nicole Clark (right)
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 PDF Document: policereport clark

Age: 9 yrs.
Born: June 27, 2001
Died: Nov 17, 2010
Location: Boulder
Suspect in death: Patrice Clark, mother

Patrice Clark was suicidal, often drank too much and was arrested for driving while drunk shortly before she apparently parked in her garage and left the motor running.

A friend of Patrice asked police to check on her because she had not shown up for work that day. The last time the friend had seen Patrice and 9-year-old Nicole was the night before at a bar.

When police officers entered the garage the night of Nov. 17, 2010, the carbon monoxide was so thick it was hard for them to breathe, according to a police report. Shining a flashlight inside the Jeep, police saw the bodies of the little girl and her mother. They found no pulse for either of them. The keys were turned on in the ignition, but the vehicle was no longer running.

The Jeep's movie screen was down. The bag from McDonald's lay on the garage floor.

There were 19 calls that day from Nicole's cell phone to the phone of her father, who was away on business in Taipei. There was one message from the girl on his voicemail, an upset and crying Nicole asking her dad to call. She also sent him a text in all capital letters: "CALL ME IF YOU CAN AND IF YOU CAN'T ANSWER ME AND TEXT ME TOO."

Keith Clark, who was separated from Patrice, knew his wife was suicidal; he told police she would get "extremely depressed and would make several calls to him for attention." He recalled that several weeks before the deaths, his daughter had a friend over to spend the night. She told him her mother passed out of the stairs. The girls tried to rouse Patrice, but could not.

The Boulder County Department of Human Services had heard concerns before about the family. A caseworker was assigned in August 2001, when Nicole was an infant; the case was closed in February 2003.

Read the Police Report

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