Overview of Clinton Nelson
A mysterious disappearance leaves many with questions. Was Clinton Nelson a victim of foul play or did he go missing voluntarily?
Clinton Devon Nelson was born August 9th of 1985 in Nebraska to parents Carolyn Johnson and Jeff Mason. Clinton’s mother, Carolyn, found out she was pregnant at 17 years old, and initially, Clinton’s father, Jeff Mason, moved to Nebraska from Louisiana to help out with the baby. However, his father Jeff moved back to Louisiana after a short time, and Carolyn married another man when Clinton was young. Clinton’s stepfather was in the military, and his job moved the family from Nebraska to Spearfish, South Dakota. Carolyn’s husband legally adopted Clinton, and they had a biological daughter of their own, giving Clinton a sister. Carolyn Johnson describes her son Clinton as kind, caring, and compassionate; she says that he is the type of person who always sticks up for the underdog. Clinton loves hunting, fishing, and spending time outdoors.
Clinton always had the gnawing feeling that his life was missing something. While by all accounts he grew up a typical teenager, Clinton’s nonexistent relationship with his birthfather took a toll on his self-esteem and sense of purpose. He struggled in high school and began experimenting with drugs in his senior year. At 18 years old, Clinton accidentally overdosed by taking a lethal combination of medications from which he ended up in the intensive care unit. Shortly after this incident, Clinton and some friends broke into their high school to steal items in an effort to amass money. Clinton was arrested for this burglary in 2003 and spent 6 months in prison. After his release, Clinton yearned for the opportunity to connect with his birthfather; he wanted to find himself and experience a fresh start in rural Louisiana. Clinton’s mother Carolyn was hesitant about his decision to move in with his birthfather, citing Jeff Mason’s lifestyle; she was worried Clinton would be exposed to situations that may hinder his progress, but Clinton was adamant about the decision.
Clinton moved to Haughton, Louisiana to live with his birthfather, Jeff Mason, his wife Debbie, and her children in March of 2006. Clinton’s great uncle was a supervisor on an oil rig, and he offered Clinton a job in Louisiana. Work on sites like oil rigs demand excruciatingly long hours and heavy physical labor, but they pay relatively good wages for entry level positions. Jeff Mason’s wife, Debbie, lamented sharing her small space with another person, and her irritation understandably increased when Clinton brought his bulldog, who she specifically requested Clinton leave behind. The new family adjusted to the new circumstances as Clinton started his job at the oil rig. However, not too long after he began, Clinton was injured on the job when a pipe wrench fell on top of him, hitting his hard hat, resulting in 15 broken ribs, a broken arm, and a large laceration to his collarbone. Clinton went back to work as soon as he was able to, and he moved in with Debbie’s daughter Rachel due to rising tensions in the house. Clinton told his mother in a phone call that he and his birthfather had been looking into getting a place together, a place without Debbie. In addition to getting his own place, Clinton was looking to buy his mother’s car due to his truck breaking down. Clinton didn’t have a bank account, so his birthfather, Jeff Mason, kept his money in a safe, and gave it to Clinton when he asked. The day before his disappearance, Clinton requested money from his safe.
On August 31st, 2006 Clinton set out in his father’s truck to go to his friend’s house in Princeton, Louisiana, which is only 10-minutes north of Haughton. Jeff Mason assumed that Clinton wanted the money from the safe to celebrate his 21st birthday, which occurred a few weeks prior, and he gave Clinton around $600 before he left. Jeff Mason showed up to the friend’s house around 3 pm the next day, September 1st, when Clinton didn’t come home. Clinton peered at Jeff through the blinds as he approached the house, and he only spoke to his father through a crack in the door. After seeing that his son was okay, Jeff headed to work in his truck. The same day, around 7 pm, Debbie, Jeff’s wife, called Clinton to tell him that his most recent paycheck had arrived in the mail and to ask if he needed it that night, but Clinton told her they could cash it out together the following day. Debbie asked Clinton if he needed a ride back to Haughton, but Clinton told her that he would catch a ride with his dad when Jeff finished his night shift that evening.
Around 10 pm, while Jeff Mason was still at work, he called Clinton to check in after he saw police headed towards the direction of Clinton’s friend’s house. Jeff says that Clinton sounded “disturbed and scared”; he says that Clinton whispered for the entire call, and he whispered that the police were after him before the line went dead. Jeff finished work and went home around 3 am to discover Clinton had not made it back. Jeff Mason and his wife Debbie left early the next morning, September 2nd, to look for Clinton, and they drove to Clinton’s friend’s house where they were greeted by the friend and his girlfriend, but no Clinton. According to the friend, Clinton stepped out for a cigarette around 8:30 pm and never returned. Jeff Mason calls Clinton’s mother, Carolyn, September 3rd to inform her of the situation, and he tells her that the police won’t let him file a report until the end of the weekend. Jeff also tells Carolyn that on August 2, 2006, Clinton was searched as a passenger in a vehicle during a routine traffic stop after appearing nervous; he was found in possession of Xanax, marijuana, and ecstasy, and was arrested for possession of narcotics. However, Clinton swore to Jeff Mason and Debbie that the drugs were not his, and that he had not been using again, so they decided to keep it from Carolyn. Clinton was still on probation from his previous infraction in 2003, so when a court date was set for drug possession and he missed the date, a warrant was put out for his arrest. Police came to Jeff’s house, and the friend’s house, to pursue the arrest warrant, but discovered that Clinton was nowhere to be found, which led them to wonder if Clinton left of his own volition. Clinton’s family adamantly denies this suggestion; they cite the fact that he left his last paycheck behind, and the fact that Clinton was excited about the possibility of being a father. A few months after Clinton moved to Louisiana, he received a call from a woman in Spearfish, South Dakota informing him of her pregnancy and his possible paternity. The baby boy was confirmed to be Clinton’s after his disappearance.
In the months following, while investigating Clinton’s disappearance further, police found that there were many people at the house the night of his disappearance, and that the house was a hotspot for drug activity, particularly methamphetamines. The friend Clinton was visiting was arrested in 2011 for distributing meth from his home, but he has remained firm in his account that Clinton left at 8:30 to smoke. Others who attended the party the night of Clinton’s disappearance claim he was acting paranoid and that Clinton was doing heavy narcotics. Police worry that Clinton may have run into the words under a drug induced psychosis; they initiated a ground search in November, but the rural Louisiana terrain was not welcoming, and it produced nothing.
Where the case stands today.
Clinton’s case remains unsolved. At the time of his disappearance, Clinton was wearing a black Echo brand t-shirt, blue jeans, a black knit cap, red and white DC brand sneakers, and he had a cellphone, though no calls were made after 10 pm on the night of his disappearance. Clinton’s wire frame glasses and wallet have not been found and were on him at the time of his disappearance. Though rumors are rampant throughout the community, none have been substantiated.
There are many theories regarding Clinton’s disappearance. While some believe Clinton left voluntarily to start a new life, others believe that he might have succumbed to the elements due to a drug induced psychosis. Due to the large amount of cash he was carrying, some people believe that it may have been a drug fueled robbery gone wrong. Because one can be charged with murder in the state of Louisiana if they supplied drugs to someone who overdosed, many believe that Clinton overdosed, or that his heart stopped, causing party goers to panic and dispose of his body. Whatever theory is true, Clinton deserves to be found. If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Clinton Nelson, please contact the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office at (318) 965-2203 or Bossier Crimestoppers at (318) 424-4100
Case researched and written by Nadia Y.