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Widow Says Her Late Husband Murdered A Mother And Son Who Vanished In 2002

“This is not the outcome anyone wanted,” the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said this month regarding the cold case murder investigation.

By Dorian Geiger
5 Infamous Cold Cases of Murder

An Arkansas woman has allegedly confessed to authorities that her late husband murdered a mother and son who have been missing for nearly two decades. 

Barbara Krusen told FBI agents during a post-polygraph interview this month that her now-dead husband, Clarence, killed Angela Mack Cox, 20, and her 4-year-old son Thomas Michael Rettew. Authorities believe Clarence Krusen incinerated their remains at Cox's Alton, Missouri farm in December 2002. 

"[Clarence] had done away with both Angela Mack Cox and Thomas Michael Rettew by killing them and destroying their bodies in a furnace that they had attached to their farmhouse,” Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork said in a news release. "She stated when they moved from the farmhouse, he told her the furnace had to go because of what it had been used for.”

Barbara Krusen claimed Cox worked on her and her husband’s farm in late 2002. She alleged she and her husband had intended to adopt Cox’s son. 

"Angela later brought her four-year-old son Mikey to their house and they kept him for a while, and they later made arrangements to adopt him,” investigators said in the news release. “She stated that an attorney had drawn up the papers, and she and Clarence signed them," 

However, the Arkansas mother later had a “change of heart,” which “angered” the Krusens, law enforcement said.

"She told Angela she needed to come back and pick up Mikey,” the press briefing added. “That she didn’t want to just be a babysitter." 

Soon after the mother and son disappeared. 

“Clarence had told [Barbara] someone came and picked them up,” the press release said. “She stated she did not hear any vehicle come or leave from the residence that night or the following morning.”

Clarence and Barbara Krusen relocated to Virginia. In 2004, Clarence Krusen was indicted on gun charges and spent eight years incarcerated in federal prison. He was later gunned down by a co-worker at a tractor-trailer trucking company in Texas in 2012, according to court documents obtained by Oxygen.com

The 4-year-old boy was reported missing by his father, Tommy Rettew in 2002. He was last seen alive in Alton, Missouri on Sept. 1, 2002. 

“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been actively assisting investigators to find out what happened to Thomas Rettew and his mother, Angela Mack,” John Bischoff, Vice President of the Missing Children Division for the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children told Oxygen.com in a statement. 

“Although this is not the outcome anyone wanted, we are relieved that this family finally has answers. At NCMEC, we know it only takes one person to change the direction of an investigation. NCMEC has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 348,000 missing children.”

Thomas Rettew NCMEC

Cox wasn’t reported missing until 2004 when her mother, Lorna Pool, told police in Poteau, Oklahoma she'd last spoken with her daughter on Dec. 11, 2002, according to authorities.

"She said she seemed herself, she was happy, and had a sense of humor," the missing persons’ report stated. "She told her she was going to be leaving [Chowchilla, California] to go pick up Mikey from Clarence Krusen in Alton."

The FBI declined to comment on the investigation when contacted on Monday.

“We defer to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas,” spokesperson Sydney Erhardt told Oxygen.com.

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