Toni Danielle Clark: Missing from California Since 1990

Published: Updated: 4 comments

OAKLAND, Calif. — On March 16, 1990, Toni Danielle (some reports list her middle name as Danieele) Clark, 17, left Oakland and headed to her San Bruno home after visiting friends and family. Before she left, the 1979 Chevy Camaro she borrowed from her boyfriend kept stalling. After several failed attempts, the car finally started, and Toni began the drive home.

Shortly after leaving Oakland, the car stalled again on the Bay Bridge. Some witnesses recalled seeing a black male under the vehicle’s hood, and others saw a man walk away.

At 11:40 p.m., a car collided with the Camaro, hitting it from behind.

A witness reported seeing someone standing in front of the car. The witness was riding in a car whose driver swerved to avoid the stalled vehicle. The car following the witness’s car struck Clark’s and knocked it onto the bridge railing. When the occupants of the two vehicles climbed out after the crash, the person who had been standing in front of the stalled car was nowhere to be seen. (Schermerhorn 1990)

The witnesses later said the person standing before the Camaro matched Toni’s description, and she was either opening or closing the hood. Furthermore, the car’s driver door was open but had no lights or flashers turned on.

Six minutes later, police arrived, but Toni was not on the scene. Her bracelet that she never took off, and the car keys were on the passenger-side floorboard.

The U.S. Coast Guard dragged the bay’s bottom but did not find Toni or her clothes.

According to an expert hired by the Highway Patrol, the body would have followed the tide to the Golden Gate Bridge. The police today still believe this is what happened to Toni.

About a week after Toni disappeared, her mother, Gwen Clark, received a strange phone call. On the other end, she could hear someone crying for about 40 seconds, but the caller never spoke. She believed this was her daughter. Authorities could not trace the call due to the short time the caller was on the line and never confirmed Toni was the caller.

After Toni disappeared, Clark put up flyers in the area. She returned a short time later and discovered someone had taken them down.

In August 1990, Gwen charged the media with racism and called for increased coverage of her daughter’s case. She said she had called hundreds of news agencies as well as government officials but received no response. (The San Francisco Examiner, October 11, 1991)

In October 1991, the man who ran into Toni’s car, Jesse Castaneda, then 22, was tried for vehicular manslaughter and charged with tailgating, driving over the speed limit (at least 63 mph), and ignoring a sign declaring the bridge a 50-mph speed zone. Jurors deadlocked 6-6 after seven tries and acquitted Castaneda due to lack of evidence proving Toni was deceased.

Toni was two months pregnant at the time of her disappearance and a student at Peninsula High School.



Shandra Bryant August 31, 2015 - 3:33 PM

Hello Guys,
I am so glad that, ‘missing’ people of color are continually being talked about. Recently, I watched a movie called,’Mute’. It showed how missing people of color are not a number one priority when it comes to missing.

It showed exactly what happens when a white girl goes missing vs. a black girl going missing. I will continue to follow your blog.


truecrimediva September 1, 2015 - 8:43 PM

Hi Shandra! I will have to check that out. You’re right, there is a difference when a white girl goes missing versus a black girl. It should NOT be this way. A missing person is a missing person! I fully believe we should highlight those cases people tend to forget or are never talked about.

Thanks for commenting!

Josette January 9, 2015 - 7:05 PM

I have been a reader of your blogs for years now. I was sad to see u take some time off. I had to find u through twitter but I took a night and got caught back up. I had told you about Jennifer Bryan Jones murder in my home town. Also there are the Freeman/Bible disappearance from about 15 years ago. So sad check it out. Keep up the good work!!!!!!

truecrimediva January 10, 2015 - 3:06 PM

Hi Josette! I truly appreciate you as a reader!! Thank you so much! I had some personal stuff to take care of but I am back. Going to try to post more often now that the holidays are over with!

I will check out the Freeman/Bible disappearance, too!

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True Crime Diva

True Crime Diva

I've blogged true crime since 2010, happily taking up only a tiny corner of the internet. I'm not here for attention; I'm here to tell you their stories.

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