The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

Mom describes daughter’s last days

In domestic law on August 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

The Torrance woman said in an interview that she had accepted his story that her 27-year-old daughter disappeared in the middle of the night, abandoning her family, never to be seen or heard from again.
[Mothers DO NOT just disappear in the middle of the night-of their own accord]

Amplify’d from www.dailybreeze.com
TN14-ARREST.4.13.11— Michael Clark, 57, is taken into custody outside his Huntington Beach condominium Wednesday morning by Torrance police detectives for the murder of his wife Carol Lubahn who disappeared in 1981. Daily Breeze Photo: Robert Casillas

Melba Meyer believed her son-in-law for 30 years.

The Torrance woman said in an interview that she had accepted his story that her 27-year-old daughter disappeared in the middle of the night, abandoning her family, never to be seen or heard from again.

Meyer never suspected that Michael Clark, a 57-year-old man she first knew as a high school boy, had committed any wrongdoing.

But Friday, the 84-year-old woman arrived in a Torrance courtroom as the first prosecution witness to testify against Clark, a former Torrance man charged in April with killing her daughter, Carol Lubahn, who was listed as missing in 1981.

“I still had hopes she was alive,” Meyer said shortly before Clark was escorted into the courtroom in handcuffs. He acknowledged her with a smile and a wink.

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin, who specializes in prosecuting cold cases, asked Meyer to testify early in the proceedings because of her age. The testimony was videotaped to preserve it for the preliminary hearing and possible trial in the coming year.

Meyer doesn’t know what happened to her daughter; rather, her testimony recounted the last few days before she went missing.

Prosecutors and police have not released any evidence publicly about what prompted them to file murder charges against Clark 30 years later, other than to say his story that she left him in the middle of the night while he was sleeping has varied over time.

Meyer testified that her daughter was a devoted mother of two who attended her son’s baseball games and who regularly talked with her parents and sisters.

“Do you believe your daughter would have abandoned her children?” Lewin asked her.

“No way,” Meyer responded. “She would take the children with her.”

Michael Clark – who changed his last name from Lubahn to Clark after his wife vanished – met Lubahn while they were students at North High School in the early 1970s.

Carol Lubahn became pregnant with their son when she was 17. Michael Jr. was born in 1971. The couple married in 1972 and by the mid-1970s purchased a home on Cranbrook Avenue.

Meyer’s husband, Milton, hired Clark to work with him in his painting business.

“He was like our son,” she said.

Meyer described her daughter as bubbly, energetic and wanting more than a life as the wife of a painter. She took classes at El Camino College and decided she liked architecture.

At home, she handled the money.

“She kind of ran things, I think,” her mother said.

In the days before she vanished, Lubahn showed no signs that she was about to leave, the mother said.

She attended lunch with family members. Family, including her daughter and son-in-law, had dinner the night before she disappeared.

When the couple left, Lubahn told her husband to sit in the back seat, possibly because they had an argument, she said.

Meyer said she thought nothing of it.

“I just said, `Are you going to let her do that to you?”‘ she recalled.

Meyer said she last spoke to her daughter on the phone on March 30, 1981. She remembered it well. That was the day that a gunman shot President Ronald Reagan.

“She was so upset that anybody would shoot our president,” she told Clark’s attorney, Kevin Donahue.

The next day, Clark went to work and told his father-in-law that his wife had taken off during the night. They had argued about selling the house the night before.

Meyer said she figured that her daughter needed some space and would return before long.

The young couple, she said, had split a couple of times before.

Family members, including Clark, went driving around the South Bay, looking for her car. Meyer discovered it a few days later parked near the Red Onion restaurant on Harbor Drive in Redondo Beach.

Lubahn sometimes went dancing at the now-defunct restaurant, but she was nowhere to be found.

As time passed, Meyer became more concerned. Some time later, Clark told her that someone had entered his house, gone through the mail, and removed money and pictures of their children. He believed the intruder was his wife.

By the end of 1981, however, Clark had a new girlfriend that he would eventually marry and raise children.

Lubahn is still missing.

“Do you want to believe your daughter is dead?” Lewin asked Meyer. “No,” she said.

“Is it hard to believe your son-in-law is responsible?” Lewin asked. “Yes,” she said.

In fact, she said during testimony, the family remained intact as the years progressed. Clark attended family events and inherited her husband’s business when he retired.

“He was always fun,” Meyer said. “Kind of a laid-back person.”

See more at www.dailybreeze.com

 

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