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After A Campsite Party Ended In Murder, Teens Dumped Friend's Body In Lake
Six years after a high school graduation party turned deadly, Oklahoma investigators were able to discover what really happened to Jarret Clark.
In 2006, the community of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, suburb of Tulsa, was left reeling when 18-year-old Jarret Clark went missing after a graduation party and days later was found dead.
Popular, athletic, kind, and confident, Jarret had planned to go into the military. But on May 13, 2006, he joined a group of teens that wasn’t his usual crowd for an overnight gathering at a campsite on Wahoo Bay.
Other teens at the lakeside gathering were Brandon Hargrove and his girlfriend, Courtney Manzer, Anthony Wallen, Brandon’s older sister Dayna Hargrove, and Wayne Humphrey.
When night turned to day “something didn’t seem right about that morning,” Jarret’s father, Eric Slater, told “Murdered By Morning,” airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.
It was Mother’s Day and the family had plans. But Jarret was nowhere to be found and calls to his phone went straight to voicemail.
Jarret’s parents learned from their son’s ex-girlfriend there was a rumor that he had gotten into a fight while at Wahoo Bay. Jarret’s parents went to the area and searched for their son.
On Monday, a park ranger and Jarret’s father discovered one of the missing teen’s shoes. The park was closed and deemed a crime scene, said Dep. Sheriff Danny Elliot, a retired investigator with Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office.
Several agencies joined the search for Jarret, whose family and friends braced for the worst outcome. As the search was conducted, sheriffs interviewed the other teens who were at the party. In witness statements they said that around midnight a shoving match went on between Jarret, Brandon Hargrove, and Wallen. They claimed Jarret was drunk.
“In the initial investigation, police thought that he had just walked off and that maybe there was no foul play involved,” said Tami Marler, a retired investigative journalist with CBS, Tulsa.
But as the search for Jarret went on, investigators tracked the location of his phone using cell phone tower technology to a dumpster in Broken Arrow.
Then, on May 19, Jarret’s body was found floating in the lake a few hundred yards from the party site.
An autopsy was done at the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office in Tulsa.The medical examiner found signs of trauma on Jarret’s body but couldn’t conclusively say that was from a beating or simply from being in the water for several days. Jarret’s lungs were filled with water so investigators knew he was alive when he entered the water before drowning.
Between a lack of leads, evidence, and witness statements to point investigators toward a resolution, the case went cold. It remained in stasis for more than five years.
In 2012, a newly elected sheriff reopened the case. Elliot was tasked with answering lingering questions concerning what happened in the final hours of Jarret’s life at Wahoo Bay. He started his investigation from scratch.
The original theory was that Jarret’s drunken condition led to his death, but Elliot found that the toxicology report didn’t support that idea. Jarret’s blood-alcohol level was very low. There was a minimal level of a drug associated with Xanax.
Elliot re-interviewed Jarret’s ex-girlfriend. She told him that she had received texts from Jarret around 2 a.m. that didn’t seem like messages he would write.
“Their context and the words used all seemed to be completely different, as if authored by a completely different person,” Elliot told “Murdered by Morning.”
In May 2012, the investigator rounded up individuals who had been at the fatal Wahoo Bay gathering.
Courtney Manzer remembered only that Jarret had crawled into a tent she was alone in and that Brandon Hargrove hollered Jarret’s name. Elliot found her vague memory of the events suspicious.
Elliot’s interview with Dayna Hargrove and Wallen also raised red flags. “All of their stories changed several times,” the investigator said.
Witnesses initially claimed not to know anything. Then they said Jarret was chased by Wallen and Humphrey — Wallen said he was angry at Jarret because he thought he had stolen his marijuana and that Brandon was ready to fight with Jarret.
Humphrey was serving time for burglary and embezzlement in 2012. Elliot brought him to Wahoo Bay and had him walk him through the events of May 13, 2006. Humphrey said there was an altercation between Jarret, Wallen, and Brandon Hargrove. According to Humphrey, Elliot told producers, Wallen had him hold Jarret and then hit and kicked him with so much force that Humphrey felt the shock of the blows.
In his statements, Humphrey “had nothing to win or lose, except to tell the truth” said Elliot.
After the brutal body blows, could Jarret have stumbled into the lake and drowned? Investigators tracked down a witness who was at Wahoo Bay and wasn’t part of the teens’ gathering. She recalled hearing angry yelling and seeing a truck driving to a boat ramp. Then she heard a thud and a splash.
It was strong circumstantial evidence of foul play. Then, vegetation from the woods near the camping area found on clothes Jarret was wearing when his body was recovered revealed that he had been dragged.
A statement from an individual who told investigators that Manzer admitted to killing Jarret gave authorities evidence they needed to make an arrest. Manzer was charged with first-degree murder.
“We believed that just like Courtney Manzer, Dayna Hargrove conspired to cover up the crime, and that’s what she was initially charged with,” said D.A. Jack Thorp, first assistant district attorney, District 27, Oklahoma.
“The crime was putting Jarret in the water after the fight,” said Elliot, adding that Humphrey wasn’t around for that and wasn’t a suspect in the crime.
“We believe that Tony and Brandon were the ones that actually beat Jarret Clark and put him in water,” said Thorp.
What sparked the fight? They thought Jarret was flirting with Manzer. Brandon wrote the texts to Jarret’s ex and then dumped his phone, according to investigators.
Wallen was charged with first-degree murder in 2014, while Manzer and Dayna Hargrove, who struck plea deals, had agreed to testify for the prosecutors.
Dayna Hargrove pleaded to obstruction and was given a two-year probated sentence. Courtney Manzer was ultimately charged with conspiracy to be an accessory after the fact. She was given a two-years sentence.
In June 2016, Wallen pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He was sentenced to eight years in prison and 12 years of parole.
Brandon Hargrove died in a car accident in 2008.
To learn more about the case, watch “Murdered By Morning,” airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.