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Man explained plans in letter before explosion


Mark Alen Clark sent his family in Cumberland a suicide letter before killing himself, his estranged wife and three children in an explosion in Essex on Monday, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

"We know he mailed at least one letter," said Cpl. Kevin B. Novak, a county police spokesman, who declined to reveal details contained in the letter. "It explained the reasons for what he was about to do. It was tantamount to a suicide note," Corporal Novak said.

Police were unable to say when Mr. Clark's family in Cumberland received the letter. It is believed that Mr. Clark mailed other letters to his family in Cumberland, but police could not confirm how many were written or when they were mailed, Corporal Novak said.

Killed in the blast were Mr. Clark, 32; his estranged wife, Betty Louise Clark, 32, of the 6700 block of Havenoak Road in Rosedale; the couple's 4-year-old daughter Krysta of the same address; and Ricardo Valdez, 6, and Malissa Ray, 11, Mrs. Clark's children from previous relationships.

Investigators were still trying to find out yesterday where Mr. Clark might have obtained the materials used to make the explosives. But federal authorities believe Mr. Clark might have had access to the explosives through a job he held with a radio tower firm in North Carolina, where he was living before the explosion. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms refused to confirm the suicide note last night due to the investigation.

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