Man charged with strangling wife in 2009 freed on $750,000 bond days after arrest

Gary Clark arrested last week in death of wife Sylvia Perez Clark

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter, RJ Marquez - Digital Content Curator, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

WILSON COUNTY, Texas - A man charged with murdering his wife in her La Vernia home in 2009 has been released from the Wilson County Jail after posting bond.

Gary Frank Clark was taken into custody and charged with murder in the death of his wife Sylvia Perez Clark last week and was freed Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office confirmed Tuesday. 

Clark had been held at the Wilson County Jail on a $750,000 bail. 

Gary Clark's arrest came almost nine years to the day that Sylvia Clark died, on July 19, 2009. She was 50 years old at the time of her death and left behind a young son.

Wilson County investigators and Texas Rangers worked together to arrest Gary Clark at his home last Thursday.

Sheriff Joe Tackitt told KSAT a grand jury indicted Clark on murder charges. According to the indictment, he is believed to have hit his wife with a skillet-like object, then strangled her.

Authorities said Clark called 911 on the day of his wife’s death and said he had found her body on the hallway floor.

According to Texas DPS records, Gary Clark was the last person to see Sylvia Clark alive and told authorities he had just returned home from a trip to San Antonio when he discovered her body.

Investigators said she had been strangled and had bruises all over her body. An autopsy determined her manner of death was homicide.

Tackitt told KSAT on Friday that Gary Clark was the No. 1 person of interest in the case from the beginning.

Tackitt said they had evidence but had not been able to connect it to make an arrest.

A Texas Ranger cold case investigator was recently able to help Wilson County authorities piece the case together, Tackitt said. 

KSAT's Courtney Friedman spoke with Sylvia Clark's sister, Hortensia Villarreal, about the case.

“We never gave up. I was always keeping in contact with the ranger for the past nine years," said Villarreal. "I know he was probably tired of hearing from me, but I would call him every month.”

Villarreal said it was an emotional moment when the family heard of an arrest.

“Heart dropped. We cried. We hugged each other. We were in shock. We kept saying, ‘Is it happening?’ Just glad he’s arrested," said Villarreal. “We loved her. She was always there for us. All the emails we’re getting right now, they all think of her as an angel. She was there for everybody. She’s one of a kind.”

Villarreal also had a message for Sylvia and Gary Clark's 17-year-old son, who has been living with his father and is not in contact with Sylvia’s family.

“Justin, we want to tell you that we miss you, we love you," Villarreal said. "We miss you, we want to talk to you. Please call us. We haven’t forgotten. Not one day has gone by without thinking of you.”

TIMELINE OF SYLVIA CLARK'S MURDER:

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