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Podcast Breathes Life Into Mysterious Disappearance Of Marialice Clark

Records show Marialice Clark became part of a federal investigation at the age of 12. She vanished two years later.

By Jax Miller
Marialice Clark Namus

The disappearance of a Black teenager in Nebraska, against the backdrop of historical racial tension and protests in the 1970s, is getting new attention.

Marialice Clark, 14, vanished sometime in August 1972 in Omaha, Nebraska, according to police reports obtained by Oxygen.com. The girl’s mysterious disappearance and loose ties to the Black Panther Party is now the focus of "The Vanished Podcast."

The podcast documents the "outrageous" tale of a teenager who became an informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms two years before her disappearance.

In 1970, a then-12-year-old Marialice had an older sister who dated a man named Ed Poindexter, a “prominent member of the Omaha group sometimes known as the Black Panthers or the United Front Against Facism [sic], or the United Coalition Against Facism [sic],” according to a District of Nebraska affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.

The ATF named Poindexter as a leader in the group.

ATF Special Investigator Thomas John Sledge claimed Marialice attended Black Panther headquarters with her sister and Poindexter on several occasions. While there, Marialice allegedly witnessed, “[10] boxes that she observed to be machine guns,” according to the affidavit. The young girl also allegedly observed boxes of dynamite.

Ed Poindexter, along with David Rice, was convicted in 1971 for luring Omaha police officer Larry Minard to a suitcase filled with explosives. According to the Omaha World-Herald, the explosives detonated and killed Minard when he touched the suitcase. Last March, former Nebraska Gov. Bob Kerrey asked current Gov. Pete Ricketts to grant Poindexter an early release.

“I, to this day, never knew what the real relationship was between Marialice and [Poindexter and Rice],” Marialice’s cousin, Dennis, told the "The Vanished Podcast."

The affidavit lists numerous weapons in intricate detail, much to the skepticism of relatives, who questioned how a seemingly average pre-teen knew so much about firearms and explosives.

“She wasn’t a militant,” her brother, Ed Clark, told the podcast. “She was a schoolgirl. How would you feel if this happened to your sibling?”

Family members wonder if Marialice’s involvement with the ATF led to her 1972 disappearance.

“Police used her,” said Ed Clark. “They ignored her then and ignore her now. The podcast tells the story of a missing little girl. It also shares the story of people of color and their inequitable treatment by the people hired to protect them.”

Marialice’s mother, Mary Clark, reported her daughter missing on Sept. 27, 1972, saying she last saw her daughter at their Omaha home in August, according to a missing person report obtained by Oxygen.com. When asked why it took so long to report the teenager missing, her mother said she thought she’d return in a couple of weeks.

“A girlfriend of Mary’s by the name of Beatrice said she saw her getting into a car near the Bali-Hi Lounge,” wrote the reporting officer. “The license plates were from Chicago, Illinois.”

According to the podcast, Marialice wasn’t entered into a database such as the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), or the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NAMUS) until 2020, all at the request of media and civilians.

Relatives claimed they didn’t know Marialice was a federal witness until 1997, when Marialice’s mother received a copy of the affidavit.

"The Vanished Podcast" began investigating Marialice Clark’s disappearance more than a year ago, noting that there exists little about the story online. To the family’s surprise, the podcast’s creators also uncovered a police report that documented the rape of Marialice in 1970.

“We need answers,” Marialice's grandniece, Jennifer, told the podcast. “We need answers from the police department. We need answers from whoever is still alive from the ATF. We need those answers… I’m not stopping until I get those answers.”

Marialice’s mother passed away before getting those answers.

“I know my great-grandmother left this earth wanting to know what happened to her daughter,” continued Jennifer. “Who knows? If she was alive, she could have been at my great-grandmother’s funeral. ... I could walk past her and not know what she looks like or who she is.”

Marialice was 5’2” and weighed 130 pounds at the time of her disappearance, according to NAMUS. She has a birthmark on her right hip and a scar on the back of her head. Anyone with information should contact the Omaha Police Department at 402-444-4127.

Her story can be heard on episode 313 of "The Vanished Podcast."